More than 100 yogis participated in the first Spurs Yoga event at AT&T Center in April 2016. Credit: Courtesy / Eddie Cuevas

Have you ever wondered how it feels to stand on the shiny hardwood beneath the spotlights and retired Spurs jerseys at the AT&T Center?

You can find out for yourself this Sunday, Jan. 29 – in downward facing dog, no less.

This Sunday, Spurs Sports & Entertainment, in cooperation with Southtown Yoga Loft and Silver & Black Give Back (SBGB), will host Spurs Yoga 2017, a community event that will bring together local Spurs fans and yoga enthusiasts for a one-hour class on the court at AT&T Center as well as the Texas showdown against the Dallas Mavericks that night.

While yoga and NBA basketball would appear to have little in common, yoga classes have recently been making their way out of dedicated studio spaces and into more unconventional spots in the community, like the soccer pitch of Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo. And more and more NBA players are praising the benefits of the ancient practice.

The idea for Spurs Yoga was born in late 2015 when a friend of mine who worked for the team suggested I teach a yoga class on the pink San Antonio Stars court during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Southtown Yoga Loft partnered with Susan G. Komen and donated a portion of the ticket sales to breast cancer research.

Around 40 yogis participated in the Stars Yoga event at Freeman Coliseum September 2015.
Around 40 yogis participated in the Stars Yoga event at Freeman Coliseum in August 2015. Credit: Courtesy / Eddie Cuevas

In April 2016, the class moved to the Spurs court and the number of participants more than doubled.

The collaboration with SBGB was a no-brainer, not just because many of the organization’s core values align with the fundamental teachings of yoga.

For more than 25 years, SBGB has “focused on fostering young talent and enriching the community by encouraging local youth to become responsible adults and give back.” That mission ties in with yamas and niyamas – ethical guidelines to “living right” that many yoga lineages are founded on – teaching truthfulness, non-greed, self-discipline, and inner exploration, among other character traits. While many believe that yoga is a purely physical practice, it really is all about becoming the best person one can possibly be – inside and out.

The purpose of Sunday’s event, therefore, is to encourage people of all ages in our city  to live healthy lives, be mindful, get moving, and engage compassionately with those in their surroundings. That kind of lifestyle is most sustainable when it starts at a young age, which is why proceeds from Sunday’s events will benefit SBGB.

The Walzem Yogis practice backbends.
The Walzem Yogis practice backbends. Credit: Courtesy / Claire Hill

Special guests at Sunday’s yoga class will include the next generation of San Antonio’s leaders: The Walzem Yogis, 2016 semi-finalists in last year’s Team Up Challenge, practice yoga once a week after school.

“I started Walzem Yogis because I wanted my students to deal with everyday stress in a productive, healthy way,” said Claire Hill, a 2nd grade teacher at Walzem Elementary and yoga instructor at Southtown Yoga Loft. “I started with simple breathing exercises and yoga stretches, but the kids were so enthusiastic that we took it a step further. Now they are empowered to take their knowledge of yoga and share it with their families, classmates, and neighbors. My hope is that the peace they get from their yoga practice will create a ripple effect in our communities.”

Hemisfair, another Team Up Challenge grant recipient, has invited children from across the city to participate not only in Spurs Yoga, but also in its forthcoming Fit Fest on March 25. The organization has increased its programs focused on health and wellness and invested its Team Up funding in supplies for Yanaguana Garden’s Kid’s Corner.

Also joining in on the yoga fun Sunday will be Highland Hills Elementary, which hosts monthly “First Friday Family Fitness Nights” in partnership with its student ambassadors from the Mayor’s Fitness Council.

Registration for the yoga class opens at 11:30 a.m., and the class will take place from 12:30-1:30 p.m. Participants can purchase tickets for the class alone at the arena, or combine the class with discounted tickets for the Spurs game, which tips off at 6 p.m.

To purchase class + ticket options, click here. 

Hanna Oberhofer

Before moving to San Antonio in 2004, Hanna was a competitive rhythmic gymnast in her native Austria. She earned degrees from St. Mary’s University and the Texas State Graduate College before joining...