Ah football, it’s good to have you back!
The agonising wait between seasons is a low point in guys calendars everywhere but thankfully, August is here liven our weekends once more.
Away from all the talk of VAR and how it’s destroying our game, we have some of the worlds best athletes on show across the globe.
Speed, stamina, agility, power and strength are all attributes footballers focus on during pre-season and throughout but another really important aspect is having the range of motion and strength in the joints.
This isn’t just for performance, it’s also to stay injury free for as long as possible and keep themselves in a calm state of mind.
My two left feet haven’t allowed me to grace the turf at Elland Road but I would imagine playing in front of 40+ thousand fans each week is a pretty stressful job, so trying to keep stress levels low is key to good performances.
So here are 7 top footballers, past and present, that have incorporated yoga into their regime to stay at the top of their game.
Some would argue his the greatest of all time, others would say the next on the list is.
Either way, watching Messi play is just like watching art. He’s won the Ballon D’or 5 times and continues to still set the Nou Camp alight at 32, with no sign of slowing down.
We’re lucky enough to be in a period where we don’t just have one greatest of all time but two.
Ronaldo has built himself into the machine he is today, focusing on weaknesses and improving his game.
On the mental side of the game, he practises yoga and meditation that help him keep pace with the physical and mental stresses of the game.
I mean, if the two greatest of all time do yoga, do you need more convincing of its benefits? You do?…OK, read on!
I’m not sure if there is a more famous footballer than David Beckham.
I remember one of the finest moments I’ve seen in my life watching football was his free kick against Greece to take England into the World Cup. Colossal!
He pretty much put the MLS on the map outside of the US too, such was his influence and stardom.
He’s also been practising yoga and meditation for a while, helping with some of the aches and pains he was picking up later in his career. I would imagine the next person on the list probably had some influence on him too…
Ryan Giggs was part of the famous Utd side(s) that under Fergie pretty much won everything.
I could easily get my word count up by listing all of his achievements but for our interest here, what I found to be really astonishing was how long he stayed at the top of his game, retiring from football and still at Man Utd at the age of 40! That’s insane, considering most footballers retire early to mid 30s!
You can get his DVD Giggs Fitness on Amazon, which is all based around yoga.
The Spanish wizard who has gone down as a Man City great turned to yoga when he made the move to the Premier League.
Inspired by Ryan Giggs, he started training with the same teacher to adapt to the English game.
“I do similar exercises with a lady at the training ground and I find the yoga has sharpened me up. It helps to make me quick enough to avoid the challenges in the Premier League”
So not only does it help him stay in good shape but be sharp enough to avoid those challenges our league is famous for.
He’s a bit like marmite but you can’t deny that John Terry is one of the best English central defenders of recent times.
At Chelsea, he won 5 premier leagues, 5 FA Cups and a Champions League and has gone down as one of their legends.
By the time he moved to Aston Villa, he was coming to the end of his career, meaning he was probably a little more fragile and no longer at the peak of physical condition, so he turned to yoga to try and keep himself in tip-top shape.
His famous tree pose celebration came out towards the end of the 2018-19 season when Liverpool beat Chelsea 2-0 and much has been made of the meaning behind the pose.
Simply, thought, Mo Salah explained “I am a yoga man! I do yoga and it just came into my mind"
Yoga can help not just athletes but guys everywhere maintain a long and healthy body. Don't take my word for it though. Try a power yoga session and at least feel like Messi for an hour!
In a bit.