by December 5, 2012 at 8:00 am 1,507 0


Yoga training steps from you. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Kent Barnes. Follow him on Twitter @KentBarnes, email him at kent[AT]

Any discussion of the toughest athletes in the world must include New Zealand’s world champion rugby team. The 2011 Rugby World Cup winners intimidate their competition before dominating them on the field. How do they stay on top? Hours of practice, a grueling weight lifting routine and…yoga?

That’s right folks, yoga isn’t just for girls (and guys attempting to impress them). The rugby team, known around the world as the “All Blacks,” is just one example of professional athletes turning to yoga in order to improve their performance on the field.

LeBron James, an NBA MVP, does yoga. So does Baltimore Ravens all-pro linebacker Ray Lewis and Super Bowl champion Victor Cruz of the New York Giants. The entire Liverpool soccer team practiced yoga during their preseason fitness routine.

Yoga is the perfect cross training exercise, and can provide a significant boost to your athletic performance in a number of different ways. Not only does regular practice help improve balance and increase your core strength, but enhanced flexibility can boost speed and prevent pesky muscle strains.

When injuries do occur, many athletes add yoga to their rehabilitation routine since it provides a low impact opportunity to maintain strength and cardio stamina. Other athletes may simply appreciate the opportunity to just close their eyes, breathe deep and relax.

Local Yoga Studios

Ready for yoga to take your game to the next level? Start your training at one of these local Borderstan studios:

  • Tranquil Space on 17th Street NW offers unlimited yoga for your first month for $50.
  • Flow Yoga Center on P Street Street NW, with many options for classes. First month $45.
  • Yoga District has locations in Dupont Circle and on 14th Street NW and offers new students a two-class one-week pass for only $10.
  • The Studio DC has locations in Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan and offers newcomers two weeks of unlimited yoga for $20.
  • Crank up the heat. Bikram Yoga Dupont offers one week of unlimited yoga for $20.
  • Boundless Yoga Studio on 13th and U Streets NW is offering new students a terrific holiday deal. Buy a 10 class pass for $100, and if you go to class twice a week for five consecutive weeks you’ll get your money back in full.

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by November 21, 2012 at 2:00 pm 1,022 0

From Kent Barnes. Follow him on Twitter @KentBarnes, email him at kent[AT] 


The Verizon Center on 7th Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year for District sports fans. Cold weather means it’s time for some hockey and basketball! The Capitals and the Wizards! Or maybe just the Wizards…

For the fourth time in the last 20 years, the National Hockey League (NHL) is in the midst of a work stoppage. Each year, Alexander Ovechkin, Niklas Backstrom, and the rest of your favorite Capitals take the ice under a contract called a “collective bargaining agreement” between the players and the owners. This agreement covers things like salary structure, revenue sharing and player health and safety standards.

These agreements run for a set period of time and must be renegotiated before they expire in order to avoid a work stoppage. Unfortunately, the latest deal expired on September 15th and the players and owners have yet to agree on a new one. The result? A lockout.

So what does this mean for the District? Most obviously it means hundreds of thousands of disappointed hockey fans. The Capitals are consistently among the NHL’s elite, and have made the playoffs each of the last five seasons.

More problematic is the potential impact on local businesses. The Capitals play one or two games at the Verizon Center almost every week between mid-October and mid-April. As long as the lockout continues that’s 18,000 to 35,000 fewer potential customers spending money in restaurants, bars and other local shops — and that’s thousands of dollars of revenue District business owners can’t get back.

While the Verizon Center may seem like it’s a far reach from Borderstan, the economic impact is one that affects our neighborhood. Not only is the Verizon Center just south of Shaw, an area that is under constant development, but imagine how many fans venture up to the 14th and U Street areas before and after a game for a bite to eat or a post-game celebration.

Owners and players are tentatively scheduled to meet at the negotiating table this week, but experts are not optimistic that a deal is close. For now local sports fans are to rally around the Wizards, who are off to a league-worst 0-8 start to the season.

If things keep-up as they are, it won’t be such a wonderful time of year for District sports fans or the city’s budget.

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by November 7, 2012 at 2:00 pm 0


Kent Barnes’ recreational soccer league celebrating a win at the team’s local bar. (Kent Barnes)

From Kent Barnes. Follow him on Twitter @KentBarnes

Summer is long gone and the temperature is dropping fast. And while you may be content to hunker down by the fire with a mug of hot chocolate and wait for spring, there are plenty of opportunities within the District to embrace the frigid outdoor weather and be active.

DC has an abundant number of recreational sports leagues that offer more than just the opportunity to play sports. Many local sports leagues are just as serious about socializing as they are about the score of the game, and some are even tied to charitable giving.

Here are some local leagues to consider:

  • Zog Sports offers a variety of co-ed recreational sport leagues to area athletes. Registration is now open for the winter seasons of football, outdoor soccer, indoor soccer, basketball and volleyball. Zog provides the balls, referees, and t-shirts and works with schools throughout the city to ensure access to quality fields and courts to play on. Like a lot of other rec teams in the area, Zog sorts players based on skill level so first timers aren’t taking on former college athletes. Every team picks a charity and the league donates 10 percent of its profits to the charities selected. (Plus, some local bars get involved and donate a portion of their post-game sales to your charity.)
  • District Sports is running 12 different soccer leagues this winter, with registration opening 11/13. The league also fosters beginners and advanced players and holds games on fields throughout the city, including fields near U Street and Dupont Circle.
  • Metro Sports Leagues offers both co-ed soccer and volleyball for interested athletes, with registration beginning December 7. Similar to the other leagues, games are held at a variety of schools throughout the city.
  • Stonewall Sports: If you’d prefer to wait for warmer weather, try Borderstan’s own, Stonewall, a LGBTQ and ally community-based nonprofit that offers kickball and bocce. This league also participates in charitable giving, and its past beneficiaries have included Whitman-Walker Health, The DC Center (LGBT center) and Metro Teen AIDS, among others.

So whether you’re in it for the competition, the social interaction or the philanthropy, these leagues provide a great opportunity to get outside and stay active during this busy holiday season.

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by November 2, 2012 at 1:00 pm 0


DC United’s quest for the MLS Cup begins this Saturday, November 3 at 8 pm at RFK. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Kent Barnes. Follow him on Twitter @KentBarnes.

Two weeks ago this Saturday, DC United defeated the Columbus Crew in the final match of the regular season to clinch its first spot in the MLS playoffs since 2007. United treated the crowd to an instant classic, trading goals with the Crew until Lewis Neal punched home the game winner in extra time to send the sold out stadium into a frenzy (seriously, fast forward to 1:07 and watch the beer fly!).

DC United’s quest for the Major League Soccer (MLS) Cup begins this Saturday, November 3 at 8 pm at RFK Stadium against the team’s greatest rivals, New York Red Bulls. (The match was originally scheduled to be played in New Jersey, but Red Bull Arena is currently without power as a result of Hurricane Sandy.) The teams will play two matches, one at each home stadium, and whichever team scores the most goals combined advances to the Eastern Conference finals.

When you head to RFK Stadium on Saturday, be sure to dress appropriately. DC United is planning a “blackout” in celebration of the team’s most important match in five years. If you don’t already have a black shirt or jersey, just stop by the team store before heading through the gates to join Olsen’s Army.

Want to get the party started early? Lot Eight opens at 5:30 pm for your tailgating pleasure. The team is expecting a sell out crowd, so make sure you get your tickets in advance.

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by October 18, 2012 at 8:00 am 1,203 1 Comment


DC United (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Borderstan guest columnist, Kent Barnes. Follow him on Twitter @KentBarnes

Just one week after the Nationals’ season came to an abrupt and disappointing end, another local team is busy gearing up for a shot at post-season glory. That’s right, DC United takes on Columbus Crew this Saturday evening, October 20, at RFK Stadium (2400 East Capitol Street NE). The match kicks off at 7:30 pm and is the team’s last and most important home game of the season.

Following a tough loss in the season opener against Sporting Kansas City, United has managed to stay undefeated on its home field since March. In fact, DC has 11 wins and four ties at RFK under its belt, thus far. This success has the team well-positioned for its first playoff berth since 2007… Which is why this Saturday’s game is so important; a win or a tie against the Crew guarantees United the opportunity to compete for the MLS Cup title.

If you’re worried that soccer is boring and you won’t see enough offense, don’t be! United averages over two goals per game at RFK and has twice put four past the opposing keeper this season. Whether it’s Maicon Santos’ howitzer left foot (my personal favorite), or Chris Pontius weaving through the defense and punching home the score, you’re sure to see fireworks. And there is plenty of fun to be had before the match as the parking lot opens for tailgaters a few hours before kickoff. Bring your friends, food and beverage of choice, or stop by and eat and drink with one of DC United’s passionate groups, such as the Screaming Eagles.

The math is simple for DC United on Saturday: Win and we’re in.

So when you head over to RFK, be ready to sing, bounce and show your DC pride as the most decorated team in Major League Soccer takes a big step towards bringing another title back to the District.

Tickets for this Saturday’s game are available online.

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