A Dude’s Yoga Journey
Hello. My name is Jonah. I am a dude, and I practice yoga. It’s gotten to the point where I crave it, I have enjoyed it so much. The reason I am writing this is to let you know that even dudes can stretch, breathe, and dive inward. News flash: yoga is for everyone! Fellas, you can do yoga - you should do yoga. You won’t regret it, I promise.
My journey with yoga began about 4 years ago, but I had been indirectly affected by the benefits long before that. When Brit took yoga her freshman year at the U of O in 2006, it was incredibly relieving of the anxiety and depression she was experiencing. As the shoulder for her to cry on every time I would leave from a quick visit to Eugene, I could tell that yoga was helping her get through her struggles in that dorm life. However, I had no interest whatsoever in the practice, especially as the years went on and Brit continued to advance and dive deeper into her practice at a hot yoga studio. This sounded horrifying to me! Awkwardly stretching with a bunch of women in a hot and humid room, whilst sweating buckets. Not appealing, huh fellas?
What really got me to try yoga was my self-awareness. I was in my late 20’s, and noticed how tight my body had become since high school. I used to be able to forward fold and palm the ground with no problem. Shoot, I used to throw my leg over or behind my head like a contortionist at a freak show. Sadly, those Stretch Armstrong teenage years were long gone and I could hardly touch my toes without feeling like I’d pass out from oxygen deprivation. After a workout at the gym, I told my wife how tight my body was feeling, and she encouraged me to try yoga. “Hell no!” My automatic response was generated out of fear of a sweaty room full of spiritual hippies chanting Om together.
Our coworker and friend, Lindsey Green, was really hitting it hard at the gym during this season in preparation for her wedding. She was going to different group workout classes, regularly lifting, and hitting the yoga class every Tuesday eveningafter work. Lindsey was looking fit, healthy, and happy. The more we discussed her experiences at the gym, the more I wanted to try yoga. So I did it. I went to my first yoga class and the instructor, Sadie, blew my mind. I had never seen a person put themself into such challenging positions, holding them with ease, all while instructing how to get into the postures with modifications if needed. That yoga class kicked my ass. I sweat harder than any workout I had busted out at the gym in years. After the class as I reflected on the postures and sequences, I got a high five and compliments from Sadie. She was stoked that I gave her class a try, and encouraged me to come back the following Tuesday.
I became a regular at Sadie’s class at the gym on Tuesday evenings, and tried to get as many coworkers to join me as I could. I loved it for so many reasons. First and foremost, the community built within those walls is strong. I also felt amazing after every class, even though sometimes it wiped me out. The challenge of it was fueling to me, and when I was finally able to hold a dancer pose for longer than 2 seconds, I felt a sense of accomplishment I hadn’t felt from physical activity or exercise in years. I started to gain my flexibility back, and began to notice measurable progress. On top of that, my body started to change. People started telling me how good I looked and how I’d lost so much weight (fun fact, I did lose weight). I started sleeping better, gained mental clarity, and became closer with my wife.
When Brittany did her 200 YTT in the summer of 2015, she asked me to come to her first class she was teaching with her group in training at the hot yoga studio, Zen Spot. I was incredibly intimidated, but cared so much for Brittany’s passion and success that I agreed to be there and show my support. Into the packed out studio I went, not quite sure what to expect. Several people, including the owners of the studio, were so happy to meet me. I had my mat, a towel, and some props and was ready to sweat this out, literally. The class was fantastic, and surprisingly I didn’t lose my mind in the heat. In fact, I enjoyed it. After the class I drove my sweaty ass to the river, jumped into the cool water, and reflected on my journey to this point in the yoga world. I was so thankful to have built a foundation with Sadie and my friends at the gym, because I kept up with the hot yoga crew without barfing. I killed it! I was so elated from my experience and Brittany’s accomplishment, I decided to get a monthly membership. The rest is history.
Here’s the thing ladies & gents, I let fear stand in the way of my life, in several ways I am sure. Shoot, I still occasionally do. But the things that prevented me from trying something new were just bullshit stories and assumptions I made up in my head. Lame excuses that prevented me from doing something that I would eventually crave.
‘I don’t want to get super sweaty in front of all those people.’
‘I am not going to be very good at it.’
‘This woo woo spirituality hocus pocus stuff sounds uncomfortable.’
‘What if I have to fart?’
‘I am not flexible enough to do yoga.’
What?! That’s right, I literally thought I wasn’t flexible enough to stretch. What I realized through my journey is that if I am closed off to the possibilities along the path, I am going to miss out on my life. That is not what I want. I want a life of fulfillment, adventures, and growth. I want to be an active senior citizen that isn’t physically limited from a sedentary life. In order to achieve my desires in life my physical, spriitual, mental, and emotional health have to be a focus. Through my journey, I have grown in each of these aspects. If you are open to it, your yoga journey could do the exact same thing for you as well. Get vulnerable, and embrace the discomfort. Maybe you can even find comfort in it.
I want to encourage you, fellas, to give yoga a try. If you let it, your practice could change your life.
Thinking about trying yoga? Are you a seasoned yogi and want to share your experience with a first-timer? Share them below! And if you have any questions about the practice or booking an private session with Brit, just send us a quick message here and we’ll get back to you asap!
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