Our church choir rehearses on Thursday night. In another room, a yoga class meets on that same evening. Another choir member, and occasional tennis partner, and I got to talking one night about our tennis games, when she made the rather astute observation, “Tennis is my yoga.”
I agree. There was a time in my life when I did practice, albeit sporadically, hatha yoga. There have been fewer times in my life when I have not played tennis. Yoga is more than a stretching activity, it can be a way of life. In yoga, we learn to breathe and coordinate our entire body, as well as our spirit. The entire being is a participant in yoga: mind, body, spirit.
I’m not going to try to compare the two activities of tennis and yoga. They are very different in so many respects. What I am going to say is that tennis provides me with both the physical activity that I need, as well as the joy and passion of a game well played. It fills me up. I’ve said that before and people have looked at me a bit strangely.
I feel happy on the tennis court. My shirt may be soaked with sweat from a humid summer night, my knees hurting, I’m down a set and a break, but there’s no better place to be at that moment. I can easily escape the troubles and stress of the day’s events to be in the moment, where at that point in time nothing is more important than that point (tennis term). It’s a shared experience, where each player is dependent on the other to have a successful game. Without that cooperation, the game does not happen.
Tennis has been a part of my life since I was 10. After hurting my back at one point (from tennis, of course), I quit playing to take up golf. Although golf was pleasant enough, especially walking through the green grass on a warm sunny day, it wasn’t until I returned to tennis that I realized how much I missed. It was like returning to my first love with familiarity and passion.
Tennis is also my yoga. An activity that relaxes me and nurtures my spirit. Singing is another, but that topic remains for some other day. It is a game for life, and I plan to play it for life. By the time I’m 85, maybe I’ll be ready to hang up my racquet, but in the meantime, I have another 30 years to play.