Calvin Johnson: Yoga helps healing

Updated: November 7, 2013, 4:00 PM ET
By Michael Rothstein | ESPN.com

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- When Calvin Johnson woke up two Sundays ago, before he put together a 329-yard performance that was the second-best receiving game in NFL history, he went through his typical routine.

Wake up. Stretch. Do yoga. Get treatment.

[+] EnlargeCalvin Johnson
Jason Miller/Getty ImagesLions receiver Calvin Johnson credits yoga for keeping him loose in his hips and hamstrings.

Three of the four are typical. Yoga, which he started doing a few years ago when Drew Stanton was with the Detroit Lions because his wife was a yoga instructor, is not.

"Whatever I'm feelin'," Johnson said of his yoga preference. "If I need to work on my hamstrings, if I need a full body deal or work on the hips, whatever needs work."

With Stanton gone to Arizona, Johnson's pregame yoga routine is now done in solitude with his yoga mat and a yoga video. Johnson, the best receiver in the NFL, now sees yoga as a way to maintain some flexibility and improve his overall health.

It isn't a consistent thing for him, but it is part of his routine.

"I've done it for years," Johnson said. "I've definitely seen a positive impact from just being loose in my hips, my hamstrings, you know.

"So I know it's something that worked for me and I've been doing it since."

Included in that was against Dallas two Sundays ago, a performance he initially didn't make a huge deal over. A week ago, he said nothing had really changed for him. After a week off and some time to reflect back on what he did, he changed his mind a little bit.

It was a bigger deal.

"It's special, you know," Johnson said. "You don't really think about it too much but when things are all set and done, eventually you definitely think back on it as like that was one of the better games."

Perhaps the most impressive thing about the game, even though he saw more single coverage than he anticipated, was that he was able to do this despite every team in the league paying attention to him every game.

Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan knows that. And that he can still make all the plays he does left him "impressed."

"Calvin never ceases to amaze me what he can do and what he's capable of," Linehan said. "He's had some of the quietest 150-yard games since I've been here over the five years or 4½ years. That wasn't one of them, though. That was a monster game."

Johnson has been on a record-setting pace lately -- not for the single-season record he already owns, but for a three-game record.

Johnson has 484 yards receiving in his past two games. According to ESPN Stats & Information, if he has 129 or more yards against Chicago on Sunday, he'll have the record for yards in a three-game stretch, a mark held by Charley Hennigan, who had 612 receiving yards in a three-game stretch for the Houston Oilers in 1961.

In his career, Johnson has 19 games of 129 yards or better, including two against the Bears -- 130 in Week 5 of 2011 and 133 in Week 6 of 2012.

"The guy can, from the receiver position, it's very hard to dominate football games and be the player that is game-planned by the defense," Linehan said. "I'm not sure when it's all set and done that there's going to be a receiver game-planned more specifically by a defensive coordinator or scheme than Calvin."

Michael Rothstein | email

ESPN Detroit Lions reporter

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