I went to my first hot yoga class in March, 2010. Up until then I was staying in shape through running, working out at the gym and the occasional bike ride. Yoga? I thought yoga was for flexible people who couldn’t run. And I could run. But I was always curious about this ancient, somewhat mysterious, yoga practice and decided it was time to try something new. After all, I reasoned, I’m in great shape and those yogis got nothing on me… Simply put, I was certain yoga was for sissies and I was going to show everyone it was nothing for a guy like me. Besides, I told myself, yoga is for women and that’s because it is too easy for athletic men. And so I asked Leah to take me to the yoga class she attended, which turned out to be a Bikram hot yoga class.
At the studio, my prejudice was bolstered by the fact I was the only guy in the room. Aha, this is going to be a piece of cake, I thought. Admittedly, the heat wave did surprise me as I first walked into the room. But on a cold Saturday morning in March, that initial encounter felt pretty good. Yet, lying on the mat, I felt somewhat out of my element, being the only man. Then the instructor came into the room and, unbeknownst to me, my life was about to change in a very fundamental way.
We started with what seemed like a very strange breathing exercise and continued with the various poses. I was sweating and struggling to breathe. “What is going on?” I asked myself. This is not at all what I was expecting. After what felt like a very long time, watching the rest of the students move with relative ease, I began to ask myself the ultimate question: “Will this ever end..?” It turned out we were barely half way through. To make a long story short, when class ended I was lying on the floor, exhausted as much as I was during my days in basic training. I had to admit my precious derrière was handed to me. This was not for sissies!
That night I slept great in a position I hadn’t in years. An irritating back pain that used to come and go entirely disappeared. Something had happened and I had to figure it out. And, so, I went back for another class, and then another and then one more and before long I became a regular practitioner. Yoga has this powerful, subtle way, in which it entirely takes over you and makes you joyful, focused, loving life.
As the years went by I found myself getting more and more serious about my yoga. Daily plans and meal times were arranged around class schedules. My body changed, becoming stronger, more flexible, my mind quieter. Yoga had become my passion. I was fortunate to be able to practice at studios around the country and the world. It is an incredible experience to be in a different country, practice yoga in a language I do not speak, and yet understand everything through the common words of yoga.
Eventually, I grew tired of sitting in a cubicle. What I really wanted to do in life was yoga. I wanted to share this amazing gift with as many people as I could; to try to be of service to people and bring something good to others. Thus, Radiance Hot Yoga was born.
Gentlemen, yoga is not just for women. Women may have led the way, but it is not too late to catch up. Yoga will get you in better shape and will make you stronger – physically, spiritually and mentally. It will make you better partners. Would you pass on that..?
This is my story. Come share this amazing yoga journey with us!