By Patricia Uribe
You may have heard of Trish Stratus, the strong, sassy and sexy seven-time WWE Women's Champion. Using trademark moves like the "Matrish"and "Stratusfaction," she conquered the wrestling mat and earned diva status before retiring in 2006 after suffering one too many injuries.
Now, have you heard of Trish Stratus, the preacher of "om"? In her newest incarnation, Stratus is on a mission to get the world to do yoga.
"Yoga changed my life," says Stratus, "I know it can change yours."
Well, yoga certainly prompted a reinvention and her transformation is impressive. Her bleached locks are now a natural shade of brown. She's traded in her glitzy outfits for comfy tops and yoga pants. She speaks to us with a calm, soft voice and is wearing glasses (not the geeky kind, we're talking sexy librarian).
Why this life change?
"I was ready to retire," she admits. "I accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish in the ring, becoming WWE Women's Champion and helped to make women's wrestling a viable division in the WWE. After seven years, my body needed to take a break."
A herniated disc was the clincher, but a broken ankle, dislocated shoulder and thumb, and a missing knuckle and tooth, aided and abetted.
"Physiotherapy wasn't working," Stratus recalls. "I was off work for two months and I still couldn't sit for more than 30 minutes."
That's when a friend and fellow wrestler recommended yoga. She stopped going to physical therapy and did yoga instead. She was able to return to her 300-day on-the-road schedule, while continuing her daily practice. She noticed yoga's benefits reached further than a rehabilitated back.
"I realized that I wasn't doing the yoga only for its physical benefits, but because it gave me balance," she says. "It allowed me to live the crazy life of the wrestler with the crazy busy schedule, and then disconnect and understand that, 'Wrestling is what I did professionally. I hopped in, did my thing and then hopped out and lived my life.'"
These lessons, learned from the act of breathing, stretching and contorting, led her to become a yoga "guru" and open up her own studio—Stratusphere in Vaughan, Ont.—upon retiring.
"I realized what I wanted to do was tell everyone about yoga," she says. "I just wish everyone could feel this great."
Since the studio opened, Stratus has taken it upon herself to spread the gospelof "om" to everyone: from housewives, to hockey players, to golfers.
"My little goal in life is to take over the world, one yoga studio at a time," she says.
Yoga and Golf
Yoga and Golf Trish Stratus has been spending more time on the golf course since she retired.
"Isn't that what retired people do?" jokes the thirty-four year-old.
Having played in a number of charity golf tournaments, Stratus decided to improve her game. During one of her lessons, her instructor pointed out the mechanics of her swing were close to perfect.
"I had a 'Eureka!' moment when I realized that setting up a swing was a yoga twist," explains Stratus.
This led her to create a "yoga for golfers" sequence. Every movement is derived from an actual golf move and each one is performed with a golf club in hand.
"This makes golfers more at home and helps them relate to yoga," she says. "Some exercises help during the game, and others are about conditioning your body so you can have longevity in the sport."
Stratus affirms yoga will improve your balance and the torque of your swing. Her "yoga for golfers" workshop targets the areas most used during a game of golf, including the core, legs and back. The sequence is also designed to increase shoulder flexibility, and improve balance and posture. She also praises the benefits of yoga as a conditioning exercise that can keep your body tuned up throughout the offseason. Most importantly, Stratus thinks yoga improves your mental game.
"Yoga teaches you about focus," says Stratus. "Taking that moment to take a breath and visualize where you want the ball to go. This is all part of the yoga practice."
Stratus encourages golfers to view themselves as athletes, "Athletes need to train and make conditioning part of their life."
She recommends including yoga in your training schedule. Some people may run or bike or go to the gym or have golf lessons, but one or two days a week of yoga can have noticeable benefits.
Stratus is not the first to identify the correlation between golf and yoga. Pro golfers like David Duval, India's Jyoti Randhawa, and Myanmar's Zaw Moethe have been doing yoga for years. More than half a dozen books extolling the benefits of yoga for golfers have been published. A multitude of web sites contain photos of yoga poses and their relation to golf moves. This all goes to show that yoga is appealing to golfers all over the world.
Why not try yoga? You don't need a "yoga for golfers" class, necessarily. Any yoga class or video will do. All you need is a quiet spot where you can concentrate on your breathing and moving through the exercises.
"You don't start feeling the change all of a sudden, but yoga gradually changes you completely," promises Stratus.
As for her future plans, Stratus wants to become a better golfer.
"My husband doesn't play," she says. "I'm going to get good first and then I'm going to challenge him. Don't tell him, though."
For more information visit www.trishstratus.com
255 Bass Pro Mills Drive
Vaughan, Ontario L4K 0A2