How Yoga Can Help Handle Shooting Recoil


If you have never fired a weapon before, especially as a woman, the recoil comes as quite a surprise. However, if you set that buttstock nice and snug in your shoulder pocket, keep a firm yet relaxed stance, you will find that your body can manage the recoil quite well.

You won’t be bringing your handgun in close, but you will still be relaxing that shoulder, bringing it back just a little, and ensuring your feet are supporting your body without locking your knees. No locking knees in yoga, thus no locking knees in firing.

An important aspect to shooting whether you’re concerned about recoil or not, is to focus on your breathing. Although I learned my breathing technique for firing at bootcamp, practicing yoga significantly improved my firing performance.

Yoga uses a variety of breathing styles, but the most basic and natural level of breathing is inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. It sounds simple, but it is important to take notice of how your body responds to this rhythmic breathing cycle. Use this breathing strategy first as a quick meditation before beginning a firing session, then apply it to firing when you’re ready.

Inhale through your nose, and exhale audibly through your mouth. Do this once, twice, ten times until you feel you shoulders relax and your mind clear. State your intention. This is something we do in yoga before we begin our practice. It allows you to focus on your immediate task and to devote the next thirty minutes to you and your weapon.

Now that you are relaxed, recognize where you take a natural pause in your breathing. Is it at the end of your inhale? Or at the end of your exhale? Typically this will be at the end of your exhale, but it varies in each individual. This is when you want to fire. Fire when you have gone through a full cycle of breath, whether your cycle ends on the inhale or exhale; your body is still for that fraction of time.

Follow through. Allow yourself to continue breathing after you fire. Stay with your trigger, stay with your breathing. If you stay with your trigger, the energy from the recoil will distribute evenly through your arm and body. Yes, you will still feel the recoil, but you will be welcoming it rather than resisting it. Breathe through it. Return to your breathing to ease you through and prepare you for the next round.

Now do it again. I sincerely recommend investing in a few yoga classes to improve your firing performance. I must warn you though, you might find yourself addicted after the first class.

Photo credit: Flickr CC