Author Topic: A male's take on Yoga.  (Read 826 times)

bushwacka

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A male's take on Yoga.
« on: May 06, 2012, 07:16:48 pm »
this will be a nice blog

I have been doing yoga off and on since my SLC days. Due to unemployement during mud season I decided to use the extra time to REALLY get some core strength little did I know that I would gain so much more.

 I started off with the local beginner power yoga class 2 months ago and quickly realizes I would could push myself alot more if I was doing things right.  I also started to realize how bad my body is at certain things mainly static balance, flexiability everywhere, and core strength. I also learned this will work you as hard as you can go. At first I could not go that hard but now I can sweat like a mad man. IE the better you get the harder it gets.

 After a month of sticking to easier classes I stepped up to the 'vigorous" class. I started to learn more things. IE that unassuming girl next to you is a bad ass, the grandma next to you can do a headstand with her eyes closed...not an exaggeration. Where as the in the beginner classes were probably 60/40 female/male, quite frequently I am the only guy in the room, sometimes the instrutor is a fellow MTBing makes us 2 y chromosomes in a sea of Xs.  This is tough. Learning to balance and use your muscle to actively streach each other is one of the most painful things ever but I would rather suffer for 90 minutes than suffer for 90 years. but its amazing how strong you can become by just working against gravity and your own body.  The thing about yoga is it is not a sport! the only competition is against yourself but at the same time you should be content with your body is able to every given day.  In due time what it can do will be more and more.  Literally have gone far only to learn I have so much further to go.

 Play is something that we as adults forget because society tells us we should. Children know what make them happy and do it. Adults know whats makes them happy and then find a zillion excuses and make up a pitiful story to prevent them from having fun. In yoga there is play time and things to be learned, it might not happen right away but soon you will find yourself able to do some very fun and funny things. From doing what in my mind is the funny happy baby roll to being able to do headstands and handstands and crow.  It amazing what a limber, strong from the INSIDE out body is capable of doing. It build amazing confidence in one selfs to watch someone do something and mimic it exactly.

 Yoga is the stillness of the mind. It what my teachers keep telling me. The asana(positions) and breath are only vessels to achieve this. As some of you might know I have Aspergers coupled along with literally sometimes boundless energy. it is so hard to turn my mind off. Part of the reason why I ski and bike so much is the concentration on those activities turns part of my mind off. yoga requires more concentration than anything I have done thus far as well being while exhausting. Not only has it been making my mood remarkably better it has also given me real sleep. I have also started to be able to enter concision REM during corspe pose. Where women tend to verbalize thoughts, men who ironically only the majority of practitioners in India, tend to internalize them. This is a wonderful time to do it.  Regular yoga practice has been changing my personality and curing some of aspergerish tendencies.

 Being a guy in a girl world. Normally its the other way around girls invading supposed guy activities and sport.. It takes a brave girl to do that and I think a lot of other people will agree with me, it takes a brave, confident, secure guy to do this. You are going to enter a place where you have absolutely no advantage on the fairer sex. like I said it not a competition but for most guys letting go of their ego is impossible and its keep from them getting really strong. I also heard this one yesterday after telling my riding buddy with back pain he should try it. his response 'I am not flexible enough" he said it with a totally straight face. Internally I was laughing at ridiculousness of his statement.  Not going to yoga because you are not flexible enough is like saying I am not eating dinner because I am famished. The point is to learn. I am not going to lie. Yoga chicks are extremely attractive girls of all ages. They are also probably tougher than you could ever imagine. I have done my best to not leer and respect what I feel is their place. I am not there to look at their asana. I honestly do not know how they feel about me being there. Whether they are happy and content with me or feel I am invading their space.  In reality it not about others but only about what you can bring to your practice that day.

after a solid 30 days straight the results are amazing. I can not believe how much stronger my core is and what crazy positions I can do. This is transfering nicely to everything I do. My breath work biking has gotten so much stronger. My mind has become calmer and more thoughful. I have become a kinder person to everyone I meet. Overall I am beyond satisfied with what has happened to me. I am going to keep doing this. It has become my secert weapon to get though life.

bushwacka

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Re: A male's take on Yoga.
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2012, 08:09:34 pm »
the article is actually extremely true.

You do not do potentially dangerous poses untill the prep work is done. My shoulders are not strong enough to do shoulder stand yet so I DO not do it. the person posing in shoulder stand is not strong enough to do it either. you neck and head should be off the ground if they are not you do not do it!  This is why competitiveness and ego need to be left not only here but in most places in our life. if you are not ready do not do it! Black has it right the whole point is to do what you can do today, not what the person next to you can do. It would like dropping down Goat on your first day skiing, off course it is not going to go well.




LivingProof

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Re: A male's take on Yoga.
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2012, 09:35:15 am »
A good friend that had practiced yoga for years had a serious back injury one day during a yoga session doing the same thing he had done many times before. I searched the web and found lots of similar stories. Some people love it, some people hate it, and some people end up in surgery.

Max,
and some will need surgery for just sitting around and doing nothing. Your thoughts about yoga seem overly negative, and, I've friends who will swear by the benefits of strength and flexibility from (limited) yoga, including the elimination of pain in backs, hips etc. Pick your fitness routine, go do web searches and there will be warnings regarding overuse.

I do fear for anyone who becomes a zealot for any of the various fitness or eating programs that are touted as being the "real answer". Perhaps I'm just too middle of the road or simply unfocused, but, I need more balance than I've ever found in a single life-changing endeavor. Many times, I've been approached by someone claiming that they have found this great new life-solution and been asked to join the crusade. I think all should know my answer.

Josh, good luck with your new program and the mental tranquility aspects produced to date. You live on the edge far more than most...for better and worse. Your OP is well written and shows a depth of maturity, keep it up. But, don't do anything stupid or too much or too soon.





Svend

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Re: A male's take on Yoga.
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2012, 01:16:19 pm »
A good friend that had practiced yoga for years had a serious back injury one day during a yoga session doing the same thing he had done many times before. I searched the web and found lots of similar stories. Some people love it, some people hate it, and some people end up in surgery.

Some people who ski end up in surgery too.  ::)  Some of them are even very good skiers, but perhaps are not smart enough to know their limits.

Josh, good on ya for taking up this great practice.  I do yoga, but only occasionally, and not nearly as much as I should.  But when I do, it is amazing.  It feels like my entire body has been lubed on the inside (easy on the jokes, guys).  I use it only for flexibility and to get rid of stiffness in spine and hips and hamstrings.  I'm not much for the spiritual side of the discipline, but I respect those that see benefit from it and find stress relief and calm from it.

A lot of elite athletes are using yoga as part of their regular training.  And these are some pretty macho types -- football and hockey players, WC skiers, etc.   I sense that much of the stigma of yoga being a flaky, airy-fairy thing for blissed-out zen dreamers is disappearing, as more and more people are discovering the health benefits and that it just feels damn good to move with a fluid stride again.

Thanks for another thought-provoking post, BW.

« Last Edit: May 07, 2012, 01:37:04 pm by Svend »

midwif

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Re: A male's take on Yoga.
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2012, 08:57:31 pm »
BW
A nicely done bit of writing!
And I can't believe how much I agree with you!

Yoga has stood the test of time (paraphrasing Jim on the subject).
It has been around a long time. The recent rediscovery and growth of yoga has led to a lot of new
practitioners and new teachers.

Overly enthusiastic practitioners or those not warmed up enough are at risk for injury, for sure.
And there are some teachers who are better than others at being careful.
 
And yes, Max 501, one can become injured doing it. Just as you can at ANY sport.
I have been hurt most biking (born out by ER statistics, biking is THE most injurious of sports).
Swimmers shoulder, knee problems from running, shin splints, arthritis. And a few ski injuries too.
And I have had a couple of pulled muscles in the last 13 years of yoga practice. One due to over enthusiasm the other to in adequate warm up.

The only way I could do the century ride this past fall was stopping at each rest stop and doing 5-10 minutes of yoga stretches.


BW
FYI, I always count how many guys are in the class. It's great to see "the practice" become more co-ed. And the age range in one room is amazing. You can't tell by looking at someone how advanced they are or not.

30 days straight. I am envious. Enjoy!

L.
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jim-ratliff

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Re: A male's take on Yoga.
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2012, 11:01:58 pm »
Is recreational skiing a sport?

What about recreational triathlons?

What about the 100 miles of the Seagull Century last fall?

I'm not sure any of those are "sports" but they are certainly physical activities and call all result in physical maladies as  Lynn delineated.

« Last Edit: May 08, 2012, 06:49:09 am by jim-ratliff »
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midwif

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Re: A male's take on Yoga.
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2012, 07:32:00 am »
Yoga is a sport?

I hesitated on using that terminology when I wrote it, but decided to keep the word in for the sake of simplicity.

I had a feeling our socratic teacher would take umbrage. ;)

Yoga is sports best friend. Encouraging equal strength and flexibility on both sides of ones body, injury prevention for many.
And encouraging one to know one's body better and what it's limitations are. And to work to with those limitations.

A little chattarunga anyone? ;D
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jim-ratliff

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Re: A male's take on Yoga.
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2012, 08:19:44 am »
Max: 


I understand your take on the use of statistics, and I don't have those numbers either. However, I believe that biking may well be more dangerous than playing tackle football because a huge percentage of bike accidents are getting hit by cars.  Some smaller percentage is purely related to the type of riding (thinking hucking off cliffs on bikes now), but city biking is challenging. I almost feel blessed that the riders here in Northern Virginia are generally quite courteous (and maybe that's because I am).

Regarding yoga.  I didn't read the whole article, and don't plan to.  One article and one experienced yoga teacher's opinion doesn't create a consensus, just an opinion.
My quick read of the article sounded like he wasn't criticizing yoga, he was criticizing people's use of it; people's perception that to get any benefit from yoga you have to do all the wierd positions (or poses, whatever the word).  That sounds very American to me, we want others to "see" our commitment and success by the visible poses (that also sounds like a very "un-yoga-like" philosophy.
As far as the guy having a ruptured disk and thinking yoga would solve that. He was just dumb.  I've had a couple of ruptured disks (and successful surgeries to deal with them). That's like someone with a ruptured Achilles thinking that more running will heal his tendon.  I believe that yoga will gradually stretch the back muscles and eventually strengthen the core, two areas that may lead to disk problems.  But a ruptured disk is a real medical problem, and at least requires a real medical assessment.
I also know that Lynn, after being away from yoga for a short period, knows the things she can do may be limited, but still finds it an excellent work out. Her focus is a workout, not a check list of how many esoteric poses she was able to do.  How many people injure themselves lifting weights, I wonder?
Now, whether instructors know their attendees well enough to know what they can do and what they shouldn't attempt, I doubt it.  Like skiing, or biking, or anything else -- the best solution is an informed consumer.  The only one that is responsible for me is me, and if I make a stupid decision then shame on me.  Example.  I stopped playing softball in my early 50's after my first back problem.  Excessive torque on the back just didn't seem worth the potential negatives. Meput tore up a knee running down the soccer field, sometimes stuff just happens.


BW. Very coherent writing in your OP. Remember that this, like all of life, is a marathon and not a sprint.  Too much of a good thing doesn't necessarily make it a better thing, but this certainly seems to be having a positive impact on you.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2012, 08:28:37 am by jim-ratliff »
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jim-ratliff

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Re: A male's take on Yoga.
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2012, 10:06:41 am »



I'm not sure of your relative numbers. In any given year, I think there are a lot more kids in various football programs around here (from Pop Warner spring and fall leagues all the way through high school) than there are adult active bike riders.
And that is in an area of the country where I think there is a high percentage of bike riders.
So if the measure is just ER visits per year, then I think the numbers of participants are at least equal, if not skewed in favor of more football players.
Offsetting this is the fact that most kids also ride a bike some, I don't know how that affects the statistics.


A different approach would be to ask 1000 people that played high school football if they had an ER visit, and 1000 active road bike riders the same question. I think the road bikers would have more, but they participate over a much longer period.
FWIW, my only ER visits have been while biking (and from getting hit in the head with a baseball bat back in 7th grade).


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Svend

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Re: A male's take on Yoga.
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2012, 10:18:49 am »
FWIW, my only ER visits have been while biking (and from getting hit in the head with a baseball bat back in 7th grade).

Any lasted effects from that one, Jim?  ;D  Balance problems? Try yoga.  I've heard it does wonders for balance.   ;)

jim-ratliff

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Re: A male's take on Yoga.
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2012, 12:08:31 pm »



Yoga didn't even make te top 15?

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jim-ratliff

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Re: A male's take on Yoga.
« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2012, 12:15:27 pm »
Any lasted effects from that one, Jim?  ;D  Balance problems? Try yoga.  I've heard it does wonders for balance.   ;)
Not that I remember.  :D I woke up on one side of the trail, the bike was on the other side, there were a couple of guys standing over me, and the ambulance wa just pullling up. My helmet wa split all the way through (not just a crack) for about 6".  I still have no memory of what happened, but no other damage.  The helmet probably saved my life, I was out for about 15 minutes.  They released me from the ER quickly, no damage and I was completely coherent. Angels on my shoulder, I guess.


PS. Of course Midwif might argue about the lasting damage part.
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midwif

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Re: A male's take on Yoga.
« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2012, 02:39:40 pm »
Max 501
Please, whatever you do, don't do YOGA! :P ;D
Waaayyy too dangerous.

Meanwhile, the sound of oooommmmmmm.......
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jim-ratliff

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Re: A male's take on Yoga.
« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2012, 02:59:06 pm »

 :D
Quote from: Free World Dictionary
Sports:  An activity involving physical exertion and skill that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often undertaken competitively.

BTW, here are the top 15 sports that result in the most ER visits:

The Top 15:

1.Basketball: 512,213
2.Bicycling: 485,669
3.Football: 418,260
4.Soccer: 174,686
5.Baseball: 155,898
6.Skateboards: 112,544
7.Trampolines: 108,029
8.Softball: 106,884
9.Swimming/Diving: 82,354
10.Horseback riding: 73,576
11.Weightlifting: 65,716
12.Volleyball: 52,091
13.Golf: 47,360
14.Roller skating: 35,003
15.Wrestling: 33,734


I think you are being a little bit loose with your (or your source's) definition of sports?
Are (Skateboards, trampolines, recreational swimminging, recreational horseback riding, recreational weightlifting, recreational roller skating) sports?  I think they are just physical activities.  I don't know of any "generally accepted rules or customs associated with swimming other than staying somewhat close to the top of the water.  :o  I will admit that some of these activities have competitive adjuncts that probably meet the "sports" definition, but for all I know there may be competitive yoga as well.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2012, 03:07:31 pm by jim-ratliff »
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jim-ratliff

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Re: A male's take on Yoga.
« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2012, 03:13:24 pm »



And if we are requiring only once per year, then the number of kids playing tackle Nerf football in the backyard and guys playing tackle football at the beach to impress the babes swells those numbers well into the 100's of millions.
And the likelihood of getting hurt when out of condition and half drunk??  I rest my case!   ;)





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jim-ratliff

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Re: A male's take on Yoga.
« Reply #15 on: May 08, 2012, 03:19:50 pm »
Is Yoga a sport?


Unfortunately, I found these.  Yes, this absolutely makes Yoga a sport.


Headline:  Inside the VICIOUS world of competitive Yoga.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LB-23nwdKY


Young competitors awaited their time in the spotlight at the New York Regional and National Yoga Asana. Championship.
BTW, for those of you that won't recognize her, that's Lynn in picture number 11.
http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2012/03/04/sports/SPTSYOGA0304.html


« Last Edit: May 08, 2012, 03:26:39 pm by jim-ratliff »
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jim-ratliff

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Re: A male's take on Yoga.
« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2012, 03:48:55 pm »
BTW, poplulation of the US = 313 million


That's just the Census number.  The real number is much higher than that I think.  ::)


Actually I was amazed at the 100 million number for bike riders. 1 in 3 of the general population is much higher than I would have thought, and higher than my local experience.  I would find it easy to believe that one in 3 has an unused bicycle in the garage, however.
But I do think that a lot of kids (12 and under) wind up playing some sort of tackle football in the back yard during football season.  Probably the same ones that ride their bicycle every now and again. 
And, obviously, my arguments have devolved into the silly -- but I am proud of the competitive yoga find.  That qualifies yoga as a sport, and shows exactly the behavior that your original post highlighted and things the general population should not attempt.
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Svend

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Re: A male's take on Yoga.
« Reply #17 on: May 09, 2012, 07:16:35 am »
Gee, I hope no nanny-ish government safety zealots read any of this.  Helmets will soon be mandatory for all yoga classes.  But then again, it could prevent Jim from getting beaned again and avoiding further head trauma.   :D  Quick, someone start an advocacy group!

I gotta say, this thread has been most entertaining.  I'm imagining all sorts of hilarious scenarios, mostly involving overweight middle-aged men ogled lithe female practitioners in a hot yoga studio while trying strange contorting poses, and then getting hauled out on stretchers whining in pain.  Good fodder for an SNL episode....  8)

« Last Edit: May 09, 2012, 07:28:35 am by Svend »

jim-ratliff

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Re: A male's take on Yoga.
« Reply #18 on: May 09, 2012, 07:58:40 am »
I've heard reports that middle-age women frequently ogle the lithe, muscular male practitioners as well.
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bushwacka

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Re: A male's take on Yoga.
« Reply #19 on: May 09, 2012, 08:31:17 am »


 I am almost sure that happened to me today. the girl like turned her head away so quickly when I caught her

pretty good confidence booster for me.




midwif

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Re: A male's take on Yoga.
« Reply #20 on: May 09, 2012, 09:24:11 am »
I've heard this too!


WHO TOLD??? :P

Yes, my first and favorite class instrutor is a guy. Middle aged, shaved head,  with a VERY nice body.
Not hard to look at at all.

So I read the article last night. About what I expected. Nothing new.

I do vinyasa yoga which is a flow yoga. Poses are not held for long periods and one is encouraged to smoothly transition from one asana to the next.

I also self moderate and can feel when something is not right for me. And I listen. Mostly ;)

Now the article did mention thoracic outlet syndrome, which I did need surgery for. 10 yrs ago. Quite unpleasant.
But the main culprit of that was swimming and shopping, yes, shopping. The heavy bag on the shoulder in addition to shopping bags in each hand caused the blood clot in my armpit. Not yoga.

I tried Bikram once. I don't get the attraction. Dehydration and a false sense of improved flexibility d/t heat doesn't seem wise to me.

And by all means, be careful of the neck! I rarely do headstands anymore. If I do, the head has the least amount of weight on them of the three fulcrum points. I prefer forearm or hand stands.

But Max, in no way am I trying to convince you to do yoga. Kinda like skiing, find what works for you and follow that path.

We need to stop. We are giving Svend way too much entertainment. :o :D
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midwif

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Re: A male's take on Yoga.
« Reply #21 on: May 09, 2012, 02:02:31 pm »
Did you have the thoracic outlet syndrome before you started yoga 13 years ago?


Probably. The surgeon said my subclavian vein had old scar tissue on it indicating long term damage.
A combo of a congenital small amount of space, "settling" of the structure with age and repetitive exercise
with the arm lifted created the compression.

And because it could occur on the other side, I do not hold poses with my arms up for any length of time.
And you won't see me carrying ski's on my shoulders either!

But, to be clear, the only symptom I remember having was a sharp pain in my shoulder while christmas shopping and carrying a lot of bags for about 10-15 min straight. That was the clot lodging in my armpit vein.
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meput

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Re: A male's take on Yoga.
« Reply #22 on: May 09, 2012, 05:46:56 pm »
Gee Lynn, I have heard of "shop 'til you drop". But I don't think I have heard of "shop 'til you clot"   :-X.

If your favorite instructor was a guy with a bald head, is there any truth to the rumor that Jim 1 is thinking of shaving his head  :o !

I agree with Svend, this thread is a hoot ! ;D!

jim-ratliff

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Re: A male's take on Yoga.
« Reply #23 on: May 10, 2012, 02:49:42 pm »
Any lasted effects from that one, Jim?  ;D  Balance problems? Try yoga.  I've heard it does wonders for balance.   ;)
Svend:
Sorry, I answered the wrong half of your question.  The bat incident happened in Douglass, KS at school recess.  The population of Douglass is 1000 and there isn't any ER.  There was a GP in town that they took me to.  He put 5 or 6 stitches just above my left eyebrow, while I was continually pestering him until he grudgingly told me "yes, it's OK if you play in your league baseball game tonight".
 
I think I was 13, and I had beat out a 15 year old to be the starting first baseman on the 13-15 year old American Legion team.  Had to make that first game.

Not sure my mom felt quite the same way, but ... it was a much simpler time and place then.
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LivingProof

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Re: A male's take on Yoga.
« Reply #24 on: May 11, 2012, 06:25:24 am »
A small anecdotal story of skiing and yoga.

Some will remember that I joined Gary's Holiday Valley trip in January. Prior to going there, G and I skied his home mountain, Bristol, on Saturday. Gary knows about everyone in the locker room and he introduced me to a woman, who we met later on the mountain, and skied several runs with. During our first lift ride together, it became painfully obvious that she was going to be the dominate speaker and story teller. For those who have skied with Gary, you know that is difficult to accomplish, but, G makes it a point to engage others. I was relegated to mute status.

Anyway, she began to rant about the benefits yoga has brought to her skiing, specifically leg and core strength plus improved balance. She described the poses as very demanding on her muscles, but, well worth the effort. It was almost cultish worship of a program called Anusara Yoga, developed by a guy named John Friend. I went on the net to check it out, and, it's a major program with millions of $$$ sales and a whole network of local instructors and practitioners.

Then, this spring, a major scandal developed when it became known that Mr. Friend had made some very close female friends (plural) in the program and participated in some group sessions of a very personal nature. Plus a little wee and maybe some alcohol. He may also be manipulating some $$$ that come into his foundation for more personal use. He has now left his Anusura foundation for personal recovery, and, he has been abandoned by former devotees.

There are no lessons to be learned in the above, it's just a simple story. It just confirms my personal beliefs that we need balance in our lives, and, there is very little magic. Don't know if yoga is better, equal to or even with other workout routines where we work against the weight of our bodies. But, as I age, my body tells me that it is aging faster than my mind, and, to be very careful with how I apply stresses to joints and muscles. For sure, working out has improved my life and permits me to accomplish activities like skiing or biking that most of my peers have long abandoned.

 

jim-ratliff

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Re: A male's take on Yoga.
« Reply #25 on: May 11, 2012, 07:06:45 am »



Clearly Mr. Friend developed an "advanced" program for select students and incorporated some some "enhanced positions" along with different cardio-vascular involvement.
I wonder if there is a book coming?
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midwif

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Re: A male's take on Yoga.
« Reply #26 on: May 11, 2012, 01:34:29 pm »
Anusara yoga is a faster moving yoga and somewhat cardio.
Hatha yoga is the slow moving one.
Vinyasa is in the middle. And my choice. Suits what I wanted and felt needed from yoga.

There have been several scandals surrounding different yoga guru's.
Is there any walk of life that hasn't? ::)

I like your philosophy Mike.
You should brand it. ;) ;D
"Play it Sam"