No, that doesn’t mean I am intending to teach it (yeah, right…imagine that!?!) It means that I have committed to myself to make my practice of yoga a regular part of my life; knowing the benefits of the practice on my body and my mind.
I am not one of those yogis who contorts himself into strange positions or who goes to yoga retreats (who knows, maybe one day) and practices yoga morning, noon and night and eats pieces of leaves as a way of detoxing my body.
No, I have found a yoga style (Vinyasa) that challenges me each and every time I step on the mat and have been fortunate to have a few instructors who are amazing, encouraging and always are willing and able to assist me in perfecting my poses.
But, speaking as a guy and putting my cards on the table, I must admit that when I first started attending the classes, I didn’t always follow the rules of yoga…well, in particular, one rule.
Lets face it…for the most part, yoga is a practice more often enjoyed by women then by men (I think any guy who is doesn’t consider incorporating yoga into their fitness regimen clearly doesn’t understand yoga). As a result, for a guy like me who does understand the benefits of yoga, being the only guy in a yoga studio filled with women, is a great thing!
The main rule I broke when I first started practicing yoga was not keeping my focus inward. Often times, the instructor will encourage us to close our eyes as we go through certain postures…this is a way of not letting our ego get in the way when we see people next to us gracefully transitioning through postures as we struggle with ours.
At the time, I didn’t really care about whether my eyes were open or not to see if the person next to me was doing their pidgeon-pose correctly. Instead, I was scouring the room looking for the hot girl in the very tight and form-fitting Lululemons, with trickles of sweat descending between the shoulder blades of her very toned and muscular back!!
Remember, I am a guy (a happily married guy for almost 20 years to a gorgeous woman who too, looks awesome in her yoga-wear!!) and no, I am not dead! Knowing that there will be a room with some very attractive women is extremely motivating..especially on those really cold winter days when the last thing I want to do is to leave the comfort of my warm house to traipse through the snow and wind to sweat for an hour.
That being said, I have also learned over the four years of practicing yoga that my fellow yogis probably don’t feel the same way about me. I would suspect that seeing the rivers of sweat pouring off my body leaving my t-shirt soaked by the end of the practice, is probably more nauseating than motivating to my fellow womanly yogis. I don’t blame them, I probably sweat as much during a 75 minute yoga practice as I do during a 45 minute intense spinning class. By the end of it, I am drenched, hot and tired….not looking like the “studly-beefcake” I normally am (my wife is probably laughing out loud right now!)
As a result of this realization, I find myself focusing less and less on my classmates and more and more on my practice. My eyes seem to be closed for longer periods during the practice and if I do have my eyes open its because I am seeking a drishti point to maintain balance as I perform a posture that requires focus to allow me to balance on one leg (mountain pose or Warrior 3). Sometimes I have to forego a great “view” for fear that I will topple over and land with a thud on the hardwood floor and make a complete ass of myself.
But then, I see a Lululemon-clad behind in downward facing dog and I can’t help but open my eyes for a little peek!