Results tagged ‘ yoga ’
If you’ve been following us on social media, you are probably aware that, leading up to the past two seasons, the Brewers training staff has been incorporating yoga sessions into the players’ various workouts during Spring Training.
Well, this year, that practice extended beyond Spring Training and was added as optional weekly or biweekly workout sessions during each homestand.
“The mental part of baseball is so big. Having these guys experience an opportunity of how to calm their minds when they’re doing active movements is probably the biggest reason,” said Major League Strength and Conditioning Specialist Josh Seligman, who explained why he believes yoga is an important part of the mix. “Then there’s obviously the secondary reason, which is flexibility when the muscle is under tension. It also kind of mixes it up for them and takes them out of their normal system. So, just the comprehensiveness of it. It’s also low-impact, so over a long season, it provides that recovery as well.”
Although optional, several players have seen and felt such great benefits that they have become devoted to a regular practice led by local yoga expert and studio owner, Pamela Bliss.
Bliss began her yoga practice 17 years ago when she became chronically ill, was in chronic pain, and didn’t know where else to turn.
“Yoga saved my life,” Bliss said. “Everything that was previously wrong has been healed. Honestly, what I can do today is a direct result of the practice. Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually—I’m a different human being because of yoga. Without my practice, I don’t know how I would manage and balance it all.”
And when Bliss says balance “it all,” she means it. In addition to working with the Crew, she owns YogAsylum, a premier studio in Brookfield where she not only runs the business, but also teaches classes and runs a yoga teacher training program. Oh, and she recently acquired the Milwaukee School of Massage as well. Bliss’s credentials are impressive. She holds an M.A. in Transpersonal Psychology with concentration studies in Ecopsychology; and degrees in Nursing, Yoga, and Ecology. Bliss is also a meditation CD artist, intuitive medium, and inspirational speaker who presents at conferences internationally.
This week, I was fortunate to attend one of Bliss’s sessions to see what the guys are up to and chat with them and Bliss about the benefits of yoga—particularly as it relates to baseball and the players’ performance on the field.
“To me, the list of benefits is endless, but also measurable, because you do see a clear difference,” Bliss said. “Yoga is very experiential. You have to do it in order to receive its benefits. The more you put into it, the more you get out of it, so consistency is very important.”
In the 45-minute sessions for the Crew, Bliss mixes it up for the players. For example, the session I attended included traditional hatha, along with vinyasa flow, and some yin poses (longer holds) incorporated toward the end.
“For the guys, we work on addressing the six directions of the spine, strengthening the core, and really focusing on the hips,” Bliss explained. “By watching their movements, I clearly see the need for and benefit from hip openers, so those are things I make sure we work on every time.”
Bliss works with a wide range of individuals—all walks of life and all abilities—but she says working with baseball players is definitely unique.
“The first time I went down to Spring Training was to get an idea of what the players needed and see how I could help. I have to say it was the first time I had been in a yoga practice where sunflower seeds were being spit and there was all this chatter,” Bliss said with a laugh. “I knew then this was going to be an interesting process! But everyone has been super receptive, super grateful, and the coaches are really happy about it…I know everyone really appreciates it.”
Pitcher Carlos Torres, who is among the regulars in Bliss’s sessions, is a big proponent of yoga as part of his extensive workout routine.
“There are different types of exercise that every team offers. Some of them will even go as far as ballet for agility and stuff like that, but yoga is one that team-to-team–while not every team is going to provide it–every team recommends it,” Torres said.
“As athletes, we’re taught to lift a lot of weights, we’re taught to be strong, we’re taught to be a lot of things, but you have to have strength within that flexibility and if you don’t, it’s useless strength,” he explained. “What yoga does is it builds that strength within that flexibility to actually translate your power that you’ve been working on the entire time to what it is you’re trying to do. For pitchers, it’s throw a ball. For some guys it’s hit, or steal bags and whatnot…. I hope that all teams provide it because I think it’s very beneficial to everybody.”
Outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis agrees; he likes the balance that yoga brings to his routine.
“It’s such a long season. We’re active everyday and, swinging as much as we do, that’s hard on your body. Yoga is really good for recovery and just limbering up and staying healthy,” he said. “If I go a few weeks without going, I can definitely feel it. In the offseason, it’s something that I have been trying to implement a little bit more over the last few years and it’s helped, so I think that it’s definitely a good thing.”
Corey Knebel‘s wife Danielle is a certified yoga instructor, so the pitcher is very familiar with the practice, which he has typically incorporated on his own during the offseason.
“This is the first year we’ve done it during the season. For me, I’m really tight. My hips are always tight, my legs are always tight, so it’s good to feel pretty flexible. I feel a big difference this year with it,” Knebel said.
And, while pitcher Matt Garza also says he reaps the benefits of flexibility, he enjoys the meditative side of the practice as well.
“I do yoga because it helps me control my breathing, it helps me get that under grasp. The stretching part is awesome. It really helps you get deep into stretches,” Garza said. “It used to be the stronger you are in the game, the better you are. It’s now how flexible you are. The more flexible you are, the better you can be in position and play your position. But I mainly like it because of the calming nature of the workout.”
Bliss added, “A lot of times people in general say, ‘It’s just physical,’ but it’s so far beyond that. In order to transcend the physical, you have to put in consistent effort — to invest in yourself to be your very best; what could be more important? That’s where these guys really get it and that’s what got them here; they are all in—that’s what makes this a lot of fun for me. It’s also a huge honor for me.”
And, as someone who is personally devoted to yoga, I was honored to share in this practice with Bliss and members of the Crew, if only for a day. Namaste!
I’m very excited because the Brewers Team Store just got in new Brewers Fitness Gear, including yoga mats and stability balls from Cirrus Fitness!
I have practiced yoga for many years and I can’t tell you how I excited I was to learn that the store was stocking Brewers yoga mats!
The yoga mat is 24″ x 72″ x 1/5″ and retails for $60.
The stability balls are available in 55″ and 65″ sizes for $55 each.
If you haven’t been to the store in awhile, you should stop in there the next time you’re at Miller Park–they also carry a variety of different fitness clothing from a wide selection of vendors, so you can also wear your support while you workout.
I’m told the store will be getting in even more fitness items moving forward, so check back often. And of course, I’ll try my best to let you know about it here on the blog!
This past weekend, five people from our office competed in the Men’s Health Urbanathlon in Chicago. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this event, it is basically a 15K race with a crazy obstacle course mixed in, ending with a stair climb at Soldier Field.
Jennacy Cruz, Manager of Event Services for Stadium Operations participated in the event, as did Jason Hartlund, VP-Brewers Enterprises. From the Consumer Marketing Department (my department), Chris Barlow, Director of Group Sales; Billy Friess, Director of Season Ticket Sales; and our VP, Todd Taylor, all completed the Urbanathlon.
L-R: Chris, Jason, Todd and Billy, geared up for the Urbanathlon.
Because Chris, Billy and Todd are in my department, I had heard a lot from them about the race and the training leading up to it. I was curious: How do you train for obstacles involving concrete barriers, monster truck tires, police barricades, marine hurdles, cargo nets and stadium steps? (Okay, for these guys the last one was pretty easy.)
Hearing about the race this weekend really got me thinking. Over the years, as guys like Ryan Braun, Casey McGehee and Corey Hart have had 100-RBI seasons or guys like Prince Fielder have hit 50 home runs, my other colleagues — the athletes off the field — have accomplished some pretty amazing things as well.
Basically, what it comes down to is that in working in sports, you often find that the athletes aren’t just on the field. Because people who work in sports tend to like sports, consequently they also tend to participate in sports as well.
At the risk of accidentally leaving someone out, here’s a small sample of some of our achievements:
Did you know that we have an Olympian on staff? Dave Tamburrino, Director of Corporate Marketing, was a member of the U.S. Olympic Speedskating Team in 1994 (Lillehammer, Norway) and 1998 (Nagano, Japan). Dave also finished 5th overall at the 1995 World All Around Speedskating Championships in Baselga Di Pine, Italy and was a member of the US National Speedskating Team (1988-1998) and the World All Around Speedskating Championships Team (1994-1998). Wow! I wonder if the rest of the Corporate Marketing department finds it hard to keep up with him. Currently, Dave plays hockey for the Cans Lumberjacks adult league team at the Pettit Center.
How cool is Olympian Dave Tamburrino? Ice cold!
Diny Hurwitz, our Data Analyst, is a cyclist. His first long distance bicycle trip was an 800-mile ride from Rochester, New York, to Bar Harbor, Maine, two months before he turned 16. He’s biked across the United States from Yorktown, Virginia to Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. He’s also traveled from south to north through Oregon along the Pacific Coast and rode a 500-miles loop over three mountain passes through the Colorado Rocky Mountains, reaching an altitude of 12,095 feet at Independence Pass. He’s even accidentally biked on the Autobahn in the Czech Republic during his trip to Central Europe (don’t ask!).
Diny Hurwitz, on a bike trip to Oregon (seen here sporting his Brewers Kickball t-shirt!).
It’s been said that the baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint and it seems like a lot of our staff has taken that quite literally. We’ve got lots of runners in our ranks and it would be really interesting to know how many miles in races we’ve logged collectively. Here are some highlights: Sarah Holbrook, Director of Corporate Marketing, has completed three marathons in Noank, CT, Minneapolis, MN, and Amsterdam, Holland. Teddy Werner, Director of Business Operations, has also run three marathons: Boston, New York City and Chicago. Maggie Aliota, Group Event Coordinator, has completed one full marathon, four half-marathons and one sprint triathlon. Prior to the Urbanathlon, Jennacy, Chris, Jason and Billy had all run numerous races, too.
This summer, I completed my first half-marathon as well (although, my main passion is yoga; I’m proud to say I’ve finally mastered the 8-Angle pose!) and last summer, my boss, Kathy Schwab, Senior Director of Marketing, and I participated in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure, a 60-mile walk over the course of three days in Chicago. We were proud of ourselves for not only completing the event, but for also raising over $5000 for the charity.
Here I am with my boss, Kathy (right) and our mascot, a pink Brewers monkey (appropriately dubbed “Pink Monkey”) after finishing the Breast Cancer 3-Day last August.
In February and March, many people on our staff find themselves down at Spring Training in Arizona, but just because we’re away from home, it doesn’t mean we’re on vacation. We’re still working and our exercise regimens do not take a hiatus. In fact, some members of our front office put themselves through their own version of spring training with extra-tough pre-season workouts. If you take a trip down there to see the Crew, plan to climb Camelback Mountain and you’ll likely see lots of people wearing Brewers gear. I’m proud to say that I conquered Camelback-and my fear of heights-as I climbed the mountain for the first time myself this year.
Camelback Mountain, Phoenix, Arizona: The climb was worth it for this view!
Not counting the experience on the Baseball Operations side, we’ve got semi-pro baseball players in our MIS and Suites Departments. There are company softball games against other local businesses. A kickball team comprised of people who work on the Loge Level. Volleyball and bowling leagues. A men’s pickup basketball league.
This kickball team, comprised of many people from our Loge Level, is playing for the championships next week.
Mention the words “P-90X” and you’ll have no trouble finding someone who’s been there, done that. And although we’re pretty busy during most of Wisconsin’s best golfing weather, there’s a good number of people (including me) who take advantage of any time they have to hit the links. We’ve got a former basketball coach on staff and people into dance, tennis and snowboarding.
Again, these are just the things I’m aware of. If I did an official office poll, I’m sure I’d find some more surprises.
So there you have it. The Brewers athletes off the field, a pretty competitive bunch!
What about you, readers? Comment below and let us know what cool feats you’ve accomplished!