Whether March Madness entices you back onto the court for a game of HORSE or you regularly play pickup, adding yoga to the mix will improve your basketball-specific strength, flexibility, and focus. Yoga’s benefits can truly refine your game. Use these poses to get started.
OPTIONS You can use these poses in two different ways. WARMUP For a dynamic warmup before practice, do the first three poses as a flow, moving breath to breath through the poses. STRETCH For a post-game stretch, hold each pose for 10 slow, deep breaths or more.
WHY Lengthen the side of the torso, stretch your lats, and improve your reach in this variation on Warrior II.
HOW From Warrior II, lift your left arm overhead and rest your right hand gently on your right thigh. Holding the lunge in the left leg will build strength to protect your knee; if you are tired or would like to look like the Air Jordan Jumpman logo, straighten your left leg.
WHY Build lower leg and core strength, as you lengthen your hamstrings and stretch your chest.
HOW From Exalted Warrior, straighten your left leg and lean over, resting your left hand lightly on your thigh or shin. Stretch your right arm straight overhead and roll your chest open toward the ceiling or sky.
WHY If you must squat on the sidelines or in the living room as you watch the tournament, do it with good form!
HOW Make sure your knees face out over their respective ankles. Keep your back long. Don’t forget to take deep breaths. If you’re gasping, be sure to breathe out; if you’re yelling, be sure to breathe in!
BONUS Yoga for Basketball Coaches + Fans: Tall Mountain Pose
WHY This happens spontaneously.
HOW From the squat, the bench, or the sofa, hoist yourself to your tiptoes and throw your arms in the air. Add nada yoga (the yoga of sound) by chanting, “Wooooo!” Throw in a partner mudra by high-fiving anyone present.