May 03, 2012
Although the title doesn't apply to me, I thought I'd blog about something that may help those still playing poker and will help even if you're not, yoga!. About 4 months ago my girlfriend asked if I'd try it out. She had done it a ton in the past a talked about all the physical and mental benefits you can gain from the practice. After a couple weeks of asking I finally agreed to go to a 3 class weekly beginners course. I figured my flexibility is awful and it'd be good to stretch a bit and improve that.
My first class we started off in downward facing dog which is a very basic pose. The teacher said "this pose is very relaxing." At this point my shoulders were barking and my legs felt like they were going to collapse. I got through that first session exhausted and asked my girlfriend after class what she thought of it. She said it was pretty easy and I was stunned as I was sore and drenched in sweat. After our second class the studio was running a promotion that discounted classes if you signed up after the third beginners course. I wanted to go to an open level class before signing up, so the next day I went to one.
The type of yoga I do is called power vinyasa, the studio is 90 degrees. Unfortunately I'm a sweater and at the end of 75 minutes I had endured one of the toughest workouts I've ever been through. You don't really think of yoga as kicking your ass, but I was gassed at the end. In a puddle of my own sweat I packed up, but did enjoy it. It's challenging, great for getting in shape and the mental benefits are outstanding too.
Over the past few months i've lost about 12 pounds and the mental benefits are probably the most noticeable. In class the instructors are always talking about your breath and how to breathe. It reminds me very much of Tommy's series. However when forced to do it for 75 minutes it's much easier to take into your everyday and if I was still playing, my poker life. It'd be a great tilting outlet, just to pack up and go to a yoga class and it does help you but by far the greatest benefit for a poker player would be the breathing. If/When I'm able to start playing again it'll be interesting to notice any differences regarding to play my A game, tilt, etc.
So anyone reading this blog, I'd encourage you to give it a shot. Worst case scenario you'll be in better shape, best case you'll achieve the former and it'll help your poker career.
This calm steadiness of the senses is called yoga. Then one should become watchful, becomes yoga comes and go. (Katha Upanishad)