Should WTA players use yoga on DVDs before playing matches to prevent injuries?
Yoga and sports medicine
Incorporating yoga into the other workout regimens at the Performance Institute at the IMG facility also has helped prevent injuries and hasten rehabilitation, because players become more flexible.
"It doubles up on what I am trying to achieve with athletes doing rehab and flexibility work," said Dave Hogarth, physical therapist/performance enhancement specialist in the Bollettieri sports medicine program. "If they integrate a session of yoga, that means more time to do what I want to get done when they come to me."
Boss said, "We try to integrate yoga with sports medicine and the IPI, sort of like cross-training."
Boss, who lives just down the road from the academy, has been preaching the benefits of yoga at the facility for the past three years. She has been involved in the discipline for more than 27 years, starting when she picked up a book called "Yoga For Pregnancy" when she was pregnant with her daughter.
"I started doing the poses in the book by myself and found they were really helping me with my body and feeling relaxed," she said. "After my daughter was born I kept doing it and my body snapped back into shape."
Boss then began studying yoga and eventually tailored her methods to include elite and professional athletes.
The crescent lunge
Green credits one of the particular poses -- the crescent lunge -- with helping him overcome the groin muscle problem that had plagued him.
Pearson said yoga exercises helped him get rid of tendonitis.
Pearson became such a convert that he suggested Boss make a DVD for athletes to take on the road. She now has a pair of DVDs that Pearson says he uses at least twice a week.
Sharapova uses the DVDs before she plays a match to repeat the balancing poses in order to relax and gain focus.
"I put the disk in my computer three or four times a week and do yoga for about an hour," Sharapova said. "I enjoy it and it helps my game tremendously."
Traveling and training can be stressful, and "yoga is a great way to learn to relax," Haas said.
The deep breathing exercises in yoga can help in stressful moments.
"I feel I am gaining a mental edge," Billups said.
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