The Gopher football team has added a little bit of zen into its summer conditioning program this year.
Coach Jerry Kill, along with strength coach Erick Klein and Christine Ojala, owner of Thrive Mind Body in Minneapolis, have worked together to incorporate a once a week, team-wide yoga session into Minnesota's summer conditioning program.
The sessions last about an hour, according to ESPN.com. Players, like senior safety Cedric Thompson, were skeptical about the weekly yoga sessions at first, according to the article.
"I didn't really buy into it at first," Thompson said. "[Friends] had tried to get me to do it before, and I'd always said no."
Other schools have also adopted yoga into their workout routines. Big Ten foe Illinois began using yoga as a part of their workout regimen in 2008. Boise State has also begun to use yoga as a part of their summer workouts. Former Gopher and current Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Ra'Shede Hageman adopted yoga into his workouts in preparation for the NFL Draft, according to GopherHole.
Kill said that he got the idea for weekly yoga from the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks incorporate yoga into their weekly workouts as well as encourage their players to meditate daily.
Kill and Klein like to promote flexibility as a part of their strength and conditioning program, so yoga seems like a perfect addition to their workout philosophy. Klein said that while doing yoga, he hopes the players are learning to clear their mind of clutter and just focus on the task at hand. The coaches hope this skill will translate to when the players take the field in the fall.
Thompson said at first that a lot of the players had trouble staying upright while trying to pose during the yoga sessions, but he said now that a lot of the players enjoy the workouts. Kill said that it will be up to the players to decide whether or not they want to continue the yoga workouts into the fall.