West Bromich midfielder, Gareth Barry, passes Ryan Giggs’ appearance record on Monday, clocking up his 633rd premier league appearance.
What Barry also has in common with Giggs is yoga; the practice which Giggs has frequently credited with making a great contribution to his career’s longevity.
In an interview with the Guardian, Barry hits the nail on the head with his explanation of the barriers to taking up yoga. He tells Nick Ames of The Guardian newspaper:
“As a player who’s been around a while you’ve got an old school mentality,” he says. “When somebody mentioned yoga for the first time I just looked at it and thought: ‘This isn’t for me, it’s for an older woman down at the health club trying to get supple.’ But I thought: ‘No, I can see the benefits there, I’ve got to embrace it.’ It can be hard work sometimes but you come away feeling much better. I’ve gone with things like that rather than saying I’ve never done it or needed to do it.” It has helped Barry since he left Villa eight years ago and as many as “six, seven or eight” of his current team-mates join in.
Interesting, isn’t it, how we all have our preconceptions of what ‘yoga is’ and who does it. I know plenty of women who think it’s for young women only. Or thin women. Or flexible people only. And men who think yoga is only for women and they aren’t welcome in a class. Full marks to Barry for opening his mind to challenging the preconception and finding out for himself that there were benefits to be had. Although it’s maybe disappointing that less than half his colleagues join him today moving forward is moving forward, I suppose.
More than 20 per cent of football injuries involve ankle ligament sprains and hamstring strains. Clearly yoga can have a great role to play in keeping joints and muscles strong, but also stable in their flexibility; rigidity and tightness can only increase injury risk.
Photo by David Clarke