Level up: how yoga can help e-athletes stay fighting fit

Image: Michael Tseng

In our last blog, we explored how Hayley Winter, founder of The Institute of Yoga Sports Science® (YSS) was one of the early pioneers of teaching yoga online, and this week we’re carrying on the digital theme taking a look at the world of competitive online sports, or eSports and how yoga can help e-athletes stay sharp and focused.

Online gaming used to be the sole province of teenagers playing at home on their Nintendo’s, but since the 00’s has been steadily growing into highly lucrative tournaments where teams and players can earn significant amounts in prize money every year. With the grand finals of the British eSports Championships set to take place next year at the Birmingham NEC, and eSports set to feature at the 2022 Asian Games, eSports popularity is soaring.

Far from being a bunch of kids playing video games, eSports is now a over a $1bn industry with revenues reaching $700m in 2017 and predictions of $905.6 this year. With a global audience exceeding 400 million players, (yes, that’s right, 400 million!) it’s a massive industry and community. Teams of players compete in huge arenas such as Wembley SSE Arena and the O2 in front of massive crowds and there are lucrative sponsorship deals with high profile companies such as Coca-Cola and Youtube.

While some critics argue that watching teenagers play video games is not a ‘sport’, the big guns like Amazon (who bought online platform Twitch in 2014 for $950m) tell a different story. In the United States, colleges now have eSports Varsity teams and offer scholarships and in the UK, Staffordshire University in the UK is offering the fi