Normally when Jake Bentley and Jacob Austin are taking yoga class, they can look over and see their teammates taking part.
But Wednesday at Glenforest School, the two players attended a class which was part of Camp M.A.T.E.S (Merging Activities To Enhance Social Skills). The camp is a program affiliated with the Autism Academy of South Carolina for kids ages 4 to 21.
Yoga is part of USC's conditioning program which includes the traditional running and weightlifting. By using yoga, the players say they have become more flexible and it also provides a time when they can get away from football and simply clear their mind of outside distractions.
"It kind of eases our mind," Bentley said.
'There's a lot of mental and physical, just strain that goes with football and lifting weights. When we do yoga, it's a way for us to relax and also a way for us to get better. It helps with flexibility. Believe it or not, shoulder strength, core strength. So we're getting better. But also, it's a way to relax and take our mind off football for an hour or an hour and a half."
USC football strength and conditioning coach Jeff Dillman has encouraged the players to take yoga classes. In a normal environment where weightlifting workouts are noisy, to say the least, yoga is the complete opposite.
"With Dillman, it's about weight, getting stronger, getting bigger, being aggressive" August said.
"When we come out here and do yoga, it's more about being calm, collected, getting our thoughts together and focusing on what we need to do internally."
Camp director Dr. Allison Brazendale says yoga has been found to help autistic youngsters become more focused and calm. Dr. Brazendale says having two high-profile athletes like Bentley and August come to the camp reinforces the benefits of yoga and also allows them to have a special day with with guys who they will see on TV in the fall.
"A lot of times, kids with autism tend to have more difficulties finding growth motor skills," Brazendale said.
"So, they may not be the most athletic. But to see the football players doing yoga with them, which I think they can connect with, was really powerful."
Bentley Headed To Hoover
Bentley told News19 he will be part of the Carolina contingent that makes its way to Hoover, Alabama next month for SEC Media Days. Bentley said receiver Deebo Samuel and TE Hayden Hurst would also be making the trip.