Former Third Baseman Now Patrols Hot Corner Yoga
Manning the hot corner here for the Canadian Olympic softball team that competed at the 2008 Beijing Games, Erin McLean wasn't exactly assuming a yoga pose.
But that soon changed after the Olympics.
McLean, starting third baseman for the Canadian team at the Games, tore an ACL in her knee for the third time while playing indoor soccer after competing at the Beijing Games.
It was recommended that she try yoga as part of her rehabilitation. Her mother Danielle, who lost her fight to cancer just three weeks after the Olympics, had been a big fan of yoga but her daughter had never tried it.
Once she did, McLean was hooked.
"It was the one outlet that helped calm me down, gave me that whole balance," she said. "I realized right away how beneficial that could be for athletes, because it wasn't something I did competing at that level."
The 25-year-old from Whitby doesn't seem the type to do anything by half measure. She quickly advanced from yoga practitioner to yoga instructor after taking a 10-month course and now holds classes in the Durham Region. The third baseman (also pictured on the mat) aptly named her business Hot Corner Yoga.
"My bread and butter is more for the people who think 'Oh, I don't want to miss a workout but I still want to go to yoga,'" said McLean. "I tend to have a class where I promise that you're going to sweat a little bit, you're going to leave feeling relaxed, but that you definitely participated in a workout."
She's also been working with some softball teams and is getting an increasing demand from hockey players.
"I think we've seen in the last year more and more professional athletes coming out and talking about their own yoga practices – LeBron James and a number of the Blue Jays and golfers," she said. "A number of hockey teams in the area have been interested in me coming out and working with their junior players. It's young guys trying to get drafted, trying to offset their weight training and speed work."
McLean believes yoga has a lot to offer an athlete.
"It does touch on a lot of things in sport in terms of living in the moment or being in the moment and calming your mind in stressful situations and then also the physical benefits of being more flexible and hopefully preventing injuries more."
For McLean, it's also been a special link to her Mom.
"It's been nice to know that it's something she really loved."