YOGA FOR ATHLETES
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.