Yoga for Football –

Yoga for Football –

Dana Santas has experience creating Radius Yoga for football programs for numerous teams and players in the NFL, including the Washington Redskins, Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New England Patriots. Dana’s work in the NFL is customized to complement overall strength and conditioning programs and individual/team needs, including everything from restorative and concussion recovery to joint mobility/stability and integrated core strengthening.


Dana high-fiving some of her Tampa Bay Buccaneers players after a yoga mobility session.

Radius Yoga Conditioning (RYC) customized Radius Yoga for football programs are available to players and teams at all levels, including professional, collegiate, amateur, and youth.  In addition to onsite training, RYC yoga for football 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.”

In general, football players need to be big and fast. Because football is a contact sport, larger players are better equipped to withstand impacts. But bigger isn’t necessarily better. Speed and agility are critical to success. Players must have the ability to accelerate quickly and rapidly change directions while maintaining speed. Sheer bulk can’t deliver that kind of performance, so large players need to focus on training to maximize mobility. In contrast, smaller players often train with a focus on increasing strength–but they also benefit from fine-tuning their speed, agility and mobility as a means of compensating for lack of mass.

Radius Yoga Conditioning’s yoga for football programs not only concentrate on building functional mobility and integrated core stability, but also restoration/recovery programs, and increasing skills for mental focus and enhanced kinesthetic awareness and proprioception (the player’s ability to recognize his entire body’s positioning in space and precisely control muscular reaction). According to New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, “I think if a player doesn’t play with proper body control…then he’s going to end up on the ground…whether you’re covering, whether you’re running, whatever you’re trying to do, you have to be able to play with proper balance.”

In addition to body awareness, the key to body control and balance is integrated core stability. Bulk is not the only thing protecting football players when bodies collide at high speeds. RYC yoga for football conditioning strengthens the entire core—the lumbar region of the spine, the pelvis, and the hips as well as all of their stabilizing muscle groups (i.e., erector spinae, abs, iliopsoas, hip flexors and glutes)—to establish a fully integrated center of gravity for maintaining proper balance. and function. And by creating both stability and mobility through the core, players can more effectively transfer power through the limbs for quick accelerations and rapid lateral moves.

What else can yoga conditioning do for football players? Injury prevention. For example, the overall flexibility coupled with increased joint stability and range of motion is especially helpful in preventing injuries when players are forced into awkward twists at the bottom of a pile. And yoga’s breathing and focus exercises train players to avoid mental distractions during the game, heightening their ability to react during split-second plays. RYC’s specialized breathing, visualization and meditative techniques, are offered as part of “Eye of the Hurricane Training™.”

Additionally, Dana’s proprietary “Eye of the Hurricane” mental focusing/yoga nidra techniques have been adapted for use to facilitate sleep (which is often an issue for athletes with demanding game and grueling practice schedules) as well as integrated into concussion rehab programs.

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