Astros find utilizing yoga beneficial

Posted: May 22, 2014 at 2:42 pm

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ANAHEIM, Calif. On Tuesdays and Fridays when the Astros are home, a yoga instructor and a handful of players occupy the Astros press conference room at Minute Maid Park, a space used more commonly for manager Bo Porters nightly media debriefings.

Hosted by instructor Christin Staszesky Harper, the classes began last season. Participants have included Wednesday nights starting pitcher, Collin McHugh, as well as Anthony Bass, Dallas Keuchel and Brett Oberholtzer. The classes are open to the entire team, even if cerebral pitchers have found their way through the doors more often this season.

It helps with mobility, it helps with core stability, Astros strength and conditioning coach Jake Beiting said. And then secondarily, I think its a really good mental benefit when you look at being able to teach yourself to keep your body relaxed kind of keeping your mind in the moment.

Baseball is in many ways a violent sport, every play just another burst of intensity. Yoga, at first glance, might not seem a relevant fit. But its use in baseball and other professional sports has taken off because of the potential gains in breathing, strengthening of core muscles and focus.

Matt Repplinger, a Denver-based baseball yoga consultant, said that even compared to two years ago, yogas practice has grown immensely in the majors.

Id say that 60 percent of the teams have someone working with them now, Repplinger said. From the Mets, to the Phillies, from the Dodgers to the Rockies, they have got either a full-time or a part-time instructor.

Veteran Chad Qualls was with the Padres in 2011, and in spring training, they had mandatory yoga sessions on occasion.

Ive done pilates, I liked pilates, said Qualls, who isnt a yoga practitioner himself. In San Diego, they just did (yoga) in spring training. It was like once a week, instead of doing poles or sprints or something, our cardio for the day would be a half-hour, hour yoga class. Just to get people a little more flexible, change it up a little bit.

It was around (when I first got to the majors). I think people have always tried to gain an edge anywhere. You hear of football players doing ballet. Im just a naturally tight person, my hamstring, lower back, hips have always been tight. Some people that are more flexible, youre more loose and you feel better, the more you stretch, the more you get limber, the better youre going to feel on a daily basis.

Some teachers approach yoga with a spiritual element, which might deter some people immediately, Beiting said.

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Astros find utilizing yoga beneficial

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May 22nd, 2014 at 2:42 pm

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