Next up in the series of Guys can do yoga, too! It’s our spotlight blog.
Meet Mike, Yoga with Soul Member who joined the tribe in June 2018.
I caught up with Mike to ask about his practice and what advice he has for guys considering starting a regular practice, especially when power sports, weights and circuits classes are all available on the same location as the studio, so it begs the question; why yoga?
Mike: OK I have to come clean and admit to all my forward folding friends and ashtanga amigos, I was, how can I put it…..encouraged, persuaded, mildly nagged by my delightful wife and biomedical-nutritionally scientific daughter – both vegan yogis of the highest pedigree. “C’mon Dad you’ll love it, it’s right up your street and you can do headstands already.”
Now 18 months in to my yoga career I can honestly say the platitude, that cliché, the saying we all say and wish we hadn’t; “I wish I’d started 20 years ago” – honestly I wish it was 30 years ago!
D: What keeps you coming back to yoga?
Mike: If I had only one form of physical training or activity to do then yoga would be it. My relationship with exercise, yoga included, along with nutrition has become more complex of late. Most of us have a better understanding these days of what exercise will do for us and how nutrition will play it’s part.
It took a few weeks but now yoga’s got me hooked and I’m all the better for it. It could be that yoga has no impact on the body or I find that yoga isn’t too challenging for me on the cardio side of things, it could also be the focus and the spirit of the practice but believe me when you get the bug it’s a strong one!
D: What do you find most challenging?
Mike: In one of my early classes way back over a year ago, one of our teachers said something that stuck with me and still resonates with me today on how to perhaps best approach a class.
They said, “if everybody in the class is twisted around 360 degrees and you’re only just starting to twist and only getting to 30 degrees, don’t worry about it, you’ll be getting just as much from this move as everyone else is.”
What a great statement well said, I hope they remember saying it.
Yoga classes aren’t competitive, when you find yourself being challenged by a new pose or balance guess what your focus shifts, for an hour or so while you’re in class it’s all about concentrating on yourself.
When my mind wonders I lose balance and can’t quite hold the pose I’ve been told I grimace so for me this is still a bit of a challenge, so note to self: breathe deeply and stop pulling faces Mike!
D: What improvements have you noticed?
Mike: The teachers are encouraging and I was surprised how quickly I noticed improvements in my balance, breathing, flexibility and rotation.
I used to suffer from a common back problem compounded by on an old football injury, since practising I’m certain that yoga has helped rid my back pain as well as improved my breathing and posture, and really I’m still just a beginner.
D: What would you like to achieve in the next 12 months?
Mike: If I can keep practising two to four times a week, stay injury free I’ll be more than happy but what I’d really like to challenge myself to do is my personalised flow which goes like this:
Crow into headstand back into crow, straight into plank, chaturanga into downward dog, then split dog into wild thing, back into downward dog and if I’m not in need of medication post the proof straight onto Instagram!
D: What would your advice by for any male yogis reading your insights?
Mike: I didn’t have a pre-conception of men in yoga prior to starting, what I knew or thought I knew played little part in my decision to do yoga and more importantly to continue my practice.
I realised that I’d be in a minority and that’s still the case, usually it’s just me or one other male in a class up to 10 people, I guess at first it can make you feel slightly self-conscious but my advice to any men thinking of taking up yoga would be to ACT NOW, don’t delay!
It will help you with other activities, improve breathing techniques, and relieve many of the aches and pains normally associated with regular exercise.
Don’t be that guy saying “I wish I did this 20 years ago”….sound familiar?
Huge thanks for sharing insights into your practice with us Mike! I’ll get the video at the ready when you achieve your personalised flow. If you’ve been inspired by Mike’s practice and interested in giving yoga a go click to book our Guys Can Do Yoga, Too Special Offer here!
- 10 Class Pass Offer available to purchase until 30th June 2019