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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

From ouch to Om! More teen athletes trying yoga for injury prevention

Dana Santas in action
Yoga trainer to the major league sports world, Dana Santas is stunned by the injuries she’s seeing within the teen sport set.

Known for her work with teams including the Tampa Bay Lightning, Philadelphia Phillies, and Orlando Magic, Santas says, “There is an uptick in demand for yoga-based sports performance training, especially for multi-sport kids, due to an increase in injuries. They never give themselves a break.”

Santas is seeing a startling number of ...

teen athletes, ages fourteen through sixteen, who have been told they are in need of Tommy John surgery, a graft procedure, in which a ligament in the elbow is replaced with a tendon from elsewhere in the body. The affliction is common among baseball pitchers. 
c/o Dana Santas

To combat this significant problem, Santas plans to launch her Radius Yoga certification program nationwide in an effort to “get more people certified in what I do,” she says.

Santas focuses on the A, B, C's of Yoga: Alignment, Breath, and Core (specifically, the diaphragm).

“The rib cage position dictates the position of your shoulder blades,” says Santas. “There’s an epidemic of overbreathing in humans, who never fully exhale. When the rib cage is lifted up, but doesn’t get pulled down, it impacts shoulder mobility,” says Santas.” I practice diaphragmatic breathing exercises to help athletes recognize where the rib cage needs to be,” she says.

Interestingly, how well football players jump is also associated with rib cage and core strength, because it impacts pelvic floor function, says Santas.

Pranyama, or breath control can also help to calm a young athlete’s nervous system, which, “Is truly the best way to collect yourself while under pressure to consistently function at the highest level, or after giving up a grand slam and feeling the pressure from your parents and team,” says Santas.

For more on the importance of breathing mechanics for yoga mobility and strength, visit Santas’ website, where she is launching a weekly Youtube series on yoga for sports and athletes.




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