With its emphasis on core strength, flexibility, and balance, yoga has become a cross-training must for athletes who want to enhance their performance in almost any type of sport. “Every athlete can enhance his or her potential by adopting a consistent yoga practice,” says Charm City Yoga co-owner Kim Manfredi, pictured.
Bikram Yoga Baltimore co-owner Emily Bell Garner says the sky’s the limit when it comes to enhancing performance through this ancient art. “When you are an athlete in a specific sport, your body can easily become imbalanced from constant straining to specific parts,” she says. “Yoga helps keep these imbalances in check, which is key to preventing injury.” There are other benefits as well, says Manfredi, who helped to develop a yoga-for-athletes program and works with area high-school and college students. “It also helps increase concentration and can be the difference between an exceptional game and an average one.”
Even the pros are getting in on the act. Years back, Manfredi recalls that Ravens Hall of Famer Ray Lewis made it to her mat. “I worked with him for two full seasons, but after we stopped working together, I bumped into him and he gave me a big hug and said, ‘I built a brand new yoga room in my house.’ That was the ultimate compliment.”