Yoga for Young Athletes

As a yoga teacher, as well as a sports mom, I have learned a thing or two about how yoga can help our young athletes deal with the pressures of performance, gain confidence in their sport, set goals and focus on positive mental attitude, learn proper alignment and body mechanics to enhance their stance and precision, gain and control core strength to enhance overall performance, learn the benefits of stretching and restoring to heal the body and prevent injury, and develop healthy daily routines and eating habits to help them excel on and off the field. This is truly a life changing practice.

I first taught my oldest son a little bit of yoga and meditation to help him deal with travelling baseball tryouts and the mental pressure to perform in competitive sports. Like it or not, the pressure starts early! He is a phenomenal athlete with incredible drive. I never played competitive sports growing up so while my husband is there to help with training and equipment, I have my own unique outlook and skills. I honestly felt like it was too much for a young boy, but my son was determined to start traveling baseball. He worked so hard with his goal to make the traveling team, practicing every single day. For hours on end. Unfortunately, despite his hard work and determination he did not make the team. I felt crushed for him. This would have been the moment in my life that I never played baseball again. To my surprise he did not quit. In fact, the opposite happened. He became more motivated. He decided to work even harder. He reevaluated he goals and realigned his intentions. He tried out for a different traveling team the following summer. Not only did he make the team, he had the opportunity to play (and beat) the team he was cut from and was awarded the MVP medal for hitting a grand slam and helping his team win the game. The reward for hard work and determination!

Athletes are incredible. I would never be able to endure what my son does. However, very quietly in the background I am there to help offer what I do know. Yoga. My entire yoga outlook changed as we embarked on our first traveling baseball team experience last summer. Of course I needed yoga, breathing and meditation as I spent 12 hour days on the baseball field dealing with cold, rain, heat, no shade, packing food, organizing calendars, and foul balls flying directly towards my head. Tranquilizers would have been helpful the first time I had to watch my 9 year old pitch… and fail. But I realized at that moment that he might also need yoga to help quiet the mind and calm the nerves. I have learned over the years that to make a travelling athletic team, you need to be very motivated and very good at sports. All the kids that make the team are motivated and athletic. You can train them to catch, throw, even slide. You can teach them the rules and you can teach them the plays. It is harder to train the mental side of sports. The biggest factor to success out on the field is quieting the mind and learning to control the emotions, the blood pressure, the racing thoughts. During practice, when there is absolutely no pressure, all the boys can effortlessly hit, throw, catch. Why does performance change during game time? It is the pressure! So much pressure! Yoga helps develop better mental and physical responses in the body and mind. Breathing can help lower blood pressure and instantly stop the pounding of the heart, the racing of the thoughts, and the sudden overcoming sensation of self doubt.

Yoga is a wonderful practice for athletes to stretch and restore muscles to heal and prevent injury, to help strengthen the body and develop muscle memory, to learn proper alignment and core function, to improve flexibility and increase range-of-motion. However, in my opinion, the greatest tool that will help your young athlete navigate through the pressure and the failures and the heartache of sports (AND LIFE) is learning mental strength and perseverance. Learning how to fail. Learning how to stand back up. Learning to use each disappointment as an opportunity to grow, each heartache as an opportunity to awaken. These young athletes may never make it out to a professional field, but what they are preparing themselves for is life. To work hard, to learn from failure, and to relentlessly follow their heart and achieve their goals.

Sign up this Fall at the Wheaton Park District!!!

(or email or message me today to schedule a private workshop for your athletic team!!)

Yoga for Young Athletes ages 9-14 at the Mary Lubko Center from 5:30-7:00 pm

Available Workshop Dates

Tuesday September12

Tuesday October 10

Tuesday November 14

Tuesday December 12

Start the positive impact early and help your young athlete learn one of the biggest secrets of the pros. This workshop is designed to help athletes build confidence, develop physical and mental strength, gain flexibility, and learn techniques to help calm the nerves and quiet the restless mind. In this 90-minute workshop we will work on stretching, breathwork, meditation, alignment, balance, core strength, mindfulness, and motivation. Give your athlete the tools to excel in their sport and their everyday life with this lifechanging practice.

Message or email me to schedule a Private Yoga for Young Athletes Workshop for your athletic team!!!


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