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Last year, Red Bull published a revealing article – listed further down this post – that offered a sneak peek into the intersection of mindfulness and esports. The rise of esports in recent years has led to an influx of investment and interest from around the world, but little of the high-octane, virtual action brings to mind the world of yoga and mindfulness.

From a physical standpoint, it’s clear that yoga would benefit esports gamers. One study from Limelight Network back in 2019 found that, on average, gamers spent over seven hours per week gaming. But esports athletes aren’t the first to turn to yoga after spending hours focused on a screen – poker pros have ample insight into the absurdly long sessions esports players put in. 

With only five minutes every hour to get up and stretch between games, poker pros have optimized the five-minute yoga filler routine for tournament play. According to PokerStars, basic stretches like the seated twist and the pigeon help keep the spine healthy and the hips mobile.

Others, like the legs up the wall inversion, encourage internal organs and muscles to relax. But it seems that esports pros are utilizing yoga for more than aligning their spines. They’re relying on this ancient practice to help prime their minds for battle arenas and the stress of making split-second decisions in tournaments.

In the case of Goliath Gaming, a South Africa-based Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team, coaches have hired a yoga instructor to spearhead wellness on the team. Instructor Brendon Hill’s focus is twofold: keep gamers calm and boost their mental capacities.

Keep Calm & Breathe On

Back in 2017, two of the world’s most prestigious Street Fighter pros drew attention at the Red Bull Battlegrounds. Prior to playing the regional finals, Daigo Umehara and Hajime ‘Tokido’ Taniguchi apparently sat on the ground and centered their breath. They did this amid pumping music and a bustling, impatient crowd. 

It turns out that Daigo learned yogic breathing exercises from his father, a martial artist. By focusing on the breath, Daigo and Tokido were able to keep their minds and bodies relaxed. In re-centering the breath, a subject can physiologically ‘reset’ themselves.

This is incredibly important in stressful situations, in which …….


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