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yoga for athletes

Yoga for Athletes: Don’t be the Dumb Jock

Yoga for athletes

Remember the dumb jock Kevin in Daria? He may not have been so dumb if he did yoga!

We have all heard the term dumb jock.

A dumb jock is a meat head, muscle head, fine tuned athletic machine but not necessarily someone you think uses their brain.

This is actually the furthest from the truth.  Athletes actually use their brain for every movement they perform.  Every physical task requires a complex system of neural pathways to make that action happen.  Think about what it takes to get to this page:

Just to get to this post,

  • Your brain had to signal to your right arm to move the mouse.
  • Then you must create the precise pressure against the mouse to scroll to the address bar.
  • To type the URL your brain had to send separate signals to each finger for every letter you typed.

This is obviously not ground breaking, but think about how simple that task is.  Those are the simplified steps to reaching the end result of reading this post but it still required 3 steps.

Now think about something as complicated as doing a layup, a simple move in basketball.

  • You have to send hundreds of signals to the lower body to coordinate running and jumping while moving towards a target.
  • Another 100+ signals are sent to your hands to dribble the ball, pick it up, use strength in your finger tips to palm the ball, and, finally, precise muscle control to send the ball in the right direction towards the hoop.
  • While both sets of signals occur there are also 100s of signals activating your shoulders to move, bringing your arm over your head so your fingers have a line of trajectory into the basket.

….I could go on and on about the amount of neural conductivity it takes to do one action, but I think you get the point.  Any movement of the body requires an intense amount of brain power.  As we perfect a skill, most of this happens subconsciously.  However, if you can learn to have finer control over these movements you ultimately become a more skilled athlete.

This is where yoga for athletes comes in.  Yoga helps better tune mind-body connection.  In other words, yoga enhances the way you create motion.

With yoga you can train yourself to become more aware of the physical actions you perform.

yoga for athletes

Tony may be a strong football player, but he could be stronger when he learns to lock his knee and transfer his body weight into the ball of his foot!

Think about the pose Dandayamana Janushirasana.

The first step of this pose is learning to “lock your knee.”

Locking your knee doesn’t mean have a straight leg.  It means contracting every single muscle fiber in your standing leg for 60 seconds so that you can stay stable while still controlling and moving other parks of your body.

Even the strongest athletes struggle with this pose when they first start yoga.  They will argue they aren’t flexible enough to do the pose, but what they don’t understand is that they are doing the pose wrong before they ever get started.

The purpose of the pose isn’t to kick your leg out and touch your forehead to you knee.   The purpose is to have the strength to keep every fiber in your quadriceps contracted.  It takes hundreds to thousands of attempts to train your body to do this.  After many attempts of trying, you would be more stable if you could just make the smaller muscles that make up your toes apply pressure to the ground.  That is the first step.  Then you begin to strengthen those muscles because you have become aware of them.

When you become aware of the “smaller fine motor control muscles” you start to realize how much they can help you in your sport.

  • A soccer player will begin to feel the push off to change direction all the way through their little pinky toe, allowing them to cut sharper and faster!
  • The basketball player will no longer just jump  up for a layup, but extend through their big toe fully contracting their calf muscle more than before adding inches to their vertical!
  • The volleyball player will not only know they need to snap their hand on their follow through hitting a volleyball, but begin to feel their brachioradialis, flexor carpi radialis, and flexor carpr ulnaris contract.

Yoga isn’t just about stretching tight muscles athletes use over and over.  Yoga can be a medium to develop finer control over your body, making you a better athlete in your sport.  Yoga will train your mind body connection.

The athlete you strive to be isn’t such a dumb jock after all!



Which comes first, the exercise or the weight loss?

Everyone knows that we need to exercise and eat healthy to be fit and healthy.  The problem is the people who aren’t fit and healthy are usually the ones who don’t like exercise.–Or at least currently believe they do not like to exercise!  I read an article on Inc.com by Kent Healy called, Which comes first, Work or Passion.  The article says that in order to find your passion you must first work.  By working you figure out the things you like and don’t like; which will lead you to your passion.


The same concept can be applied to exercise   You have probably noticed those “fit healthy people,” don’t just exercise, they crave their exercise.  They will make sure to do it before or after work, on the weekends, and even on vacation.  That is because they have found something their bodies like to do.  They enjoy their fitness like a hobby and their body craves they way it feels when they are done, especially the exercises on NervePainGuide.org. (Sounds like a passion to me!)  If you don’t feel this way, it doesn’t mean that you don’t like exercise.  It means you are the worker who hasn’t found your passion yet.  You haven’t found the exercise that is right for you body.  As I talked about in my article, Steal like an Artist, exercise does not have one shape or form.  Being fit doesn’t mean you have to run a marathon or do yoga.  You could join a parks and rec volleyball team–just make sure you play volleyball at least 3x a week.  The key is to find something you are passionate about! It is especially important to keep it up after a pregnancy so get that postnatal exercise in!

weight loss

Be warned though, passion doesn’t come over night.  Just as Healy said, “Building valuable skills is hard and takes time.”  Exercise will feel like work at first.  If it feels unbearable you haven’t found the right form.  That doesn’t mean give up.  If you were in the working world and hated your job, you wouldn’t stop working.  You might find a new job, but you would continue to work and develop your skills.  So don’t stop exercising, find a different form.  Find something that works better for you and  remember to include a good diet with the  red ginseng product supplement.Who knows you may try biking, hate it and then in the process of trying running, swimming, and yoga decide biking was amazing and go back to it!  You never know what your future passion will be until you start actively pursuing something!


It’s time to stop making excuses for why you don’t like to exercise.   Start trying new exercises until you find the one that works for you.  As Kent Healy says, “It’s time to stop searching and start doing. And no, they are not the same thing.”  The answer to being healthy and fit isn’t going to come from a web search, it’s going to come from training your body to being passionate about a form of physical activity!