I'm expecting a big crowd at yoga tomorrow. No...it has nothing to do with all those New Year's resolutions of people vowing to get fit and healthy. In fact, there don't seem to be as many of them at the gym as usual this year. Or maybe they're just coming earlier or later than when I'm there. Nope, those newbies trying to learn the downward dog will all be hoping to improve their golf game. Let me explain.
The Sunday edition of our local paper carried a story about Dave Penzone who's helping the City of Pensacola solve some pretty significant financial issues. Big story...front page, above the fold. But then, I guess if you can help the local government shring it's $116 million unfunded pension liability by millions and reduce the annual cost of paying for employee benefits, it's pretty newsworthy.
It was quite the read as ol' Dave's an interesting guy. After a career as a tax attorney practicing with a national firm in both Washington, D.C., and Atlanta, he retired in Pensacola to play golf and enjoy a more relaxed life style. And that game of golf brought him in contact with the new mayor which eventually lead to his role settling the City's pension woes.
So what does this have to do with yoga? Well, Dave's a certified yoga instructor too, just another of those things he got into on retirement. And while he was good before he got into yoga, he credits it with his having become a scratch golfer.
His theory is that yoga teaches "presence." When you dwell on the past, it creates anxiety; and when you look to the future, you have expectations, some of which will not come true. Yoga teaches you to be in charge of what's happening right now and, according to Penzone, when you get into that flow there's very little that can throw you off your game. Sounds like a pretty good philosophy for life as well as golf.
I have visions of all my golfing friends showing up at the gym with yoga mats rolled up under their arms. OK...maybe not, but perhaps they should. Maybe I'll suggest to our buddy Hiram, the golf pro, that he start offering yoga classes in the snack bar during the off hours. Otherwise, he might be seeing some downward dogs on the practice tee. And given the age and shape of many of the members, he might want to have the ambulance company on speed dial.