Yoga

yoga_jim



Lunge

At the core of our physical training programs for pitchers and hitters is Yoga. Yoga is a 4000 year old art form that is designed to bring a persons body, mind and essence into "union" or harmony. Through various challenging poses or asanas (stretches), Yoga provides a number of physical benefits, including flexibility, balance, strength, endurance and improved respiration. Mental benefits include confidence, concentration, discipline, patience, clarity and peace of mind.

At the core of Yoga is the role of one's breath. The nature of your breathing patterns has a great deal to do with the quality of your state of mind (i.e. concentration), and ultimately, the quality of your performance. Because the quality of your breath plays such a major role in the stability of your health (i.e. injury prevention, circulation, removal of stress, clarity of mind, energy level), Yoga will enable you to make the connection between physical and mental well being. And it is through this connection that internal trust and confidence can be developed in all areas of sports and life.

Yoga is incorporated into all of our Amateur and Professional training "camps".

The Mental Side of Yoga

Athletes undertake many different aspects of training to keep up with (or get ahead) the demands of today's competitive levels. In addition to mastering the physical skills and techniques of one's particular sport, athletes also have to devote a great deal of time to weight training, nutrition and conditioning. Which leaves little time for the two most important, and often, most neglected areas of their development: Stretching and Mental Training.



Boat

This seems odd when you consider that 1) stretching is the single most essential course of action that one can take to avoid unnecessary injuries and to insure the longevity of one's career, and 2) a player's mental approach will ultimately dictate the outcome of his performance.

Rarely do you see athletes putting in the necessary time to address the most fundamental aspect of their body (and as we will see, mind). Not just flexibility in the traditional sense of the word, but flexibility in conjunction with endurance, strength and balance within that flexibility. And it is through focused stretching that one greatly reduces the possibility of minor or major injuries.

Now can you imagine an art form that combines the physical benefits of flexibility, balance and strength and the mental benefits of clarity, discipline and "relaxed" concentration; that will give you an opportunity to identify and understand the strengths and weaknesses of your body and mind; that will incorporate mental and physical principles simultaneously.

Yoga is that art form.


Warrior II

Yoga is an ancient art form that is designed to bring into "union" or harmony a persons body, mind and essence. Through various stretches or poses Yoga provides consistent principles that can be assimilated into performance and daily activity. Because a high level of attention will always be demanded of you Yoga enhances your level of concentration, awareness and focus. Through some of the more challenging "poses" or stretches (especially in areas that are tight, tense, weak or dormant), you will learn to attain a higher level of perseverance, determination and trust. This leads to greater mind/body awareness.

At the core of Yoga is the role of one's breath. The nature of your breathing patterns has a great deal to do with the quality of your state of mind (i.e. fluid, relaxed) and ultimately, the quality of your performance. Because the quality of your breath plays such a major role in the stability of your health (i.e. removal of stress, energy level, respiration) Yoga enables you to make the connection between physical and mental well being. And it is through this connection that internal trust and confidence can be developed in all areas of sports and life.



Triangle

The truth is that most injuries are avoidable. Yet "well conditioned" athletes will miss valuable playing time, or potentially find their careers threatened because they never learned the ramifications of not stretching properly. This is unfortunate when you consider that the majority of injuries are avoidable. Yoga offers you the security to not only avoid avoidable injuries, but provide you with a forum to develop and enhance your mental skills and focus. It is the best of both worlds. As an athlete, whose two fundamental responsibilities are to remain injury free and mentally focused, you have an opportunity to do something about it NOW.

 


Guidelines

  1. Mental Preparation - Commit to where you are, bring your awareness to the innocence of this new moment, start connecting to your body/mind, leave all thoughts/obligations outside the studio walls, bring your awareness to your breath (beneath your shoulders), use the breath to deepen your awareness of the here and now, and to calm, loosen and quiet your body and mind.
     
  2. Pace yourself - Don't over extend yourself the first day. Place the emphasis on breathing technique and concentration. Know the difference between Pain and Strain.
     
  3. Internal vs External - You are investigating, understanding and developing your body, your mind. Thus, look inward, master yourself, avoid competing with anyone else and STAY ON YOUR OWN ISLAND.
     
  4. Measure each stretch - We tend to take a number of breaths in each stretch. Use a couple of breaths to warm-up the area you are working on, and a couple of breaths to deepen the stretch.
     
  5. Move through soft space - The key to maximizing your stretch is to learn how to relax or "soften" the entire body and mind, especially the specific area of the body you are working on.
     
  6. Stay below your shoulders/Wheel Analogy - the center of the body (diaphragm) is like the center of the wheel. It allows the wheel to work efficiently. The limbs of the body are like the spokes of the wheel. So try to work from the diaphragm area (breath) outward. It's another way of saying, let the "breath" move the body and the stretch, not the head. Avoid being "top heavy" by putting too much "thought" into the stretch. In the early going you may have to "think" about the pose or your breath, but ultimately, you want to free your mind of thoughts and let the center of the body (your energy center) move you (stay below your shoulders).
     
  7. Be process oriented, not goal oriented - stay in the present. Nothing matters more than your intention and attention of what you are doing now, on this stretch, with this breath.