Athletics & Recreation / Magazine Feature

Men’s lacrosse team stretches out

The DU men’s lacrosse team is adding some new positions this season: cobra, pigeon and downward dog.

Thanks to assistant coach Trevor Tierney, a certified yoga instructor, the team is now doing yoga in addition to its other training. Once a week, team members do the aforementioned poses and many more in an effort to improve flexibility and concentration.

“Athletes are constantly put in the weight room, which is important for them to build up their strength and their explosiveness, and they’re put on the field to learn their skills, and we run them a lot, but when you do all those things and you don’t stretch enough, you get very tight,” says Tierney, who is certified through Denver-based CorePower Yoga. “That’s what I’m seeing with the team right now — we’re extremely inflexible.”

Tierney uses the CorePower technique in his sessions with the team. The fast-moving style keeps the players from getting bored, he says, and it runs counter to the mental images many non-practitioners conjure up when they hear the word “yoga.”

“I think everyone at first has this idea of what yoga is in their head, and it’s kind of this far out thing, but the yoga I teach is a very athletic form of yoga where you’re constantly flowing through and moving, so it’s a good type of yoga for athletes,” he says. “They don’t get bored with it and it’s challenging for them.”

Senior defenseman Dillon Roy says the yoga poses are getting easier — not easy, he stresses, but easier — as the team continues to train.

“Yoga makes you more flexible, which will prevent injuries and such, but deeper than that it will make you faster, stronger, more versatile,” Roy says. “I think it’s a good thing that we’re doing it.

“It’s pretty unique that coach Tierney is leading it. He can coach us on the field and then lead us in a yoga class — it’s a pretty funny transition.”

Tierney — the son of head lacrosse coach Bill Tierney — started practicing yoga six years ago. He was playing professional lacrosse and a friend suggested it as a way of recovering from a particularly tough season.

“It’s a really important part of my life now,” he says. “I wish someone would have shown it to me in college because I dealt with a lot of injuries like lower back stuff and tightness in my hamstrings that I probably wouldn’t have had to deal with had I had yoga. I’m happy to be able to share it with these guys.”

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