Be a Man, Do Yoga

I am sitting in short shorts and am the only guy in a room full of beautiful women. Not a single one speaks english and the class I am about to take is entirely new material. I look around at all of the seasoned experts. (They are the ones who are warming up by putting their head on the ground and walking up the wall backwards). It is the fourth time this week that I have thought to myself, “how do I get myself into these situations?” This time I know the answer. I am here because I love yoga.

Being Flexible in a New City

Being Flexible in a New City. (Yes, I'll Admit It, I Didn't Have Any Yoga Photos)

I first started yoga about 9 months ago. I was scanning my bucket list and thought that yoga (a bucket list item) would be a perfect addition to help balance out the Crossfit workouts I was doing. With Crossfit, I was burning a lot fat and building muscle but I could feel that I was losing flexibility. I was on the path to getting the body of a lego man. (Think about how they move.)

I went into work the next day and saw that they offered yoga classes in the floor below my office. The stage was set. I would be doing pyramid pose in no time.

My first class was with a group of co-workers. Nervously we filled the yoga studio. The instructor, April, explained that this type of Yoga, Slobody, was both more slow and more aerobic than traditional styles of yoga. She also explained that it was the same technique that the local S.W.A.T teamed used to train. (I thought back on the time I had met the bottom of the local S.W.A.T team’s boot with angst).

After a quick round of awkward stretching, April began to kick our asses. Slobody is slow in all of the hard ways (holding poses) and I quickly fell in love with it. Whereas, Crossfit is about fighting through your physical limit through strength training and endurance, Slobody is about increasing your flexibility without passing your limit (ouch) all while keeping your heart rate up. It was not spiritual in the traditional sense but it did help me become more in-tune with my body as I stretched into poses that I had literally never been in. In the process, I discovered muscles on my body that were completely new to me (seriously, I found something on the back of my leg below my thigh) and realized that I could leave a workout feeling refreshed and peaceful rather than exhausted and defeated.

After my first class, I made yoga a part of my weekly routine. Every Wednesday at 6:00 (or 5:30 on tough days) I would stop what I was doing and go down into the yoga studio. I made marked progress very quickly and decided to make yoga an important part of my life going forward.

9 months later, I am now a lot more flexible than I have ever been and feel a lot freer in my own body. I continue to do yoga as I travel and use it commonly as a way to stretch after long flights. (Happy Baby and Pigeon are miracle workers for fighting jet lag).

Yoga has improved my health, allowed me to meet new people and aided me in all of my physical fitness related bucket list items (I am talking to you marathon). What started as a convenient way to become more flexible has become the most far reaching of my bucket list items.

If you haven’t already tried yoga, I urge you to sign up for a free class. If your experience is anything like mine, it will change your life.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • I definitely agree with you about yoga being a surprising easy way to gain flexibility and to overall feel better. I work as a freelancer from home with my girlfriend who also freelances with me. We have no insurance, we have no fancy health packages, but we own a DVD player!

    Yoga has been an excellent choice to help maintain a certain level of health. Outside of the actual sessions, I find it’s helped me with posture while I’m sitting long hours at my computer desk building websites and doing SEO.

    • First of all, best username ever…

      The portability of it is probably the best part.

      What type of yoga are you doing? Any tips for others (like myself) who are working from less traditional locations?

      • Thanks on the name, trying to brand The Dan/thedan1984, so far it’s working out nicely.

        We’ve been using Allen Finger DVDs because we’re still in our early stages and we aren’t as dedicated as we should/could be. Mostly helps keep the blood moving, works as a good hour-long exercise/flexibility training.

        If you have Netflix, there’s a few available there, I think one was a “10 minute intensive Yoga” courses which had 6 different activities on it.

  • April Vaughn

    Dude!! I am so honored to have been your first yoga teacher! That is awesome! And I am even more thrilled that you have continued on in your yoga journey.

    I am in the midst of becoming a CrossFit Level 1 Certified Trainer. And I can tell you that yoga is actually part of the CrossFit prescription. The ten general physical skills that CrossFit believes humans should be proficient in are as follows: cardivascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. If a person is deficient in any area then, sorry, but that person is not optimally fit. For some reason, when CrossFit gets translated down to folks like you and me the Flexibility component seems to get a bit lost!!

    CrossFit is a huge proponent of gymnastics and there are drills taken directly from that sport: the muscle-up, pull ups, push ups, handstands, etc. CrossFit believes anything that increases flexibility and maximizes the safe range of motion in joints is an element of gymnastics.

    So keep it up my friend. You are right on the money!!

    • Sounds like you have been studying! Thanks for being a very important part of my life and best of luck on your new journey.

      Sounds like you are kicking ass like always :-)

  • I joined my first yoga class two weeks ago. And so far I’m loving it. I’m totally going to check out Slobody style, I think that’d be a great way to push myself.

  • I love it, my girlfriend is in the process of the nine week Bikrim teaching course. She goes from 8 in the morning till anywhere from 12:pm to 4am 5 days a week and sat from 9-1:30. Its amazing how much its like bootcamp, 2 full yoga classes a day.
    She took me to a Bikrim class one, I felt amazing aftwards.

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