Yoga for Basketball –

Yoga for Basketball –

Dana has experience working as the team yoga coach for the Orlando Magic and USF Men’s Basketball team, as well as training numerous other teams, including the Charlotte Bobcats, Boston Celtics and the Dominican Republic National Team, as well as dozens of NBA players, including Emeka Okafor.

2basketballDana’s customized yoga-inspired program for basketball are available to players and teams at all levels, including professional, collegiate, amateur, and youth.  In addition to onsite training, basketball programs can be made accessible to all serious athletes–despite travel challenges–using numerous formats, including Skype/Facetime sessions, as well as customized videos, audio files and manuals accessed via the Private Client Portal. Refer to the Yoga for Sports Programs and Private Training pages for more information on specific program options.

To learn more about Dana’s sought-after approach to applying yoga-based techniques into sports training, read her article, “Yoga for Athletes: Why Activation and Inhibition Matter More Than Stretching.”

Basketball is a fast-paced game dominated by short, quick, repetitive movements. For that reason, many basketball players don’t focus on mobility as a key part of training. Instead, they tend to focus on building muscular strength in the legs to create the power necessary for explosive movements like jumping and quick take-offs. However, this may account for the plague of injuries related to strong yet tight ankles, calves and hamstrings.

When basketball players have tight ankles and hips (and too many do), their knees end up trying to compensate for that lack of mobility, drastically increasing the risk of knee injury and certainly contributing to chronic pain. Another area of compensation that is often stressed due to lack of hip mobility is the low back.

Radius Yoga for basketball helps players correct the imbalance of strength versus flexibility in the legs to decrease the incidence of injury but also to increase dexterity. And a primary focus is put on increasing mobility in the ankles and hips while promoting stability in the knees and low back.  Additional work on t-spine mobility, and scapular control exercises as well as integrated core strengthening & flexibility improves range of motion and creates a foundation for quick and powerful movements in all the directions necessary to successfully take the ball down the court and into the hoop.

More basketball players and their coaches are recognizing both the physical and mental benefits of yoga for their game. According to Phil Jackson, who has been practicing yoga since the 1970’s while coaching the Knicks. “Basketball is a complex dance that requires shifting from one object to another at lightning speeds. The secret is not thinking…quieting the endless jabbering of thoughts so that your body can do instinctively what it’s been trained to do without the mind getting in the way.”

When you’re playing at “lightning speeds,” the quickening breath due to the cardio respiratory-induced activity and stress of keeping track of four teammates and five opponents can lead to hyperventilation, depriving the brain of oxygen—making it difficult to stay sharp and focused. By training the breath during yoga practice to build a bridge between the mind and body, players are better equipped to employ that mind-body connection during games and avoid the performance-killing effects of mental stress. Working on proprioceptive exercises and improving neuromuscular efficiency (another facet of the mind-body connection) also helps to enhance accuracy of movement.

RYC’s specialized breathing, visualization and meditative techniques, are offered as part of “Eye of the Hurricane Training™.” Dana’s proprietary mental focusing/yoga nidra techniques have also been adapted for use to facilitate sleep (which is often an issue for athletes with demanding game and grueling travel schedules) as well as integrated into concussion rehab programs.

To learn about yoga for youth basketball, visit the Yoga for Youth Sports page.