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Yoga keeps Harper, Brown focused, flexible

By Joel Jellison

Walk into the right spot on the Kansas State campus, and you might spot Chris Harper and Arthur Brown striking a pose.

From the Downward-Facing Dog to the Happy Baby Pose to Extended Puppy Pose to both Brown and Harper’s favorite move, Balasana — also known as the Child’s Pose.

Both the K-State senior football players say there are benefits to taking the classes.

“It’s about flexibility and having the opportunity to take some time and really focus, which we as football players don’t really get the time to really just focus on our tense areas, our areas where we need to be more loose and more flexible,” Harper said. “I definitely think it will help throughout the season.”

Both Harper and Brown have graduated and are taking the yoga classes to remain eligible for their final year of football, but it’s not their first foray into the discipline.

Brown said he started yoga in high school, and has done a few classes during his time in college. Harper started two years ago, but was so reluctant to start another class, he took a year off.

He said he is feeling some benefits in taking the second course.

“I just needed to take it, I’m not flexible really at all, and I think I needed it,” he said. “The first class, I didn’t like it though. It was Pilates yoga and I was hurting after it in my abs and stuff. I just decided to take a traditional yoga class and it’s better so far, I don’t even know what we’ve been doing, it’s some crazy stuff, but I feel better after I took it.”

Harper and Brown are currently in the same class, joining Tramaine Thompson. Harper said his previous class had former K-Staters Carson Coffman, Aubrey Quarles and Samuel Lamur. To his knowledge, Travis Tannahill has also taken up yoga.

While Yoga might just seem an easy class for guys like Harper and Brown to take in their final year of college, it’s more about improving flexibility and focus for the seniors. You think yoga is strange, just ask Harper about the weirdest class he has taken in college — formal logic.

“Formal logic is the hardest class on campus, I don’t care what anybody says,” he said. “It’s like basic stuff put into math problems, like if you eat at Cold Stone, you can’t eat at Dairy Queen, so you’ve got to make a math problem and form that up. The professor got his degree in it, so I take it he’s really smart, I would never take that class ever again.”

The Wichita products’ favorite pose, known as the Child’s Pose, is a simple one. Yoga websites consider it to be a restful forward bend, that involves kneeling on the floor, touching the big toes together, sitting on the heels and separating the knees to the width of the hips.

Participants then exhale and lay the torso down between the thighs, and lay the hands alongside the torso, palms up.

Harper’s description of it, is much more simple.

“You just lay on the ground and go to sleep,” he said. “That’s probably my favorite.”

The discipline of yoga has become more popular in football over the past few years, as NFL players like Tom Brady, Tony Romo and LaDainian Tomlinson all speak highly about it’s benefits. Guys throughout professional football player have found the benefits of stretching and relaxation, and it’s something Harper and Brown have sought as well.

Yoga hasn’t always been the relaxing class for Harper, though, who came away from his class failing to achieve the one thing he was hoping for — the ability to sit Indian style.

While that might sound strange at first, the self-admitted, flexibility-challenged wide receiver said it’s something he simply can’t do, and thought yoga might help him with.

Harper said it all comes back to a concern for health of his groin muscles.

“The first time I took it, I was upset because I can’t sit Indian style on the ground, and I took it and told the teacher that’s what I was trying to do, and I still couldn’t do it after the class — I didn’t feel any better,” he said. “I took a regular yoga class so I can try to sit Indian style, because the groin area is vital for receivers. If I can sit Indian style I think that would be big.”

Harper said the groin area is important to making cuts, getting out of turns, and reacting faster. He’s injured the groin twice in the past, and believes Indians style stretching could be a key to avoiding future injuries.

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