Yoga has become a big part of sport in recent years. DW’s Jonathan Harding spent an afternoon in Munich with Germany’s yoga coach to find out why and how discipline is so important.
In every major tournament since 2006, Broome has been a member of Germany’s staff. Yoga for the national team is voluntary. According to Broome, there’s a group that are ok with it, one that enjoys it and three players that don’t do it out of principle. Mario Gotze, Marco Reus, Mats Hummels and Per Mertesacker are apparently keen volunteers. Mertesacker has hailed yoga as the key to him extending his career, while Gotze came to Broome before the World Cup final to do a 10-minute session. “I focused on short stretches, only 10-15 seconds so the muscles stayed ready,” says Broome. There’s no doubt they were ready, as Gotze’s winner proved.
“To my knowledge, I was the only yoga teacher working with a national team at the World Cup in Brazil,” Munich-based yoga teacher Patrick Broome said.
Broome is part of Germany’s backroom staff for major tournaments and puts their stars through a series of exercises to relax them physically and mentally.
Former Manchester United star Ryan Giggs, who was still playing at 40, says yoga helped extend his career.
Germany head coach Joachim Low is also a fan of the ancient indian discipline.
Now the likes of Germany’s Thomas Müller, Marco Reus and Mats Hummels are no strangers to yoga postures like “lotus”, “warrior” and “cobra”.
“We don’t just want to be top fit physically, but also in the head,” explained Low.
Broome has accompanied Germany to World Cups and European championships over the last decade.
He offers sessions to help the footballers “improve flexibility, concentration and performance on the field” which in turn helps keep them free of injury.
Broome will hold daily sessions of up to 45 minutes during Germany’s training camp in Switzerland, then at the Euro 2016 finals in France from June 10th-July 10th.
His sessions are not compulsory and only three of the squad regularly decline to take part.
“Good recovery after a game is essential for the players to maintain their level of performance,” says Broome, who is in his 40s and has been practising yoga for 20 years.
It was Low’s predecessor, California-based Jurgen Klinsmann, the coach from 2004 until the 2006 World Cup, who first invited Broome into the German camp.
Klinsmann saw the benefits of yoga while living on the west coast of the USA.
Low then took it a step further by adding Broome, who has worked with pop icons Madonna and Sting in his career, to his backroom staff for Euro 2008.
Broome, who has two yoga studios in Munich, says Low showed “courage” to add yoga sessions to Germany’s training sessions ten years ago.
At the players’ request, Broome accompanied Germany to the Euro 2012 finals in Poland and Ukraine.
Through breathing techniques and holding postures, Germany’s stars “can let off steam quickly” after a match, said Broome.
Broome, who is now a leading figure on Germany’s yoga scene, puts the players through a “stripped-down version” of yoga, shorn of incense sticks or other far eastern paraphernalia.