YOGA FOR ATH­LETES

Foreword Reviews - - Foresight Health & Fitness -

Ryanne Cun­ning­ham, Hu­man Ki­net­ics Soft­cover $21.95 (224pp), 978-1-4925-2261-4

Yoga’s rep­u­ta­tion is of­ten soft and fem­i­nine, all yoga pants and calm­ing breath­ing. As a re­sult, many skilled, ded­i­cated ath­letes see yoga as some­thing out­side their realm, but Ryanne Cun­ning­ham shows how the in­ten­sity and adapt­abil­ity of yoga are good, even es­sen­tial, for all sorts of ath­letes. Through ded­i­cated prac­tice, yoga can bring bal­ance to the body that is an as­set to com­peti­tors from cy­clists to bas­ket­ball play­ers.

Cun­ning­ham be­gins with the ba­sics—ben­e­fits of yoga and how to get started—then ven­tures into poses and prac­tices for ten spe­cific sports. This ap­proach takes peo­ple from ba­sic knowl­edge to truly trans­for­ma­tive rou­tines quickly, be­cause for ath­letes, yoga is a means and not an end in it­self. Each pose has con­cise ac­tion- and ben­e­fit-ori­ented in­struc­tions, and Cun­ning­ham demon­strates strong knowl­edge of the needs of each sport.

The book’s tone is clear and pos­i­tive, like that of a coach—not sur­pris­ing, given Cun­ning­ham’s ex­pe­ri­ence as a trainer, but es­sen­tial for any­one try­ing some­thing new. The pace of the book, over­all, and in each chap­ter and sec­tion, moves for­ward quickly so ath­letes can in­te­grate yoga into their train­ing sched­ules and see re­sults.

This book is well-rounded, con­vey­ing what works and why it works in a way that’s ap­pli­ca­ble to all kinds of peo­ple. Cun­ning­ham has deep knowl­edge of yoga and im­pres­sive ex­pe­ri­ence train­ing ath­letes (in­clud­ing Green Bay Pack­ers play­ers), but her wis­dom is also broad, cov­er­ing mas­sage, phys­i­ol­ogy, and more. Clear pho­tos make the po­si­tions easy to emu­late, and they por­tray a range of body types, many of them men’s. More med­i­cal di­a­grams, such as those of mus­cle groups, of­fer deeper un­der­stand­ing to pro­mote safety along with good re­sults.

Ath­letes from ama­teur to elite will find Cun­ning­ham’s in­sights up their game, and coaches, es­pe­cially of younger ath­letes, will find new tools to help those they coach per­form their best by build­ing and main­tain­ing strength, bal­ance, and flex­i­bil­ity.

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