5 Famous Athletes Who Practice Yoga
Athletes are always looking for an edge in their discipline – a training technique or cross-training activity that will help them surpass the competition. These 5 athletes have successfully used yoga to help them improve their performance.
- Maria Sharapova, tennis player. Sharapova is currently the No. 2 Female tennis player in the world. She has won singles titles at every Grand Slam competition, was ranked No.1 at the young age of 18, and is still going strong! She has been practicing yoga since the age of 15 and credits her practice with helping her focus during matches. She uses her breath to keep calm between points. (“Maria Sharapova Nike Yoga,” 2010)
- Eoghan O’Gara, gaelic football player. O’Gara and his Dublin team mates practiced yoga in the months leading up to their 2013 All-Ireland final win against Mayo. O’Gara benefited greatly from the breathing practice, which he claims helped to calm his nerves, improve his breathing capacity and his overall performance. Furthermore, his yoga practice improved the mobility in his hips when he returned to football after a double-hip surgery at the beginning of 2013 (“What was the Secret of Their Success? Yoga,” 2013).
- Andy Murray, tennis player. Murray’s long-time fitness programme co-ordinator suggested that he give Bikram yoga a try, and it has been a part of his training ever since. That was nearly 7 years ago! Yoga helps him to recover after long practices on the court, improve his balance and yoga has also improved his mental game — some have noted that he is less prone to outbursts on court than he was in the past (Mesure, 2013). With two Grand Slam wins under his belt in recent years, it certainly must be doing something to help his game!
- Evelyn Stevens, cyclist. Stevens is a two time US national time-trial champion, La Flèche Wallonne Féminine winner, and Olympic cyclist who credits her regular yoga practice with giving her mental strength, as well as improving her physical strength. She even brings her practice with her on the road when she is competing! (Wellness Wire, 2012)
- John Conlon, hurling player. Since the age of 18, Clare senior hurling team player Conlon has used yoga to improve his game. Like so many other athletes who practice yoga, one of the major benefits Conlon has gained from yoga is the mental concentration it helps to develop. He is better able to stay calm and focused on match days. He also says his practice has helped his flexibility and strength, which in turn have kept injuries at bay (Egan, n.d.)
Egan, Paulette. (n.d.) John Conlon Clare Hurler Endorses Sportsyoga.ie [Blog Post]. Retrieved from http://sportsyoga.ie/index.php/john-conlon-clare-hurler-endorses-sportsyoga-ie/
Maria Sharapova Nike Yoga. (2010, October 2) Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybPUpyn8XAU
Mesure, Susie. (2013, January 27). The Key to Murray’s Success: Hot Yoga! [Online Newspaper Article]. Retrieved from http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/tennis/the-key-to-murrays-success-hot-yoga-8468368.html
What Was the Secret of Their Success? Yoga. (2013, November 17). Retrieved from http://www.independent.ie/lifestyle/health/what-was-the-secret-of-their-success-yoga-29758555.html
Wellness Wire. (2012, July 31). 5 Awesome Olympic Athletes Who do Yoga [Site Slideshow]. Retrieved from http://wellandgood.com/2012/07/31/5-awesome-olympic-athletes-who-do-yoga/#5-awesome-olympic-athletes-who-do-yoga-1