When we think of NFL players, yoga doesn’t necessarily come to mind. With incorporating yoga into their exercise regime, players can reap a plethora of benefits for the mind, body, and soul. Yoga is a practice that everyone can benefit from to improve his or her overall health and life.
Mike Adams, a safety for the Indianapolis Colts, practices yoga on a regular basis. According to the NFL Players Association, the average NFL career length is a little over three years. Adams has enjoyed a successful career for more than a decade. He contributes much of this success to a series of daily yoga exercises and a strategic eating habit. Adams took time out of his busy schedule to give us an inside look into his practice and share some insight on entrepreneurship.
1. What initially piqued your interest in yoga?
I was introduced to yoga by my friend and NFL coach. I have been practicing yoga for about four years now. With yoga, there are breathing exercises, meditation, and assuming postures for flexibility and these practices have improved my overall well-being. What converted me to becoming a yoga believer is how it made me feel after each session. I think the mental healing of yoga impressed me the most. The benefits for me are increased muscle tone as well as the energy boost it provides.
2. Why is yoga important to you as an athlete and how often do you practice?
As an athlete, yoga physically allows me to remain flexible as I reach the peak of my career. I would say that I practice the art of yoga at least once a week during the season and two to three times during the off-season.
3. How can yoga improve the performance of athletes?
I always say that yoga is a true asset when you are an athlete because athletes deal with different injuries while playing. Yoga can’t prevent injuries, but I believe it can minimize soft tissue injuries. In my experience, your performance on the field is only enhanced both mentally and physically.
4. Have you encouraged your teammates to try yoga and what were their responses?
Absolutely. Especially if one of my teammates is battling some kind of injury or if I’m asked about my workout routines. They sometimes have jokes about the poses and positions but my teammates usually end up trying it or doing a session with me.
5. What are some misconceptions about yoga that you want to get rid of?
I believe that everyone has their own misconceptions about yoga, especially when they do not practice the art. There are no absolutes in this practice and what works for one person might not work for someone else. What I think is important is that people should find what works for them and what makes them comfortable when beginning their journey into yoga.
6. What is your favorite yoga pose and why?
I enjoy janu sirsasana (head to knee forward bend). I use that pose on an everyday basis before I start my performance. It is a pose for the hamstring that players use on every level. The most interesting part is that athletes are probably unaware of it being a yoga pose. In this pose, you can find relief from general hamstring tightness.
7. As someone who is into health and an entrepreneur with your fiancé, what encouragement do you have for young families that want to build a healthy and financial legacy?
Stay encouraged and be willing to learn from others as well as each other. I am a huge advocate of encouraging people whenever I can. For many young families, it can be intimidating to start your own business. As long as you stay focused, determined and work together, you can make your business grow and be financially stable for the future.
8. Any extra words of encouragement?
I encourage anyone who is on the fence about beginning their journey into yoga to try it. Aside from the physical benefits, one of the best benefits for me is how it helps mentally. I feel like I’m in a great place when I practice regularly.
Yvelette Stines is an award-winning writer whose work has been published in Essence, Uptown, Heart and Soul, Jones, The Source, Hispanic Executive Quarterly, and Green Build + Design, just to name a few. Her book Vernon the Vegetable Man encourages children to choose healthy lifestyle habits. Stines’ blog Calming Corners motivates readers to live a calm life and write from their soul. You can find her calmly playing on social media @yvelettestines and @calmingcorners.