Yoga for BIFC players’ body + mind

Hi there! My name is Rachel Meyer, and I’ve been fortunate to work with the Team G players during their Saturday morning sessions.

As a professional yoga teacher for the last decade, I’ve taught in San Francisco, Portland, and Boston, and written for The Washington Post, Yoga Journal, Yoga International, HuffPost, and more.

Now here in Basel, it’s been a joy to step onto the pitch with the BIFC players every week. Children are natural yogis: they’re open-minded, innately flexible, and don’t take themselves too seriously. The Team G kids have settled into a nice rhythm with their practice; we move through a regular series of poses, counting to 10 together in German, Swedish, Spanish, Italian, and English. In these quiet (and sometimes giggly) moments together, I’m always inspired by the international nature of our club.

As an athlete, the earlier you can start practicing yoga, the better. Many professional athletes come to yoga to help heal their bodies after decades of intense training and serious injuries. Rather than waiting until you’re creaky and injured to start a practice, build stretching and strengthening into your training regimen now. 

Yoga is as much about cultivating compassion and mental clarity as it is about getting flexible hamstrings. Learning to be gentle with yourself when you can’t do a pose (or when you fall out of a tricky balance) is great practice for when you miss that game-winning goal or wipe out on the field.

A regular yoga practice will strengthen your core, lubricate your joints, prevent injury, increase flexibility and help to calm your mind. Even 5-10 minutes at the end of every training — when your muscles are warm and you’re moving into cool-down mode — can make all the difference.

Start small, be gentle with yourself, and approach everything with a spirit of play. Practice as a family. If you can learn to laugh at yourselves as you try (and fail, and try again): then you’re really doing yoga.