Tennishead magazine brings you the very best tennis articles, interviews with the great players, tennis gear and racket reviews, tennis coaching tips plus much more

Ommm… my God! How yoga can help your tennis


Originally published on: 26/02/10 16:35

Who’s doing it then?
Andy Murray can’t get enough of hot yoga apparently, Ana Ivanovic is forever rolling out her yoga mat and Maria Sharapova is another convert. Read more about exactly why.

What are the benefits of yoga?
Appears to be a no brainer for tennis players gurus say it will improve core strength, stamina, balance and flexibility, all important to tennis players. Some say it will also help the less mentally-secure among us to silence ‘inner chatter’ through controlled breathing.

Can you use it to help with specific injuries?
Helps strengthen joints. In 2005 American yoga teacher Anastasia Dorohova released a DVD specifically to tackle problematic joints: ‘Yoga for Tennis Elbow & Bad Knees’, which is still available on

How many different types are there?
Loads, but don’t get your all-in-one in a twist. They’re all based on the same postures or poses, each with a different emphasis. Scroll down for a closer look at some of the basics.

Which should I go for?
Any form of yoga is going to help who couldn’t use more strength, stamina, balance and flexibility in their game? Some experts say tennis players would specifically benefit from classes that keep you moving through ?owing poses such as those used in Ashtanga.

Designed by self-made multi-millionaire Bikram Choudhury. Each 90-minute session takes place in temperatures of 42C or 107F at a humidity of 50 per cent, conditions which are said to ‘ease muscles and joints, prevent injury and aid the healing of existing injuries, as well as promoting detoxification through sweating’. Bikram features 26 postures and two breathing exercises which are performed in a set order. Bikram says: “The roots of your hair and fingernails will feel it, your teeth, your eyes, your face, All.” Crikey.
Celebrity Bikrams: Elle Macpherson, George Clooney, Daniel Craig, Peter Mandelson, Goldie Hawn, Barbra Streisand, Raquel Welch, Julia Roberts.

Usually a combination of many of the physical types of yoga and a good introduction to many of the basic poses. Usually fairly slow paced and gentle, a good place to start for beginners.
Celebrity Hatha: US actress Andie McDowell.

Based on the teachings of BKS Iyengar, this is all about holding poses rather than flow (moving quickly from one pose to the next). Involves props such as blankets, blocks and straps to help bring the body into alignment.
Celebrity Iyengar: Manchester United star Ryan Giggs.

This form concentrates on movement from the spine, with the emphasis on well-being rather than fitness.
Celebrity Scaravellis: Penny Smith, Joanna Lumley.

Ashtanga (also known as Power Yoga)
Fast and intense, this features a set series of poses always in the same order. This is made harder because of the intense ‘flow’ of the classes constant movement from one pose to the next.
Celebrity Ashtangas: Madonna, Geri Halliwell, Sting, Gwyneth Paltrow.

Web Links

Stretching a point


Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.