A Guide for Yoga Therapists, Yoga Teachers, Bodyworkers, Athletes and Coaches

Applied Yoga Science for Contemporary Athletes

Many sports people are interested in trying yoga techniques in the hope of improved flexibility, strength, breathing and concentration, but many can be prevented from optimal results due to a lack of understanding on the part of yoga teachers of the specific physical requirements of their sport.

This is a manual for professionals who work with athletes of all disciplines and shows them how to adapt yoga practice for swimmers, cyclists, runners, tennis players and more. This bridge between evidence-based modern sports medicine and the ancient practices of yoga, provides solid training guidance as well as offering psychological wisdom to help control and refine the actions of the mind.

Essential reading for yoga therapists and teachers, athletic coaches and bodywork professionals who work with athletes.

“I have worked on both the therapeutic needs of an average person and an elite sportsperson. Over the years I have applied my yoga knowledge to surfing and running which are my main sports. I have also learned much by working with top level professional cricketers. Through this process I found that I have a unique skill set that bridges the gap between traditional yoga and modern sport, encouraging a healthy dialogue between the disciplines.

A lot of people are taking up yoga to complement sports and professional sportspeople are starting to understand the benefits of incorporating yoga into their training. I believe this book will help yoga teachers and sportspeople to use yoga most effectively and enjoy the benefits of yoga in various sporting codes.

These days a lot of people are doing both yoga and other activities, and those of us that do practice both sports and yoga have no doubt about how helpful it is to our sports.

The benefits of yoga for athletes are endless. Yoga keeps us young, helps us recover quickly from injury, and trains us to dial in to positive mental states.”

Jim Harrington


“…this enjoyable to read book is about helping those who teach yoga to maximise the performance of sports people using the best of both ancient (yoga) and modern (biomechanics/anatomy) knowledge.

It shows the interconnectedness of fascia, alignment, psychology, injuries, optimising breathing and more, all the while using anecdotes that keep your attention, and teach the nuances.

Make no mistake, you need to do the work to understand it. The author, with more than 30 years of yoga experience, stresses that a knowledge of the body’s systems is vital for therapists working with athletes, wether they’re a massage therapist or yoga teachers.

However, if you are just a yoga dabbler like me, you’ll still get value and inspiration by reading it, and in surprisingly more areas than you’d think. The final chapter reveals 11 yoga poses (with B&W photos) that benefit runners most

As a coach, Jim faces Eric Orton-like yoga bias regularly. But with true eclectic spirit, he doesn’t seem to push back, but incorporates ideas from Born to Run into his teaching.”


For coaches and runners who want the benefits of yoga, this book is their Born to Yoga.

Deon Braun – Trail Magazine Editor

“It has been such a pleasure to read and now review ‘Yoga for Sports Performance: A Guide for Yoga Therapists and Bodyworkers’ by Jim Harrington.

I have followed Jims work for some time now and so I can testify that he is not just a brilliant writer and an inspirational teacher but he is also an incredible person who speaks with the authority of personal teaching experience and the adventures of life over many decades.

I really respect that Jim has taken the time to research everything he is sharing his book. Nearly all his work is backed by published evidence from modern medical scientific literature and/or old indian texts. As the title of Chapter 1 of his book suggests, this work is truly a place where East meets West.”

I would highly recommend this book to anyone teaching activities involving posture, movement, breathing and/or mental control.

Simon Borg-Olivier – MSc BAppSc (Physiotherapy) APAM
C-IAYT, Course Coordinator/Lecturer, Masters of Wellness Degree RMIT University, Director, Yoga Synergy

“When I moved to Cape Town from India, I had already been practicing and teaching yoga long enough to have been questioning the movement, and felt Westerners were sharing it with a lot of ignorance. As I became part of the yoga community in Cape Town, I used to hear about this Jim Harrington oke a lot, as if he was the bomb, and that just fed my skeptism. When I Googled him and saw his flawless advanced yoga poses, I rolled my eyes and thought pfft, just another Instagram yogi.

But I wanted to do more yoga training and eventually ended up at Jim’s ‘Alignment Redefined’ programme after not finding anything else more interesting. When I met the man, boy, was I wrong. Jim is most humble, beautiful (inside and out) and authentic, as well as funny, knowledgeable and wise. That programme changed my approach to yoga completely and helped me to let go of what yoga is supposed to look like, and instead explore how my body wants to go into positions. Many years later, the man finally put his work and solid teachings into a book, and I was honoured when asked to review it.

As a rock climber, the first thing I did when I opened the book was look for rock climbing specific content. I was disappointed when I didn’t find any, but soon discovered that it did not matter, because you can apply all the principles of the book to rock climbing. The book talks to yoga teachers and body therapists who can use the content with their students and clients, although in my opinion, the book is for anyone interested in learning about human anatomy, physiology, and sports performance. Yoga can complement any type of sport and this book is a great guide in terms of that. The book has an ‘Alignment Redefined’ theme and includes a huge chapter on it. As you progress in rock climbing, your movements need to become more specific, therefore redefining and exploring your own body’s alignment is very important. I am very impressed with how Jim explains many complicated processes in the body in such a simple fashion and wish he’d been my university lecturer when I studied Human Biology. In the book, he describes six different types of stretches, includes a bit of sport history, a chapter on understanding sports injuries and how we heal from them, breathing techniques, and even puts together a yoga programme for you. There is also a chapter on functional anatomy lines, functional movement, as well as psychology and mental training. Lastly, the book is firmly grounded in evidence and scientific research and packed with information, and not an airy-fairy yoga book with pretty pictures of Jim (like I had hoped for).”

An excerpt from the book: ‘Yoga doesn’t have to be beautiful, it should feel beautiful on the inside because it is balanced and poised.’ And this is how rock climbing should feel. Improve your movement on rock, get Yoga for Sports Performance.

Alta Laurette – SA Mountain Magazine 

“This book will help athletes start to understand and implement a safe, basic yoga practice. Coaches can use the book to construct an entry point yoga practice for their athletes. Yoga teachers wanting to specialise in yoga for sport can use this book as a basis for their teaching practice.
It’s also a textbook for the Yoga for Sport courses I run.

Jim Harrington

As a competitive age group triathlete, I always struggled with my running. Working with and learning from Jim was the best move I made - he taught me everything I didn't know about breathing, form & posture to improve not only my running, but swimming & cycling as well. To this day I still do my cat/cow moves on longer bike rides amongst many other tricks Jim taught me.

Britt Hyland, Swim & Triathlon Coach, K8 Sport & Lifestyle Coaching

Jim translates his profound knowledge of yoga into its practical, easily digestible, and very relevant application for sport performance... the book will take you and your game on a wonderful journey.

Paddy Upton, Author, Coach and Speaker

I loved the book and the insight into yoga and sport. Being a professional big wave surfer and yoga practitioner, what interests me the most is the breath work and how that can help with lung capacity and training for big wave surfing. The chapter on breathing and breath work was the most interesting to me and it has some great examples to work with. People often ask me about yoga and surfing and I am so glad that I can now recommend Jim's book to them.

Frank Solomon, Professional Surfer

Copyright Yoga for Sports 2021