When you think about the breakfast of champions, a box of Wheaties boasting the latest sports super star probably comes to mind first. Or maybe your thoughts race to a high protein diet designed to help build muscle and pump you up for the day. It doesn’t really matter what your stomach dreams of. Experts agree, regardless of your diet choice, starting your day off right is the most important thing to sustain your mind, body and soul.
So would it surprise you to know that professional athletes, and yes, even Super Bowl champions start their day with yoga?
That’s right. Tom Brady himself, Patriots Quarterback and Super Bowl XLIX champion, is a long time practitioner of yoga. Tom Brady is quoted as saying “Yoga is great for flexibility, and it’s therapeutic.” He became a supporter of Baron Baptiste, a yoga expert that created a peak performance program well over a decade ago for a number of professional football teams. But yoga is not just something used by Tom and his supermodel wife. The entire New England Patriot team leverages the ancient art of stretching. If you watched the games closely, you could see how they integrated basic yoga positions into their pre-game warm up this season.
And despite not winning the big game Sunday night, the Seattle Seahawks were also getting a lot of extra buzz about their team “Zen”. It is reported by CNN that the Seahawks incorporated regular yoga and meditation sessions into their workouts to help give them an edge over the competition this year. Russell Wilson, also a Super Bowl winner and high performance QB, practices yoga as well.
In general, you can find athletes at all levels using yoga to prepare their bodies for the big game or general competition. The primary goals for many athletes include preventing injury, promoting flexibility and increasing overall strength. But like any warrior, winning the battle requires more than just brute strength. One must establish mental strength, and a balanced self to truly win the war.
As professionals, we have to gear up for battle too. My teams at Creative Choice Group and Etech Global Services face challenges each day, some big and some small. I personally find that yoga is a proven release that can help you deal with stress, reduce tension and generate a sense of clarity and calmness. It is that little something extra that helps you to tackle the problem of the day.
While we may not be staring down a 400 pound lineman on a daily basis, each of us has a formidable competitor or challenger to our success. Learning to go head to head in the lion’s den can be a daunting task. But, if you prepare your mind and body properly, who knows, maybe you can bring home the championship ring!
As a Florida resident, I may not be a Patriots or a Seahawk fan. But, I am happy to see the NFL take the well-being of their players seriously. Yoga is a tool that will serve these fine athletes well in life, both on and off the field. And for someone like Brady, it just might give him the mental edge to negotiate his next big contract (you know how that legal process goes). Sounds like it might be time for Tom to show us all just what the breakfast of champions can do for a true winner!