The other weekend a friend of mine got me to go with her to a yoga workshop. Thanks, Michelle, I think. Iʼm STILL thinking. The style of yoga we practiced, Anusara, parallels something near and dear to me: marksmanship. The teacher, Bea Doyle, of Bhava Yoga Studio www.bhavayogastudio.com promptly introduced us to the themes of our time together which constituted Attitude, Alignment and Action.
Sound familiar? As I worked very hard to stretch and not hyper-extend my shoulders, I thought about Attitude. We go into competition craving to be The Best. We must Win. Soon enough, we realize we only compete against ourselves; the goal is to pay attention to the last matches’ performances and see if we can build on that experience. As I finally could propel myself into an almost floating back bend (that’s what it felt like, doing it correctly), I heard the teacher, Bea, speak of the positioning of the low back, the pinning of the shoulder blades to force the heart up and open, the planting of the feet to create a platform. I felt in awe of my own capabilities and for how this is the exact wording for how I describe the Basic Fundamentals of Marksmanship. Every body part has a job and a special alignment. If I don’t shift my weight to the balls of my feet and lift my body upwardly and nest my shoulders into their sockets while simultaneously extending my arms, I will lose my front sight alignment on the target, I will get rocked back more and more with each round’s recoil. The Action of yoga subtley announces itself in that if a practitioner poses incorrectly, something hurts. Same with shooting. For example, if I get my knuckles rubbed raw at the 50 yd line barricade, it means I stand too far away and press too much weight on the barricade. I, therefore, take action to hold my arm out aligning my stance so I graze the barricade with my fist. This is how far away to stand. The alignment is total body awareness. The attitude remains calm. When the target turns and I draw to fire, I breathe in, I breathe out, I squeeeeeeze the trigger, almost meditatively. No wonder I finally set records at the 50 yd line.