Yoga Teacher Dana Kraft and the Golden State Warriors
While many of us may track the progress of the Golden State Warriors on the court, Yoga Teacher Dana Kraft also tracks the players’ process on the yoga mat. Dana teaches yoga to members of the Golden State Warriors. She moved out to California from New York to work with the team in the Summer of 2015. Dana got the gig because the was recommended by colleagues. In the hiring process, she dug in and studied the team roster to make suggestions for practices that addressed each player individually and as a group.
Dana currently lives, teaches, and leads yoga teacher training programs in Los Angeles. In addition, she travels to the Warriors home of Oakland (depending on the team’s schedule) throughout the Summer, Fall, and Winter. Dana is one of the few women in the training facility. She combines her background in education with an intensive study of anatomy and a willingness to meet the players on their own court. Dana was a high school teacher before she made the full-time commitment to yoga.
After all, training elite athletes gives new meaning to thinking outside the box—well, the mat. Dana frequently reaches into her own playbook to modify poses since the basketball players are taller than the average yogi and many of them may be sporting injuries.
Athletes and Yoga with Yoga Teacher Dana Kraft
Some of the players were a bit shy about taking up the practice, while others were eager to roll out a mat. Yet Dana comments on the fantastic growth in the players’ practice. In sessions, she develops something specific for each student. “It’s not just vinyasa or power flow,” she says. When she was working with a player with an ankle injury, she led a sequence completely on the floor. Dana frequently incorporates creative sequencing and that relies on props such as Yoga Tune Up balls.
Dana Kraft training Golden State Warriors Player Festus Ezeli
Training the Warriors has Affected Dana’s Practice.
Yoga teacher Dana Kraft says she has experienced a level of humility working with elite athletes. She comments on the physical and workout demands of their job is to work out. They also deal with the pressure of constantly moving from trainer to coach to court. In addition, pro athletes are constantly being watched, scouted, or even traded.
Dana notes her students’ ability to have the heightened awareness and physical proprioception needed to compete at that level and to be an advanced practitioner of yoga. As a result, she says, “The ability to have awareness and proprioception has become my advanced practice.”
For more information about Dana Kraft, visit www.danakraftyoga.com