It'll help improve blood flow/circulation, relax the team so they'll go in clear and focused, stretch in order to prevent injury (which is critical after plane trips and multiple games in a short span). I think it's tunnel vision that doesn't accept that many forms of training that compliment each other is likely a very well rounded approach for athletes.
No, it's not tunnel vision Deb.
It's science. The fact that so many people here don't actually have an idea about the science of strength and conditioning just shows me that our society can be influenced by so many 'fad' or 'marketing driven' ideas about what is best.
Yes, Yoga CAN have a place. I actually said in my original post that I would be disappointed if they are using it as a regular training tool. Not that it should never have a place. However, that place NEEDS to be miniscule.
Here's the issue. NHL hockey is a multi-million (billion?) dollar industry. These athletes, much like Olympians, need to be training in a way that optimizes their bodies to perform at the highest level. This is a completely different world than regular, everyday athletes or just people in general. These athletes will have their schedules so incredibly in depth it will seem like OCD. They have to periodize. Periodize in their off season, in season, post season, and even in recovery when they get injured. The last thing Roger Takahashi or any knowledgeable Strength Coach would want is for them to be taking up PRIORITY training time with things that go against their sport (Or business, from an Owners perspective).
Yoga does not develop power or speed (kind of essential in the NHL).
Yoga does not develop the energy systems required to participate in Hockey. The ATP-PCr system and Glycolytic systems I would say are the most important for this sport, with Oxidative Phosphorylation (probably the only thing Yoga would help) useful in their recovery. But even then, hockey players train the Oxidative Phosphorylation system anyways with all the other training they do.
Yoga would actually cause muscle fibre characteristics to develop OPPOSITE what is required for hockey. I can't for the life of me think why developing slow twitch muscle fibres would create an elite hockey player...
Yoga CAN aid as a recovery technique, and maybe core work. But here's the issue. An elite athlete who is periodizing EVERYTHING, can't really afford to add more into their routine without the risk of overtraining. The thing is, the benefits an athlete can get from an entire Yoga session, they can get in a 10-15 minute mobility warmup or during their strength training sessions anyways.
The fact that some people try Yoga and think it's tough or a good work out does NOT translate to the fact that it is appropriate for NHL hockey training. Also, I'm sorry but there is no way I will take into consideration the opinions of a Blog or a News Article as to why Yoga is beneficial for hockey players. If it corresponds to what science has proven, then sure. Find me some peer reviewed articles (scientific literature) that PROVES Yoga is great, and then I'll consider it. But from what science tells us for those of us that ARE educated Kinesiologists, Exercise Physiologists, or Certified Strength and Conditioning Coaches, everything that Yoga provides almost goes against how a Hockey Player should be training. Again, I'll say it may have it's place here and there. But hockey is a dynamic, extremely fast paced sport and Yoga is essentially opposite from that.
The physiological benefits from Yoga are essentially the exact same as a well developed strength and conditioning plan that these guys are on. So why change it. And why add it in when these guys are already walking such a fine line between optimal training and overtraining? A hot yoga session and the amount of time it will take to recover from that will do nothing but impair subsequent training sessions. Sorry, but if I'm an NHL owner with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake, I want my athletes doing what is proven and most beneficial to them succeeding.
This has turned into a Yoga debate. But strength and conditioning is something I am passionate about. When Sport Coaches or High School teachers get athletes to do stupid things that completely contraindicate what they should be doing (long duration runs, yoga, sit ups, 2 hours of sprints, etc) I get really annoyed.
Leave the training tips to those that are qualified and actually know what is going on with the human body.