Tell us a little about yourself:
I’m 48, have 2 great teenage kids, a wife, and all the problems and trappings of modern life. One day earlier this year, I woke up fat, out of shape and decided I better make some changes before it was too late. On May 4th, weighing in at 332 pounds, I decided to start counting calories, walking every day and trying to make those changes. So far, I’m down 34 pounds, with 100+ more to go. Unlike other times I’ve tried to lose weight, this time I’m committed and, more importantly, focused.
How long have you been practicing yoga?
Not long enough. Like many things, I talked about trying yoga for years before finally stepping out of my comfort zone to try it. On May 10th of this year, I signed up for the “Intro to Yoga” series of classes and on May 11th, my yoga journey began. Even being horribly out of shape and spending the first few classes just trying not to pass out, I knew I wanted to continue because of the almost immediate impact yoga had on me.
What drew you to the practice?
I was looking for some form of exercise to do that could scale with my abilities, or lack thereof. I watched a couple “yoga for fat guys” videos on YouTube and decided I’d give it a try. I smartly decided I’d be better off finding a studio, and getting professional instruction, as opposed to trying to learn via video. Being in the studio is great because it’s free of every day distractions and it allows you to focus, not to mention the support of the instructor and other people in the studio.
At this point, what is your favorite aspect of yoga?
I thought I was getting into yoga for exercise, but what I didn’t know was how it would impact other parts of my life. Starting each class focusing on breathing, letting go of life’s problems and setting an intention really resonates with me. That’s something yoga gave me that I didn’t know I needed. Then with a clear mind, I can concentrate on trying to improve. Improve my focus, improve my strength, improve my flexibility and improve my life. I take that mindset with me and try to apply it in my daily life. Because of yoga, I’m stronger today than yesterday. I feel better, I sleep better, I’m more flexible and I’m more focused in my daily life.
What would you tell anyone thinking about trying yoga, who might be a little apprehensive?
Try it. You might like it. If I can do it, anyone can. Yoga can adapt to you and your situation. It’s not easy, but it’s beyond rewarding. I leave each practice pleasantly exhausted, but I also leave refreshed, renewed and focused. Yoga can have a positive impact on your life, just as it has on mine.
Do you have a favorite quote or mantra that you live by?
I don't have a personal mantra, but I do have one that I've used as the only two rules in our family.
Always do your best.
Always do what's right.
I tell my kids if they follow these two rules, everything else will work its way out.
Photographs by Emma Stasko Photography