Q&A: Karla Cornwell, a Nurse and Certified Yoga Instructor Who Teaches "Golf And Yoga"

A nurse and certified yoga instructor, Karla Cornwell teaches "Golf and Yoga" workshops at Fairways and Greens Golf Center at 626 Simmons Rd.

Whose idea was it to mix golf and yoga?

Mine. I watched my husband playing golf and saw that it is mostly a mind game with him, and that's what yoga is. Yoga poses—or asanas—are designed to bring you into the present moment. And then a year ago my husband talked me into teaching at Fairways and Greens.

Does he come to the classes?

He can't since I'm the teacher and we have a 4-year-old son.

Do you get more females or males attending?

It's a mix. It's more men, which is not really surprising. I think yoga is more popular with men here because it's a golf center—they're not as afraid as they might be at a yoga studio.

Do you play golf?

Not at all. I watch my husband. And I've seen lots of golf on television, so I can see that every golf swing involves twisting and balancing, shifting from one foot to the other—golf is all yoga. I feel like my students can improve their game even if I'm not a golfer.

Are your workshops designed more to lower golf scores or improve overall health?

Both. Yoga increases the flexibility of both your mind and body. It also increases strength, range of motion, balance and stability. It's for everything really—maybe the classes should be called "Golf and Yoga and Life." I really hope that even if people don't keep up with my classes, coming to yoga through golf will encourage them to keep doing yoga somewhere.

What do you start with?

We work on breathing—noticing your breath, breath awareness. And then some basic poses. Over time, we work on building up more of a flow for each person.

Have any students reported getting better at golf?

I was teaching once a week for several months and one of the guys who came the whole time—he and his wife—said he did.

How many points did he take off his score?

I didn't really delve into that. But I could tell he was doing better in the classes with yoga, so I figured he was also improving at golf.

Have you renamed any of the poses so they sound more like golf and less like yoga?

I have not, but the players would probably like it. We'll be doing the workshops outside on the greens when it warms up.

What's your yoga background?

I've been doing it for more than 15 years. I started going to classes when we lived in Johnson City, and then I took teacher training at the Glowing Body in Knoxville about two years ago. I love it. Right now I'm enrolled in teacher training for Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga™, so I hope to also be teaching that somewhere in a bit. I think everyone should take yoga. There are so many kinds—beginner classes, or restorative classes that reduce cortisol levels and stress. If you haven't found a type to your liking, don't give up!

Does your son do yoga?

A little. Mostly he just attacks me when I'm doing mine.

For more information and workshop schedules: fairwaysandgreens.org