Traditionally, yoga has called to mind long-haired, flower-powered peaceniks oming their way to nirvana. Try telling that to the disciples of power yoga, the souped-up aerobic version of the Eastern regimen that has knocked off Tae Bo as the exercise fad of the moment. "I imagine there will be a few guys in the whirlpool tomorrow," said Cubs first baseman Matt Stairs after he and his teammates underwent their first power yoga session this spring. "I might see stomach muscles I haven't seen in 10 years."
The Cubs were introduced to yoga after manager Don Baylor invited fitness guru Mack Newton to lead them in daily yoga workouts. Other converts include Coyotes goalie Sean Burke (page 78) and NBAers Brian Grant, Larry Johnson and David Robinson. "After an hour you're in a downpour sweat," says Grant. "You're focused on areas of the body that need to get loosened up."
What's the appeal? Athletes say power yoga helps them both mentally and physically. "It cuts down the risk of getting injured," says Titans running back Eddie George. "If I'm put in an awkward position, my muscles have already experienced that stretch before." Not to mention all that flower power.