Think yoga is exclusively practiced by eco-warriors and flexible females? Well, you might be surprised! Some of the world’s most successful and talented athletes have taken up yoga in a bid to be the best.
Competitors, olympians and pro sports teams have praised yoga for its ability to improve athletic performance and reduce injury risk. It is even helping sports men and women around the globe hone their mental focus and get competition ready.
Is yoga the key to sporting success? It certainly seems to be working for these incredible lads and ladies!
Fabulous & famous athletes who love yoga…
“Yoga has been really good for me training-wise…It helps keep some level of fitness up through my pregnancy and also on the run-up to major championships.” ~ Jessica Ennis-Hill
“I'm pretty flexible for a tennis player. (Yoga) has helped a lot with my fitness and mental strength.” ~ Andy Murray
“I go to yoga classes and work on my core.” ~ Maria Sharapova
“It strengthens your muscles, improves flexibility, but also keeps you fit and gets you out on the training pitch so you can train every day. You want to be out there so you need to get your body robust and ready for anything. If I do a yoga session the next day (after a game), I’m nowhere near as stiff and I’ll be back training at the right level a lot quicker.”
Cyclist & Jockey
‘With cycling you don’t need to be as disciplined with your stretching, but with running it’s so important – otherwise you really feel it afterwards. I’ve got tight hip flexors and hamstrings, so I’ve been trying to stretch out with yoga and I’ve really enjoyed learning more about it.’ ~ Victoria Pendleton
New Zealand All Blacks
“They all really loved the relaxing aspect of the yoga. Anything that grounded them and could get them laid down, relaxed and doing visualizations of the game ahead.” ~ Lyndsey Benn, Team Yoga Instructor
“Yoga calms me and stretches my muscles while the Pilates helps define and strengthen specific muscles,” ~ Rebecca Soni
Welsh Rugby Union Team
“We hand-picked six guys who we thought were a little bit susceptible to injury and not as flexible. We put those six in and then said to the others it's not compulsory, but we ended up having to knock the guys back, because we can only fit 10 in the room.” ~ Adam Beard, RWU Head Conditioning Coach
USA Women's Soccer Player
“A lot of times simple stretching takes away from your speed, so for me dynamic yoga gives me the ability and empowers me to keep my speed and elongate my muscles,” ~ Hope Solo
Formula 1 Racer
“There you go! #coupleyoga with @jenson_ichiban.” ~ Jessica Michibata, Instagram
“Stretching is really important before a race, but even more so afterwards. Go for a swim or to a Yoga class to make sure you’re stretching in a relaxed and mindful way.” ~ Paula Radcliffe
“I think there was maybe a little something missing there for me… whether it was flexibility wise or just maybe the little added whip or core strength or whatever it was that yoga (provided).” ~ Evan Longoria
“My favourite poses are variations on the handstand and the scorpion,” she said. “You have to use your whole body, it’s physically and mentally challenging. You have to find your balance in this uncomfortable position, so when you do it, you feel like you’re really overcoming an obstacle.” ~ Jamie Anderson
“I practice yoga at Baptiste Power Yoga, which has studios around town. It's great for flexibility, it's therapeutic, and great for your attitude. And it gets you some silence during your day.” ~ Tom Brady
I feel the strength and conditioning component of my training is very important. Getting strong enough to withstand all that power the ocean throws at you when you’re out there and being able to absorb the force and impact when you’re trying to land big manoeuvres.” ~ Sally Fitzgibbons