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Mental Game & Life Strategy

The ability to set goals and the discipline it takes to achieve those goals without letting the rest of your life suffer are two of the most important things you need to master in order to improve as a poker player and begin getting serious about becoming a pro. One of the best parts of playing poker is getting out into the real world, playing in person, meeting new people and going on crazy adventures. This is also the riskiest part of the game because it takes you away from your comfort zone, and leaves you playing without your safety net. The solid footing of any healthy lifestyle depends balance and control, and a thriving poker lifestyle is no exception. Set realistic goals and learn to govern yourself so that you’re always working towards achieving your goals without letting the other, more glamorous things hinder your success. 

Table strategy is great to know, but you'll also need to understand how to manage yourself off the table to maximize your edge - and here’s where things get personal. I invite you to keep up-to date on my life and times as a poker player, and learn from my experiences so that you can learn from my triumphs and avoid my mistakes.  Any pro poker player will tell you your  mind is your most powerful weapon. Sharpen it, nurture it, rest it and give it peace so you can take to the tables - and your life - with killer confidence. 

Intro to Yin Yoga with Ashley Holly

Ashley Holly

Ashley Holly

Registered Yoga Therapist ♠ ashleyholly.com

Ashley has lived, worked, volunteered, written and practiced yoga in over ten countries, training with mentors from New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Peru, Miami and Canada. Her teaching style is energized by her life experience and passion for healing, helping and revolutionizing lives.

If life is full of stress, then poker is existence in overdrive. You know exactly what I mean: every move, thought and emotion at the tables is magnified, hyperbolized and has the potential to make your day or break your bankroll – or worse. This sort of high-octane life has a brutally short expectancy – if you don’t learn how to balance it. 

This is where I come in.

I practice and teach Yin yoga - unquestionably the most powerful practice for easing the physical stress of our bodies (whether that is due to copious hours of stagnation or repetitive movement) and the mental stress perched in our minds. I work with clients that struggle with everything from depression, PTSD, MS, Cancer, ADD, to what we yogi’s simply call “monkey mind” and I am continually astonished at how a consistent yin yoga practice can and can transform their lives.  

I know that as a poker player, you have to learn how to mitigate distraction and maintain a calm, cool, thorough focus in some intensely stressful situations. It’s no easy feat, especially when you’ve got to make tough calls of Herculean proportions based on less than perfect information. This is a veritable breeding ground for stress – but you can control it. No, you can’t sway Lady Luck, or know what cards are in your opponents’ hands or are left in the deck; however, you are the ultimate influence when it comes to your own mind and mindfulness. 

And it’s not only about your mind. 

Consider this: stress is not just stored in your mind, but rather, it is actually “living” in your physical body. We have “issues in our tissues” or “heavy hearts” that are evidenced by the way our posture reflects our mood and vice versa. When you wander the world with slouched shoulders, this dictates feelings of depression and sadness in your body (and in the case of poker, it’s a sure-fire tell of a garbage hand). We practice yoga to undo these patterns. The Yin practices that I share with you will travel far deeper than “exercise”, exploring the complex relationship between your bodies’ energy centres, connective tissues (tendons, ligaments, bones and fascia) and your meridian lines (as drawn from traditional Chinese medicine), helping you to burst through deep held emotions or habits that have been numbed over throughout the years; habits that are seriously blunting your edge both at the tables and in life in general.

So think of Yin yoga as another weapon in your arsenal of powerful poker strategies that will help you win more in the long-run, maximize your ROI and simply lead a happier, more fulfilled life. (Read: Cha-ching and Namaste.) 

Here’s a rundown of the benefits of Yin yoga:

  1. Calm and balanced mind and body
  2. Increased functional mobility of the yin tissues, which occupies 1/2 of our whole bodies functional mobility
  3. Increased flexibility, range of motion and moisture and durability of joint
  4. Reduced stress and anxiety
  5. Deep rest and relaxation through mindful living
  6. Preserves moisture of tissues
  7. Increased circulation
  8. Helps us to keep doing the things we are inevitably going to do for longer
  9. Deeper connection and understanding of body and mind
  10. Freedom from deep and long held emotional and physical restrictions

In short...

“Yin practice takes you deeper into where you are, not out to where you think you should be. This approach challenges us to rethink what asana is about. It marries meditation and asana into a very deep practice. Some people, especially beginners, are not interested in or willing to do this -to sit inside their discomfort and just watch their reactions instead of trying to fix or change the pose. Yin yoga challenges you to sit in the pure presence of awareness. It’s hard in a different way than active asana practice, but in a way that’s more profound and satisfying as well as more beneficial to the deeper tissues.” 

— Sarah Powers, author of Insight Yoga