Photo: Courtesy Of Shakira Scott
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Shakira Scott, a yoga teacher who grew up in the East Bay, has been an Oakland Raiders fan “by default” her whole life.
“That’s my home team. My cousins, they were Raider fans, so I was like, ‘I’m going to be a Raider fan,’ even though I love basketball, that’s my first love,” Scott said. “I know more about basketball and the Warriors, but I’m learning every day more about the Raiders and the organization.”
And for the past few years, Scott’s been teaching yoga to some of the Raiders’ best players. This summer, she’s been at the Raiders training facility in Napa and was filmed working with Raiders linebacker Brandon Marshall for HBO’s “Hard Knocks.”
Scott’s work with Raiders players started on Broadway in Oakland. A few years ago, she said, she visited Oaklandish to see whether she could use the retail space to teach yoga classes. They seemed into the idea, but it never came to fruition. The same day, Scott hustled down Broadway to another clothing retailer – Beast Mode Apparel.
At the time, she knew she was walking into Oakland native Marshawn Lynch’s store – she was a cheerleader in high school and heard about a football player from the Town who went on to a successful pro football career – but she didn’t know what Lynch looked like.
She remembered being nervous before going into the Beast Mode store. “It’s so funny now, like thinking about it,” she recalled. “I was like in my car, giving myself a pep talk. I was like, ‘Just go in there and do that s–.'”
After her pep talk, she went into the store and made her pitch. The person at the counter told her “maybe,” she said, and then called over Lynch, who was sitting nearby.
According to Scott, Lynch was instantly into the idea. “He was like, ‘Yeah, you can teach here whenever you want,'” she said. “I was like, ‘That was so easy. I should have done this a long time ago.'”
Scott started by doing yoga at a birthday party for one of Lynch’s cousins, and then started offering donation-based classes out of the Beast Mode store on Sundays.
“We called it Beast Mode Yoga, unofficially,” she said.
Pretty soon after, she began working one-on-one with Lynch, who already had some yoga experience when he played for the Seattle Seahawks. The two worked together in the run up to Lynch coming out of retirement to play with his hometown Raiders, and then for a while after he started playing for the team.
And the downhill runner with the tough exterior who loves Skittles, is also pretty good at yoga, according to Scott.
“He has some technique; he knows what he’s doing,” she said about Lynch’s yoga practice. “I’ve been taught the body is a rubber band. So, the more you stretch it, the more limber you’re going to be. But sometimes, I can’t comfortably touch my toes, sometimes, my back is really tight. Some days you’re more flexible and some days you’re not, and that applies for everyone, including him.
“But yeah, he can touch his toes and he probably has more flexibility than some guys.”
After working with Lynch and his Fam First Foundation for awhile, Scott was referred to other Raiders and friends and family of Lynch, such as cornerback Marcus Peters. In all, she’s worked with Lynch, Marshall, Marcus Peters, Gabe Jackson, Jaydon Mickens, Josh Johnson and Cornellius “Tank” Carradine.
She said that all of the players she’s worked with have had experience with yoga and that she’s grateful they have an appreciation for the practice.
“I am more concerned about the players and their well-being and their, you know, their body after they retire,” she said. “They’ve still got to condition and do something, because their body is used to that.”