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Ethier, DodgersWin host yoga session

Ethier, DodgersWin host yoga session

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LOS ANGELES -- At 11 a.m. PT on most game days, Andre Ethier is at home enjoying a peaceful breakfast. Later, it's off to the ballpark to get ready for another game.

On Saturday morning at Dodger Stadium, Ethier had to move up his schedule a little earlier. Ethier and DodgersWin hosted a one-hour yoga session in left field.

Ethier's personal yoga instructor, Johanna Epps, led the event and instructed the 100 participants through the flow-style yoga routine Ethier does during the offseason.

"It was a great time," Ethier said. "It's nice to see that people are interested in coming out and enjoying a nice event like this on a Saturday. I guess they weathered the heat and got a chance to experience a little yoga and a little side of what I do in the offseason."

All the participants were given a Dodgers yoga mat to use in the outfield, and many of the predominantly female audience were clad in team apparel.

Adding to the peaceful atmosphere was an assortment of melodic tunes and encouraging instructions from Epps.

But as the outfield setting suggests, this wasn't your ordinary yoga class.

Amid the variety of poses there was the occasional person standing up to take a picture of Ethier, and the outfielder himself strolling throughout the crowd to chat with different guests.

After the event, Ethier took questions from the crowd.

Among the things they learned were his favorite stretch (the Pigeon Pose), and that he wasn't always a yoga enthusiast.

Ethier said that because his muscles run on the tense side, yoga presented a bit of a challenge. But he eventually loosened up and began to notice the benefits associated with a normal yoga routine.

"I hated stretching before, that was a big problem I had," Ethier said. "Now I still don't like it as much, but I can put up with it a little bit more. I've noticed just an increase in range of motion and maybe even strength in certain areas."

During the offseason, Ethier attends a yoga class run by Epps at Athletes Perfomance in Phoenix, Ariz., once a week. Then in the season, Ethier incorporates some of the stretches he's learned into his daily routine.

Ethier said that teammates Russell Martin, James Loney and Juan Pierre also go through a couple of yoga stretches as they prepare for games.

Epps said Ethier has been a good yoga student and that she enjoys having athletes in her classes.

"One of the great things about teaching athletes is that they have a lot of body awareness, so it's easy to instruct them through things," she said. "They also want to be the best at what they do and they recognize when they feel something in their body like, 'Oh, I really do need to do this.' So they really do try harder."

David Ely is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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