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Teaching Power Yoga For Sports

Author: Lawrence G
Category: Sports Performance
Audience: Elite Athlete
Length: 325 pages
Publisher: Human Kinetics
  Year Published: 2019
List Price: $29.95® Rating: Excellent!

Teaching Power Yoga For Sports presents the Power Yoga For Sports program developed by yoga instructor Gwen Lawrence.

Recommended for: Yoga instructors and elite athletes, but, also, anyone interested in yoga, especially power yoga!


Author Gwen Lawrence, LMT, has been in the fitness industry for more than 20 years. She is a yoga instructor, a yoga therapist, a licensed massage therapist, and an adjunct professor at Manhattanville College. More than a decade ago, she developed the Power Yoga For Sports program. She has been a yoga coach for teams in MLB, NBA, and NHL. She has presented training workshops in more than 18 countries and has appeared on NBC's Today Show, The Dr. Oz Show, Good Day New York, and others. She is the co-host of her own show The Better Man Show. Gwen holds a BS degree in art and science.


This 325 page book is organized as follows:

  • Chapter 1: Why Athletes Need Power Yoga for Sports
  • Chapter 2: Anatomy, Alignment, and Assessment
  • Chapter 3: Mindfulness Tools
  • Chapter 4: Maximize Your Yoga Practice
  • Chapter 5: Standing Poses
  • Chapter 6: Seated Poses
  • Chapter 7: Floor Poses and Inversions
  • Chapter 8: Sport-Specific Sequences
  • Chapter 9: Ready-to-Use Yoga Sequences
  • Chapter 10: Restorative Sequences


In general, this book is very thorough and very well done!

• Chapter 1: Here, the author summarizes the 6 principles of her "Power Yoga for Sports" system: Balance, Strength, Flexibility, Focus, Mental Toughness, and Breathing. She points out that Strength + Flexibility = Power. She emphasizes that the best rehabilitation technique is prevention. But the mental aspect of yoga (Focus, Mental Toughness) is just as important as are the physical aspects. This chapter is well done.

• Chapter 2: This chapter is intended for yoga instructors. It explains how to assess strength and flexibility imbalances in clients. A unique aspect is "identifying the dominant eye." Using the example of a hitter in baseball: If a player bats right-handed, his left eye has a better view of the pitch than his right eye. But, if that batter is right-eye-dominant, he is at a slight disadvantage. Lawrence explains that eye dominance cannot be changed. However, by loosening the spine and neck muscles, a player can turn his/her head farther and, thus, get a better look at the ball. She states that she addressed this issue with Alex Rodriguez.

• Chapter 3: This chapter focuses on mindfulness. There is good info here. This is the only chapter where the author cites outside resources.

• Chapter 4: In this short chapter, the author provides tips on how to be an effective yoga instructor.

• Chapters 5, 6, and 7: In these 3 chapters, the author presents specific poses: standing (22 poses), seated (9 poses), and floor poses and inversions (36 poses). For each one, a color photo is provided showing how to do it, along with a written explanation. "Benefits" and "Contraindications" are listed for each pose. For many poses, variations are also provided. These chapters occupy 146 pages, almost half of the book.

• Chapter 8: Chapter 8 is the most impressive chapter of the book. This chapter best illustrates how specific yoga poses can be beneficial for 15 different sports: from football to soccer to volleyball to skiing to racquet sports and others, even mixed martial arts. A lot of effort went into this content: it's 83 pages long. For each sport, a yoga sequence is presented. And for many of the yoga poses, a similar motion from a sport is shown next to it. This provides visual confirmation of the relevance of that pose to that sport. Some examples explaining how her program improved an athlete's performance would be a nice addition to this chapter.

• Chapter 9: This chapter also presents yoga sequences, but here they are organized according to various areas of the body, not specific sports: arms/shoulders, abs, glutes, etc.

• Chapter 10: This is similar to Chapter 9, but these routines are referred to as "restorative sequences." The author explains that these routines can be performed before or after a game to "prepare or rejuvenate the body but not overburden it."

Other details:

Photos & Illustrations: This book contains tons of color photos. These are clear and help readers understand each pose. Chapter 8 does an excellent job of using photos to emphasize the benefits of various yoga poses for specific sports: for many, a similar posture or motion from a sport is shown next to the yoga pose. Several anatomical illustrations appear in Chapter 1 and 2.

Tables & Graphs: The book contains numerous tables that help the reader locate what page a pose can be found and/or summarize the sequence of a series of poses in succinct fashion. These are very useful. There are no graphs.

Documentation / Accuracy: This is not a scientific book, however, considering that the author holds an academic appointment, it's reasonable to expect that at least some clinical evidence be provided to support the health claims that are made. Several citations appear at the end of Chapter 3 but these are poor quality: one is a podcast, and several publications are from 1967.

What I Liked About This Book

Teaching Power Yoga For Sports is very thorough. It is well organized, which is important because there is a lot of material provided. The color photos are well done and very helpful. In addition, there is a useful index of the specific poses called the "Pose Finder." For each pose, a common name is emphasized over the ridiculously confusing yoga terms (eg., "dhanurasana"?!!). The author also presents a "Code of Ethics" for yoga instructors who work with professional athletes.

What Could Be Better

The author makes unsupported health claims for some poses: "helps sinus health," "improves digestion," and "stimulates the thyroid gland." This is one of the only flaws in this book, but it is fairly substantial. Authors and editors alike must realize that specific health claims should never be made if they cannot be backed up by clinical evidence. Other claims such as "detoxifies the lungs," "drains sluggish lymph," and "wrings out the organs" are simply ridiculous.

Chapter 8 provides extensive detail of how specific yoga poses are beneficial for various sports. But, after reading it, I was left wondering if the Power Yoga For Sports program actually improves athletic performance? Or, prevents injuries? Despite the author's many years of working with professional sports teams, there's no documentation of how her program improved an athlete's performance, or, reduced the rate of team injuries. This is a notable omission.


Teaching Power Yoga For Sports is an excellent resource. Though it is intended for yoga instructors, elite athletes as well as weekend warriors could benefit from having this resource. Power yoga enthusiasts may like it as well. I can recommend this book.

Other Yoga Books You Might Like:

Reviewed by: Stan Reents, PharmD 12/7/2018 1:10:33 PM

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