Periodically, the Watertown High School track and field team will take a break from running and hit the yoga mat as a part of their training regimen.
On a January afternoon, more than a dozen members of the boys and girls track teams filtered into Artemis Yoga in Coolidge Square to work with instructor Amy Hrobak.
Assistant track coach Megan Diduca first brought some of the girls track athletes over last year, and last spring she brought some of the boys track team members.
“”We love it,” Diduca said. “We do extra strength training so it is not always running. It is nice cross training.”
To begin class, Hrobak asked the class to relax and then they started going through some basic positions. Within a few minutes the students were bending into positions where one arm is on the ground and the other is reaching toward the ceiling.
Hrobak, a former soccer player at St. Anselm College, works with teams. With for track teams she said she likes to work on stretching out their hamstrings and quads.
“We also do strength building to balance out the work done on the track,” Hrobak said. “(Doing yoga) means being able to balance work with rest. They learn to take care of their body on off days with stretching and yoga. It is better for longevity.”
Yoga also helps athletes focus, said Liz Padula, owner of Artemis Yoga.
“They come stretch and balance and calm their minds to take a way the stresses of competing,” Padula said. “It gives them some tools to calm their anxieties about their sport, training and enables them to listen to their body.”
Artemis, which opened two years ago, has a couple different options for teams. One is Soccer on the Mat, which was developed by Boston College women’s soccer Head Coach Alison Foley and focuses on female soccer players ages 10-14.
Yoga for Teams works on mobility, strength, flexibility, and the mind. Artemis has worked with teams from WHS, Newton North, Newton South, and with the Brandeis College’s women’s volleyball team, Padula said. A group of rowers in Row Boston, a program for inner city rowers from Boston based at Community Rowing, have also worked with Artemis.
Teams get a group discount and participants pay for each class they attend. Find out more about Artemis Yoga at www.artemisyoga.com.