The benefits of yoga have been known to people in the East for many thousands of years, and finally the West is catching up. Yoga is now so popular and its impact so much more understood that sporting stars across many disciplines are now incorporating it into their training – and none more so than players in the NBA.
Yoga for longevity
Being strong, fit and healthy for as long as possible is the ultimate goal for every NBA player. Professional careers in the NBA will always have a finite deadline as younger, fitter and more able athletes constantly vie for the top positions.
So, as well as cardio and all the usual training players are used to, many NBA teams and players have chosen to incorporate the ancient tradition of yoga. With the added benefit of strengthening endurance, the mind and helping players learn to focus their attention in the most effective way, yoga is the gift that keeps on giving.
It’s undeniable that regularly practising yoga – in whichever form – has a huge impact on core strength, flexibility, mental dexterity and muscle training. It’s likely that the NBA players who do practise often will find they can concentrate for longer periods and may have the edge over other players.
NBA teams who do yoga
The Denver Nuggets employed a professional yoga instructor more than seven years ago and routinely put their players through their yoga paces, particularly during the downtime of the offseason.
Similarly the Atlanta Hawkes have their own yoga instructor, used to help the team understand the tenets and importance of mental and physical discipline. The New York Knicks have also been known to use a yoga instructor as have the Los Angeles Clippers.
Improving focus, strength and physical fitness can, of course, help the team’s standings and even have an impact on those tricky NBA betting odds.
Do yoga and the NBA really mix?
Yoga is, of course, a traditionally spiritual discipline, much associated with meditation and Buddhism. These don’t particularly seem to fit with the NBA’s play hard ethos, however, as yoga has become much more accepted and practised over the last decade or so, it’s clear that yoga has many benefits for athletes – including hard headed NBA players.
As the Baron Davis said when interviewed about his thoughts on incorporating yoga into his training: “Yoga helps center you, especially for what we do. If you can find a place that keeps you centered, both mentally and physically, it can help push your game to the next level.”