I never thought I'd ever really do yoga. I went to one class once in college, and they turned the heat up so high that I thought I was going to puke sweat before it was over. I sweat when it's hot, and turning up the heat just to make stretching better has absolutely no appeal to me.
Besides, after years of training my body to be powerful and strong for football, after squatting and bench pressing hundreds of pounds at a time, the whole thing seemed a little lightweight for me.
Fast forward a few years...
I'm out of shape, not as strong anymore, and still fairly inflexible thanks to years of plyometrics, bench presses and power cleans. After loading up so much strength and weight onto my arms and shoulders, my back hurts every morning when I wake up, and many nights as I go to sleep. My posture is bad, and my middle back only stops hurting when I distract myself with something else.
My friend Ed (another former lineman) told me how his back had been feeling so much better thanks to the yoga practice he had been doing. So I finally tried it for real, 5 days a week for the past 2 weeks, and my back is sore but feeling better. Sore from stretching and strengthening, not sore from bad posture and disproportional weight. I still wake up stiff every morning, but after 45 minutes of my usual dvd routine and some additional stretching, my back feels elongated and relaxed.
Not to mention the fact that Baron Baptiste's Power Yoga is no fucking joke. It's as good a workout as I ever got in college during those hellish "speed school" sprinting, agility and plyometric workouts. My arms feel about as tired after my routine as they did on any normal lifting day, but since I'm not power lifting they're not bulking up any more than they already are.
So I guess if there are any ex-football players out there who have endured the pretty normal fattening, stiffening, and painful transition from working out 6 days a week to 0 days a week, give it a shot. It's not a miracle cure. My back still hurts, but it certainly feels better and so does the rest of my body.