From Steve Cox, Los Angeles California
Los Angeles. July 2000:
Desire to Play
Whether we play seriously or
for fun, whether we are young or old, one thing is constant: once
a Squash player always a Squash player. Our bones may be splinting
our muscles screaming for rest, our brains befuddled and functioning
on a limited basis. Whatever is ailing us we want to keep playing.
We will do so contrary to all odds and statistics.
So what can we do to: (a) give
us an edge, (b) keep our bodies functioning longer & stronger?
I don¹t know about any of you
out there but for us displaced colonials who live here in California,
a reputation for quirkiness and strangeness follows those of us
who live there. California is sports capital of the world and it
entices us to want to play squash, scuba dive, kayak, play golf
and surf all at once. Of course to do this we need inordinate amounts
of energy and unusual coordination: Something along the lines of
the more you put into your game
and life the more you get out.
is Yoga. Yoga comes in many forms and is taught at many levels.
Simply put, Yoga is a deceptively complex activity that trains your
body, muscles, and mind at the same time. It is a satisfying an
interesting activity which will at the same time enhance your squash
game meteorically - no matter your level.
I get from Yoga
I have been doing "Power
Yoga" four to five times a week, at least an hour a day, for
two years now. I have kept it up because I feel it has added to
my squash game as well as other activities incrementally. It has
fulfilled a sports player's need to stretch which increases with
age (I am 43 years old and feel as fit as I was at 18). It has increased
and balanced the strength throughout my body and brought it into
more balanced muscle tone.
It has increased flexiblilty
multifold and consequently allows me to stretch further on court
and with strength, return shots that might have been considered
impossible for me two years ago. It has also - and this is something
of intrinsic value in any fast paced sport - enabled me to slow
the game down. What I mean is that somehow I am able to anticipate,
and prepare shots that were once more hurried and less skillful.
In short my vision, physically and mentally, is enhanced.
So what about the breathing aspect of squash? We don¹t
seem to either teach or be taught about it, yet is so intrinsically
important to success in the game. Well we all know what its like
to feel our lungs heaving and screaming for a few more second of
So get doing some Yoga and holding
some of the positions that you are taught in class, learn about
breath control and you will be amazed at the unfathomable difference
in all your activities on and off the court.
Yoga does not exhaust you it
rejuvenates you (Well you will know about it for a while and rest
accordingly). You may find that you don¹t need to sleep so much
anymore after making Yoga a habit, you will also likely find more
mental energy for your normal daily life. You may even find that
you focus better on every aspect of your lives as well.
Of course it is widely documented
that the mediative activity within Yoga reduces stress which adds
to our daily abilities to cope with the onslaughts of life and those
determined opponents. As far as the benefits to specific aspects
of health, they are too many to list. Suffice it to say that in
my mind Yoga is a common sense approach to improving your health
and maintaining it as well as adding skill to many chosen sports
and mental activities.
So as a teaching pro I urge you to take a few classes
(don¹t watch videos and don¹t view Yoga as some unusual spiritual
endeavor), set yourself a goal to stick with it for a certain length
of time, thus creating the discipline of habit which will ultimately
allow you to do any series of the some 600+ available poses. Don¹t
judge yourself because what¹s hard today and feels impossible will
be actualized tomorrow with the practice that adds to your muscle
memory. I would also urge that you go to classes that are "Power
based" and strength oriented. Good luck and let us know here
at SquashTalk what changes you experience.
Stephen Cox can be reached by
email at email@example.com
[Explore Yoga at www.yogasite.com]