So the Oakland A’s are in first place in the American League West, and that is great. Full disclaimer, I’m an A’s fan, and a general rooter for the underdog, but I have to wonder if the A’s good fortune has anything to do with incorporating yoga into its training schedule.
That’s right, the A’s do yoga.
The team started incorporating a daily yoga practice during spring training, enlisting the services of a yoga instructor who created Yoga for Golfers. The A’s strength and conditioning coach, Mike Henriques, brought in Katherine Roberts from Nike Golf to work with the players.
During the regular season, Roberts composed three sequences for the players to do on their own.
Of course, yoga is not new to baseball. Other teams have been adding it to their training for a few years, including the Dodgers, the Padres and the Devil Rays, as well as individual players—many of them top-ranked pitchers.
Benefits yoga brings to baseball players, and athletes in general, are improved core strength, greater flexibility and body awareness and more mental control. The deep stretching also helps athletes recover from training.
“Yoga enhances any athletic performance,” Jimmy Barkan, owner of the Yoga College of India in Fort Lauderdale, told Yoga Journal, “and baseball is no exception.”
Men’s Health magazine published a sequence developed by Roberts for baseball players. Find that article with a video here.