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NBA players flexible when it comes to yoga

Feb 8, 2011, 11:55 PM EDT

Yoga Aid Challenge 2009 Takes Place Around Australia Getty Images

My wife (if I tried to go with a cute name like Mrs. BasketballTalk I’d be sleeping on the couch for a week, so we’ll stick with wife) has long said that there needs to be a class called “Yoga for dudes.” Men tend to turn away from the crunchy “be at one and breathe with the universe” side of yoga, and they tend not to be as flexible, so they need an environment that fits them. Not saying it has to have Iron Maiden blasting, just something not so, um, wimpy.

Because, men could get a lot out of yoga. Especially NBA basketball playing men.

And a lot are. In a fascinating story at Slam by Kyle Stack, he talks to a number of NBA teams and players that have gravitated toward yoga.

“Yoga helps center you, especially for what we do,” said Clippers guard Baron Davis. “If you can find a place that keeps you centered, both mentally and physically, it can help push your game to the next level.”

The Clippers have a yoga instructor, Kent Katich, who travels with the team and works with the players. Katich actually played college hoops at South Dakota and understands how to walk the line between the masculine NBA and the core principles of yoga.

“You can’t talk about the sun and opening your heart,” Katich said. “[The players] are going to shut you off, and they’re going to laugh at you.”

What he focuses on is balance, flexibility, breathing, strength and body awareness — all things that relate to an NBA player’s job. And it’s more than Clippers that come to him: s, Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Love, Andre Iguodala and Danilo Gallinari have all been clients.

Not everyone is into it. Jason Terry notes that it hurts, and why would he do something that hurts?

Still, in the NBA — where gaining any edge is so important many players wear useless bands with holographs on them to help their balance and coordination — this is a good trend. Because yoga could actually help.

Go read the article, it’s interesting.

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