Yoga has always been more popular with women. Thanks to Ryan Giggs, a man who is such a man he played in the Premier League aged 40, while managing a tricky hamstring, yoga found a new home among the lads. The key, according to Giggs, is to rename it Giggs Fitness, talk at length about “strength” and “conditioning”, instead of “inner strength” and “peace” then simply package that mindset into a DVD ready in time for Christmas 2011.
Maria Sharapova: hot yoga
Sure, she failed a drugs test and sure, she’s paying the price now, but there’s no questioning the tennis player’s agility. It’s something that can be put down (in part) to her love of hot yoga – yoga done in hot and humid conditions. She has been a fan since she was 15 and credits her between-point calmness with the breathing exercises (she even filmed a session in tandem with her sponsor, Nike).
United States goal keeper Hope Solo. Photograph: David Dermer/AP
Hope Solo: dynamic yoga
Yoga saved US women’s goalkeeper Hope Solo’s life. In 2012, the US soccer team were staying in a Vancouver when a gunman broke into their hotel. Thankfully the team, including Solo, were busy in the basement finishing up a dynamic yoga class: “Was about to walk to Starbucks when all hell broke loose in the lobby of our hotel! Life is precious,” she tweeted. Solo prefers dynamic yoga, another word for flow, a faster-paced form where classes move seamlessly between poses.
Joe Hart: Iyengar yoga
Proof that the marriage between goalkeepers and yoga is a happy one, Hart practises Iyengar, which focuses on alignment, improving your posture post-injury rehabilitation rather than, say, conditioning and elongating muscles (perfect for goalkeeping). Jennifer Aniston swears by it, Nigella Lawson toned up doing it and, well, Hart singularly failed to stop shots from Gareth Bale and Kolbeinn Sigthorsson while practising it. He should probably try Giggs’s version.
The Welsh rugby union team: team hot yoga
“Fight fire with fire,” said none of the Welsh rugby team after discovering the New Zealand team practised hot yoga. Still they thought they’d give it a whirl and hot yoga became a pre-match routine for some players during the World Cup in September 2011. It was a good idea in practice – Wales narrowly lost in the semis; New Zealand won the tournament.