Lacrosse, Football, Softball teams among many at MHS implementing yoga in routine workouts

Abby Miller| Staff Writer

(Left to right): Junior Blake Mahoney, Senior Charlie Wade, Senior Michael Mccalmont, Junior Brett Wexelblatt, and Junior Reid Heine participate in yoga during a workout. 

In their journeys towards long term success and state championships, many Mason high school teams have employed a secret weapon: Yoga.

When thinking about working out or training for a sport, usually weight lifting or sprints come to mind. But one form of exercise that is becoming more and more popular and being used here in Mason, at the collegiate level, and even by professional teams all over the country, is yoga. 

Here at MHS, many varsity sports teams are starting to infuse yoga into their weekly workout schedule. Yoga has many benefits for athletes, whetherit’s mentally or physically, and coaches and athletes here at MHS are seeing the benefits. Football head coach, Brian Castner, feels that yoga is an important piece to the football team’s workouts for many reasons. Castner said along with incorporating it into the preseason, they usually did it Saturday mornings after games to work on stretching to reduce soreness, and get the player’s bodies completely healthy and ready to compete the next week. 

“We do it for injury prevention, and we also do it for overall body health and recovery,” Castner said. “We try to create space in the body – you want to make yourself longer, and make yourself more flexible. As soon as we can get their bodies back to 100%, the better we are going to be the following week on Friday. It’s a huge part of our week for rehab and recovery.” 

Castner isn’t the only one who can see the benefits that yoga has on athletes and their bodies. Varsity lacrosse player, Blake Mahoney, enjoys participating in the yoga sessions that the lacrosse team offers and appreciates how it makes stretching more of a priority for the team. Athletes face injuries very often, but for Mahoney and the lacrosse team, he said that anything the team can do to prevent that is definitely helpful. 

“I think the lacrosse team focuses on doing yoga for injury purposes, because last year we had multiple players out with injuries throughout the season and we really just want to work on getting flexible and trying to stay strong through the season,” Mahoney said. “I think it’s relaxing too, because it’s nice not to always be so sore.” 

Along with the physical benefits of flexibility, mobility, and preventing injury, there is also a mental aspect of yoga that can be beneficial to many athletes. Head softball coach, Liann Muff, believes  yoga compliments the other training the team does like weights, sprints, and distance running due to the amount of stretching that yoga brings to the table. Muff said apart from physical help, she values the mental aspect of yoga for her players whether it’s on the field, or in their everyday life. 

“Preventive care, restorative care, just in general the cleansing of yoga is awesome, it gets all of the soreness out,” Muff said. “Along with that, the breathing exercises that you learn with yoga, help you with all aspects of life – definitely your sports, learning how to control your breathing and keep things under control. It’s even important throughout your day if you feel yourself getting tense, you can go back to your yoga breathing and calm yourself down. I think it’s cleansing, I think it’s healthy and it relaxes you.” 

Muff also recognizes that exposing her athletes to yoga allows for them to learn there is more than one way to workout and be fit. Muff said that the different ways her softball players learn to stay active will help them in their futures, even when they have graduated and are no longer playing a sport. 

“I like that the girls can learn about all different forms of exercise – they know how to use all of the machines in a weight room, or they know how to do yoga, and it teaches them fitness for life,” Muff said. “It gives them exposure to other types of exercise. The more they learn about their own health and pushing themselves, and what a difference that makes overall, I’ll have more and more athletes leaving high school, but staying fit for life because they have that background.”

Photo by Mia Sweitzer