NFL Player Credits Yoga with Weightloss, Fitness

Tennessee Titans' defensive tackle Shaun Smith drops weight and improves his conditioning with yoga.
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Tennessee Titans' defensive tackle Shaun Smith drops weight and improves his conditioning with yoga.

The defense tackle for the Tenessee Titans’ football team is doing yoga? Yep. Not only that—he’s teaching it, too. Recently, Shaun Smith, a 300-pound-plus NFL football player taught two classes at Hot Yoga Plus in Nashville. They were both benefit classes, and the proceeds went to a charity he is involved with called the 91 Ways Foundation, which raises money for inner city kids and urban schools that are short on classroom supplies.

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Smith started practicing hot yoga in 2008, and has continued to do so in an effort to better condition himself for football—and to lose weight. He lost 22 pounds in the current off-season, which he attributes to the hot yoga. (He still weighs 340!) The Titans didn’t have a great season this past year, and Smith says the yoga is getting him into better shape, which will prime him for better performance on the field. He’s proud of his yoga regime, though he’s had to endure teasing from teammates who think yoga isn’t tough enough. Still, two of his teammates, Michael Griffith and Gerald McRath, came to one of the classes he taught at Hot Yoga Plus to support him.

Does he like teaching? Yes, but like all teachers, he’s insecure about being new. "I'm nervous about it a little bit,” he told News Channel 5. “It's almost like me in my first game in the NFL. Little nervous, don't know what to expect, but I'm going to wing it and see how it goes. I might have a future in this, you never know.”