This summer, Algonquin Football Boosters piloted yoga classes as part of their summer camp. Under the instruction of Bianca and Kristin and supported by volunteers from our Embodyoga teacher training program, Ebb n' Flow Yoga held three 30-min yoga sessions in their summer camp.
Head coach Mark took time to share his thoughts on this expansion of Algonquin's football program.
Ebb n’ Flow Yoga: Talk about Algonquin's football program.
Mark: The Algonquin football program consists of three teams - freshman, JV and Varsity. This year, we have approximately 85 student-athletes involved from Grades 9-12.
Our main goal is to provide a safe and fun experience to anyone in the school that wishes to participate in football. We work on fundamentals, scheme, and also other aspects of life that do not deal with football. We incorporate year round strength and conditioning training, and thanks to you guys yoga!
Part of this experience is to have a positive impact on the student-athlete as coaches, while also teaching the game. We believe that football is an extension of the classroom and have a priority of academic excellence, and also believe that football teaches numerous life lessons. These life lessons include leadership, accountability, teamwork, effort, consistency, and many more!
Ebb n’ Flow Yoga: What was the inspiration having yoga sessions during this year’s summer camp?
Mark: We wanted to supplement on what we already do by providing something different for the student-athletes. Many strength and conditioning programs are monotonous year in and year out. By adding yoga, the student-athletes receive a well-rounded program that includes flexibility, strength, recovery and injury reduction.
Ebb n’ Flow Yoga: How do you see yoga supporting the football program?
Mark: We greatly appreciate the time the instructors gave to work with out student-athletes this summer. We believe it had a positive impact on the kids and program. The kids seemed to have enjoyed the experience!
On the field we have already seen a reduced injury rate (knock on wood!). The performance and flexibility of the kids also seems to have improved. Off the field, we definitely would love to continue to use yoga both during the season and off-season periods.
Ebb n’ Flow Yoga: What was one takeaway you had during the summer yoga sessions?
Mark: I think the major take away was seeing the kids have fun with it. Many of them had not ever tried yoga and/or did not believe that they could do many of the poses throughout the sessions. I think once they got comfortable doing it they also saw the benefits and saw their own improvements throughout the summer. A fun experience is one of our priorities as a team, and the kids definitely had fun with yoga!
Ebb n’ Flow Yoga: Any advice, especially for student athletes, given your perspective on football and yoga?
Mark: There is a stigma that men don’t do yoga. I think this experience showed that there are great benefits for more men to get involved in this practice. In addition, some of the top college and pro teams/athletes incorporate yoga into their routines. My advice would be to have an open mind going into it. Enjoy the experience! You are definitely going to see some great results from participating in yoga!
It was so cool to witness yoga move among and within Algonquin's football student-athletes. They authentically fluctuated between trying and not trying, disbelief and amazement, hilarious laughter and incredible single-pointed focus. Ebb n' Flow Yoga is honored to have this opportunity to share what we love with this part of Algonquin. And we could not be more thrilled to continue the partnership. It seems that when football meets yoga, both are better for it. With gratitude, Joy