How yoga makes Danica Patrick a better NASCAR driver – For The Win
It’s well-documented that Danica Patrick is a yoga master, and her many skills are the result of practicing for years.
To stay healthy and in shape for racing, she does a variety of cardio and weight training, and yoga remains an important part of her regimen. But does it actually help the 35-year-old NASCAR driver on the race track in the No. 10 Ford?
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“The most common (thing it helps with) is breathing and recognizing how the breath controls everything, and so if you get nervous or anxious or gripping the wheel too tight, it’s pretty automatic for me to just take deep breaths to calm down,” Patrick told For The Win.
“On another level, I think that when you bend, you don’t break. So I think it’s just good for someone doing sports to have flexibility because it’s inevitable that at some point you’re going to bend pretty far.”
That’s especially true for high-impact wrecks common in NASCAR, and Sunday during the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway — one of the sport’s shortest tracks at .53 miles — the cars are likely to get pretty banged up.
Patrick — who’s currently 29th in the driver standings through the first seven races — said her favorite yoga pose to experiment with is the handstand, which she first conquered a couple years ago after four months of intensely practicing it. And now she’s really good.
Go out and be a warrior, everyday. Decide that for yourself…At the end of the day the only way it’s going to happen, is if you do! 2nd @warriorbydanica collection comes out next Tuesday the 25th! And it’s so good🔥!
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She regularly incorporates handstands into her routines and said toward the end of her workout Thursday, she did eight rounds of 25-foot handstand walks. 200 total feet. On her hands.
The Stewart-Haas Racing driver described the feeling after a successfully held handstand “a mood lifter.” But she also admitted it’s just cool because not everyone can do it.
From a mental perspective, Patrick explained how practicing yoga helps her remain patient through the ups and downs of racing. Her best 2017 race finish so far is 17th in the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
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She also joked that maybe she’s more friendly during the race weekends that follow a week of several yoga sessions.
“The practice of doing yoga is about being mindful and about allowing what your body will give you and accepting what your body will give you,” Patrick said. “Some days, it’s there, and some days, it’s not. Some days you balance like a guru, and then other days, you just don’t so it (helps with) accepting as well.”