Traditonally, the Packers are more Nitschke than namaste, but an increasing number of players are turning to yoga to help curb injuries.
According to Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, about 15 Packers players have become regulars at a small yoga studio in nearby De Pere, where insturctor Ryanne Cunningham is trying to teach them the value of staying flexible.
“I’m not the savior,” Cunningham said. “But I care. I care about these guys and I want these guys to perform their utmost best on the field. That’s my goal for them, is to take their performance to the next level up. If I can. That’s what I can do with yoga.”
Cornerback Tramon Williams was the first regular at the studio, seeking out Cunningham after longtime wide receiver Terrell Owens swore by the value of yoga.
A growing number of Packers players are believers now, especially after a rash of hamstring injuries hurt the team in recent years.
Williams credits the program for his breakout season and his newfound resilience. But there’s still a stigma that yoga is for soccer moms in minivans, which keeps many players from embracing it.
“But it’s hard. It’s hard. That’s the thing guys realize,” Williams says. “They come in thinking it’s going to be an easy day. And guys are sweating like they had a whole day of practice.”
Players should seek out any avenue to keep their bodies strong, and keeping it flexible seems like a reasonable first step, since they can’t make plays or money if they’re standing on the sidelines.