KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Chiefs defensive tackle Dontari Poe won’t be the first person to come to mind when thinking of yoga practitioners.
But the 6-3, 346-pound Poe, who underwent back surgery to fix a herniated disk in July 2015, decided to incorporate yoga to his offseason.
That proved a good idea when considering he needed to fully recover from a 2015 campaign where he totaled 806 snaps, which led all Chiefs defensive linemen.
“The first five weeks after the season, I did no workouts,” Poe said. “I did nothing but chiropractor, stretching and yoga – as funny as that may sound – but it worked.”
Poe, who worked out in Phoenix during the offseason, said he decided to try yoga – a spiritual exercise that includes meditation, breath control and body posture – after a training partner recommended it.
“The guy I work out with in Phoenix, he’s a boxer and he does yoga,” Poe said. “He said it helped him out.”
Convincing Poe on the idea apparently didn’t prove difficult.
“It wasn’t too hard when somebody said it would help me feel good,” Poe said. “That’s all they pretty much had to tell me and I tried it out for a couple of days and it helped release the pressure. So, after that, it was nonstop.”
Poe isn’t the only Chiefs player to practice yoga, as wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and cornerback Marcus Peters also incorporate the exercises.
Peters said he takes classes with everyday people and he incorporates swimming and workout routines with yoga.
“It’s relaxing,” Peters said. “It helps you relax your brain, it helps you simmer down all those things that you got going on during the offseason and helps you bring your body back to reality.”
“I do a little bit of it,” Maclin said. “I’m not very flexible, but I try to do a little bit of it.”
So, can Maclin visualize his hulking defensive tackle teammate working out with other yoga practitioners?
“No, I cannot,” Maclin said with a chuckle. “But I’m telling you right now, if anybody could do it, he probably could, the way he’s built.”
Poe isn’t what many would expect to find in a yoga session, but he is very athletic for his size and even scored a rushing touchdown in 2015.
While the fifth-year pro may not perform every yoga exercise like an expert, he can certainly relish the experience.
“I’m in a room with yogees, man,” Poe said. “They’re small; they’re doing the stretches with no problem. I’m pretty much trying to fake like it’s no problem. It’s all fun.”