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Yoga Basics for Athletes

From Miami Heat's LeBron James to Baltimore Ravens' Ray Lewis, pro athletes are using yoga to help improve their moves. Learn how you can jump on the bandwagon without embarrassing yourself.

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Many of our favorite athletes are doing yoga during the off-season, so why not try it ourselves? Yoga has numerous benefits, like increasing flexibility, strength, balance, endurance, and focus. Not to mention, it's gentle on the body, so you won't aggravate pre-existing injuries.

Maybe you've even considered joining a yoga class before but were scared off by the female-dominated floor. Fear no more. Our partners at Stack.com have provided us a how-to on getting started with yoga.

Some key tips:

  • Choose the right style: There are a number of yoga styles, and finding the right one will help ensure that you'll want to come back. For those who want a more fast-paced practice, consider power yoga. If you want to wipe yourself out and break a serious sweat (no joke), try Bikram (hot) yoga. Hatha yoga is good for beginners because of its slow pace and introductory poses. And Vinyasa focuses around the mind-breath connection and works the body with aggressive stretching. Not intrigued yet? See what your local yoga studios offer. There are many more styles and variations available.
  • Stay in the back row: For your first few visits, lay your mat down in the back row so that you can see what the people around you are doing. This helps you learn, keeps your neck from straining to see what's going on, and provides you with an awesome view of your mostly female class.
  • Stay calm: Yoga is not easy. Don't freak out if your athletic build is getting in the way of some moves. Progress is supposed to be slow and steady, and the most challenging aspects are usually what your body needs the most.

For more of Stack's yoga tips, see the full article.

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