Friday, April 12, 2013

TotallyGuy Yoga, Making the Mat a Mans Place


I came to yoga to impress a girl. It was a hot yoga class, not easy in fact my sole focus was to not pass out in front of all those women! It was during a difficult period of my life. It occurred to me that I did not have a concern outside of that room in 90 solid minutes! Months before only alcohol did that for me... i had left that behind and in less than two hours discovered that the first day of the rest of my life began on a 3x5 1/2. piece of rubber mat and a pool of sweat.

Years of footbball, baseball, track had began to take a toll. I felt the old injuries, as they healed I left yoga behind for a while and delved deep into the martial arts world, studying in the shadows of Bruce Lee and one Mixed Martial Arts. I competed in the Can Am Police and Fire Games with fair success. By the time I became a Black sash Kung Fu candidate, I was in need of ACL reconstruction and had twice dislocated Right shoulder, and a neck injury. Never mind that, at that point I had been a professional firefighter for 15 years... my job was in jeopardy.

At work I double braced my knee learned to use my left arm, and just "manned up".  Realistically, iwas putting   my life and others at risk. I began to get back to yoga classes at the gym and in short order was able to start from modified poses to actual chaturanga pushups! My neck was getting better, not perfect but much better. The habit became obsession so I trained to be an instructor. Still I eventually needed an overhaul on the bum knee. I was now armed with an educated knowledge on rehabilitating myself with yoga. I didn't turn my back this time. I used the fact that I was teaching in a steel brace to demonstrate the value of working with what you have without risk.

At one time I ran marathon distance, threw a baseball a country mile, had great triceps, punt 40 yards,   strike 7 times a second and run a six minute mile. By the. time Iwas 35 years old I was taking 7 western medications, couldn't crawl on my knees, or sleep, drank too much and had ballooned to 240 Pounds at 5'10"... I felt like I was wearing 55 badly.

 Im now 46 years old can do the splits (nearly), take one western medication weigh in at about 210 (ill never be one of those svelt slender yogis). I have more functional strength than most men my age and more flexibility of almost any woman I know.

Look Im still a guy. I can still fix a car, crawl into flames, play with creepy animals and speak like a  pirate. Iv discovered a way to get out of my head and in tune with my body, the experience bleedsast the hour on the mat. Im a more compassionate fit firefighter, a kinder more patient husband.

Of course id lime to see more men experience what I have found but honestly being the minority amongst such great women, rounds off my hard corners. I see men relax their bravado and transform

1 comment:

Grace S. Chiang said...

Dear Brian:

Thanks for sharing this. Lately I also feel the benefit of yoga to me more and more (just like Reiki). Your story will encourage more people to love and take good care of ourselves.