CALGARY - Finally out from under Joffrey Reynolds’ shadow, Jon Cornish is still feeling the future Hall-of-Famer’s aura.
If there was one thing Cornish took from five seasons as Reynolds’ sidekick, it’s that there is a method to staying on the football field.
There is the physical training in the gym, of course, but Reynolds showed Cornish that yoga was a beneficial endeavour, as well.
This off-season, in preparing for his first full campaign as a starter after Reynolds was released, Cornish took it to another level.
While also doing physical training, Cornish worked on the mental side, taking up meditation to clear his mind of the clutter.
After reading the book “Mindfulness in Plain English” by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, Cornish starting building towards half-hour sessions.
“My focus is the air going through my nostrils,” said Cornish, who did yoga last off-season. “You breathe in and breathe out.
“You get down there and whatever thoughts come, instead of feeling the thoughts, you just observe the thoughts. Why is this happening?
“I can’t tell you how it feels. Rather than having multiple ideas in my mind at one time, it allows me to refocus.”
So, Cornish feels like a changed man. It sounds like he’s getting close to enlightenment, or at least his version of it.
“I have gotten rid of a lot of negativity,” Cornish said. “I’m not a negative person. It just feels like the negativity I did have is gone.
“It’s difficult for me to have any issues with people when you start accepting your fellow man for who they are and understanding they have their own personal story and that they think their own way. It makes life a lot easier to accept everybody. We’re all humans. We’re all part of the human condition.”
By all accounts, Cornish is primed for a huge year. He started just seven games last season and still managed to run for 863 yards and nine touchdowns.
This spring’s training camp is much more about fine-tuning his game than fighting for position, which is obviously a change from the past.
Not having Reynolds with him is another change.
Over his eight-year career, Reynolds never missed a start due to injury, and it wasn’t because he was just lucky.
“Joffrey taught me that you have to put preparation into your body to keep it healthy,” Cornish said. “Doing stuff after you’re hurt is pointless. You have to be doing pre-hab before you ever step on the field.”
Cornish feels he’s having his best camp ever, topping the 2010 one in which he took on a heavier workload due to injuries to others in the running back stable and ended up having a breakout season.
With all the preparation he’s done, the grind isn’t becoming unbearable after a week.
“As a younger player,
I always complained about camp,” the 27-year-old said. “It’s not something people look forward to.
“For me now, it’s a building experience. I come into camp and I’m far more aware of my own thought process because of meditation.
“You can see the differences in every day.
“Your (footwork) gets that much tighter and your hands get that much better.”
On Twitter: @SUNIanBusby