Liberty running back Kyle Ahrens trains with hot yoga

December 8, 2009

By Tim Pfarr

Liberty High School running back Kyle Ahrens strikes the warrior pose, a classic yoga position at Issaquah Hot Yoga. Although the temperature soars past 100 degrees in the studio, Ahrens keeps his focus. By Tim Pfarr

Liberty High School running back Kyle Ahrens strikes the warrior pose, a classic yoga position at Issaquah Hot Yoga. Although the temperature soars past 100 degrees in the studio, Ahrens keeps his focus. By Tim Pfarr

Hot yoga. It’s not just stretching in a comfortably warm room; it’s a grueling workout in scorching temperatures that climb past 100 degrees.

Before the 2008 football season, Liberty High School coaches encouraged their players to take up the activity, and about a dozen made the trip to Issaquah Hot Yoga to give it a try.

“I was like, ‘Wait, yoga?’” Liberty running back Kyle Ahrens recalled asking when head coach Steve Valach first suggested the activity.

“It was definitely a workout,” Ahrens said recalling his first trip to the studio. “We were definitely not expecting it to be as difficult as it was.”

Ahrens did yoga about once every two weeks during the football season and about once a month during the offseason.

“It’s a love/hate relationship with yoga,” he said. “The amount you sweat is ridiculous.”

As the 2009 season began, Ahrens continued to hit the yoga studio, increasing his flexibility and improving his football game.

“It definitely helps with flexibility,” he said, adding that it also increased his quickness.Between the 2008 and 2009 seasons, Ahrens’ offense yards more than tripled and his average yards per carry increased from 7.3 to 11.5. Ahrens also recorded a touchdown in the 2009 season.

Ahrens said yoga also helps him avoid injuries.

“It’s definitely helped, just with not pulling hamstrings and stuff like that,” he said. “It’s helped keep me healthy.”

Ahrens said his favorite yoga positions are the headstand and the crow, where he balances himself on his arms. He said he is also a fan of the corpse pose, where he gets to lay on the floor motionless. The corpse pose is performed at the end of each session.

“It means yoga session’s over and I can actually relax,” he said with a laugh.

Valach said the idea of having the players do hot yoga came from yoga instructor Bonnie Dike, whose son was a member of the Liberty football team during the 2008 season.

Valach agreed that hot yoga is quite a workout; he said he tried it in the past.

“It kicked my butt,” he said. “It was really hard. I couldn’t believe I sweated that much just stretching out.”

He also agrees that it is very helpful for the players.

“I think all of the stretching does a lot for the guys,” he said.

Tim Pfarr: 392-6434, ext. 227, or newcas@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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