Yoga helping Suns guard Eric Bledsoe keep calm on the court

Posted at 1:41 PM, Jan 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-10 15:43:04-05

In the 2014-15 season, Suns guard Eric Bledsoe was called for 10 technical fouls and was ejected from two games. Only seven NBA players were called for more techs, and no one was ejected more than Bledsoe was.

Bledsoe missed most of last season with a knee injury, but he's been healthy this season and has put up some of the best numbers of his six-year NBA career.

He's also cut back on the technical fouls, as nearly halfway through the season, he has been called for just three techs and has yet to be ejected.

What's behind Bledsoe's newfound calmness on the court?

"It's all the yoga, man -- all the yoga I was doing this summer," he said Tuesday as the Suns prepared to head to Mexico City for a pair of games against the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday on Saturday.

Bledsoe's path to yoga has been guided by Suns coach Earl Watson, a self-described yogi who held a mandatory yoga session with Suns players after a game in southern California earlier this season.

"It's a spiritual connection. You just gotta be a yogi to understand," Watson told the LA Times. "A lot of times we come to the huddle we tell guys just find your breath. Relax."

It seems Bledsoe has entirely bought in to yoga's benefits, and he uses some of the breathing techniques before and during games.

"The biggest thing I took from it is playing free, easy of mind," he said. "If you see me on the court, I'm always closing my eyes and taking a deep breath in certain situations just to stay calm and collected."

Bledsoe's newfound calmness has paid off, as he leads the Suns in points (20.4) and assists (5.8) per game, which has put him in contention for what would be his first All-Star Game selection.

"I do it before the national anthem before I get on the court. Even in tough situations, if a team goes on a 10-0 run or anything, I just stop and just take a deep breath. When I'm in the huddle or something, I'll do it."