Aaron Ledesma was an infielder for the inaugural Devil Rays team in 1998 and '99. He played Major League Baseball for a dozen years until back problems sent him into retirement. After back surgery about a decade ago, Aaron took a hot yoga class.
"After my first class, I knew instantly that's what my body needed just from playing every day, and just the game taking a toll on my body. I was hooked after my first class," Ledesma said.
Now, Ledesma gets players hooked on hot yoga as they start baseball careers. He's director of player development for "Pro Bound USA", and he just opened "Yoga 365" in Clearwater.
"I'm convinced that an athlete can come into this class, and with a consistent practice, they can add five to ten years to their career."
The players Ledesma works with feel the benefits after their first hot yoga class too. Pitcher Josiah Ring applies the breathing techniques on the mound, and appreciates new flexibility.
"The first class it was pretty challenging. I didn't like it during the class, but afterwards I felt really good, went out and when I pitched the next day...just more elasticity. I just felt really good," Ring said.
"Yoga 365" co-owner Karen Ledesma met the man she would marry: Aaron Ledesma in her first hot yoga class about seven years ago. The Ledesmas have been working to help people change their lives through yoga ever since.
"He and I sort of blended our passion for yoga and had a dream to start a yoga studio together," Ledesma said.
Former Devil Ray Aaron Ledesma sums up the benefits of hot yoga.
"It's a lifestyle. The way I see it when I feel good about my body, I feel good about myself, and when I feel good about myself I treat other people with that goodness," he said.
For more information: www.hotyoga365.com