Since his decision to speak publicly about a midgame panic attack in 2017, Cleveland Cavaliers star Kevin Love has become an advocate for mental health and erasing the stigma around it, especially in sports. When it comes to his own mental health, Love has said he makes sure to check in with himself every morning, pay attention to his breath, and get good sleep. In a new video with Nike Training Club, Love revealed another one of his strategies for mental and physical self-care: yoga.
For Love, yoga is a "a great way to check in, head to toe . . . all the way through your mind and your body," he says. "I already meditate as it is, but yoga is such an advanced way to help you focus on your breath and just get out of your head a little bit." He describes his practice, on a mental level, as a way to turn his gaze inward and see how he's doing. "When it comes to mental health, you can't heal something unless you reveal it, unless you accept it, unless you come to terms with it," Love explains.
Love also talks about why he started doing yoga in the first place and the "serendipitous" way it came into his life. "I came off of my rookie season knowing that I was too heavy," he explains. "I needed more flexibility in my everyday life, let alone my basketball game." He thought yoga would help him step up his game as he faced off against "a lot of the best power forwards and centres of all time."
"I wanted to find something else that could supplement what I was doing and create longevity for me, long-term," Love said. And the beauty of yoga, he explained, was that it was a practice and a "form of meditation" that he could do anywhere, even on the plane or in his hotel room. The NBA season is "such a grind, maybe 82 games plus," he said. "Things are coming at you so fast." For Love, yoga helped him focus even more "when the time comes to either make a big play, make a tough decision, or step up in that fourth quarter."
Yoga has been shown to affect mental health in a noticeable way, so Love's experience with it makes perfect sense — and will hopefully encourage others to try out this stress-relieving practice in a time when all of us are dealing with uncertainty and anxiety. Watch the full video above for more on Love's yoga practice and to see him flowing through some key poses, including Half-Splits, Standing Forward Fold, and Warrior 2.