Yoga Is U-M Men’s Rowing Team Secret Weapon In National Championship Win

 Coach credits yoga conditioning at Ann Arbor School of Yoga with fine-tuning team performance

ANN ARBOR, Mich., June 10, 2009 – The University of Michigan Men’s Rowing Team dominated the recent American Collegiate Rowing Association (ACRA) National Championships in Oak Ridge, TN. The club won all four men’s heavyweight eights events and took a bronze medal in the varsity lightweight 8+ on its way to winning the Men’s team championship.

Associate Head Coach Charley Sullivan cites an exceptionally helpful new training tool: yoga studies with Ann Arbor School of Yoga Director Laurie Blakeney. Team members requested the new conditioning, Sullivan said.

 “Working with these dedicated young athletes was a pleasure.  They are bright and committed, and appreciated the depth yoga training added to their mind/body awareness,” Blakeney said.

The team practiced Iyengar yoga asanas or poses with Blakeney for eight weeks in the early morning to prepare for the national competition.  The workouts focused on strength, flexibility and balance.  Iyengar Yoga is based on the teachings of Shri B.K.S. Iyengar, the revered living yoga master.  Before they began yoga classes at AASY, Coach Sullivan had already began teaching the team yoga based on his own training as one of Blakeney’s students.

 “On a very basic level, it helped rowers increase flexibility and control, particularly at the extremes of range of motion where the boat is most tippy and most unstable. It allowed them to understand better the connection of their bodies,” Sullivan said.

Laurie’s such a good teacher, helping people realize that certain things are connected internally (lifted support) and externally (bracing support.) – body awareness around balance and core strength.”

 AASY is one of the Great Lakes region’s longest-running yoga venues. Its spacious, light-filled studio and study center in downtown Ann Arbor offers a full schedule of yoga classes and cultural events.

 Free 90-minute trial classes are offered regularly.  For trial class dates and the complete class schedule, please visit

 Members of the media are cordially invited to attend a sample class or view the studio at their convenience.  Please contact Laurie Blakeney, 734-663-7612, or email to arrange a visit.

 About Ann Arbor School of Yoga

AASY welcomes serious as well as recreational students for the practice and study of Yoga.  AASY is one of the Great Lakes region’s longest-running yoga venues.  Director Laurie Blakeney, a personal student of BKS Iyengar, holds one of the few Advanced Teaching Certificates conferred directly by the renowned yoga master.

 She brings a uniquely personal and direct style of teaching to her students. She focuses equally on strength, flexibility, stamina and balance with an emphasis on correct alignment. Iyengar Yoga is based on the teachings of Shri B.K.S. Iyengar, the revered living yoga master.  His writings (including Light on Yoga, Light on Pranayama and Light on Life) have popularized yoga throughout the world.