Ebb n' Flow Yoga Community Inspiration features submissions by our beloved community. In this piece, Peter Kline shares about his yoga journey and invites other men to reap the many benefits of this practice.
I started practicing yoga many years ago as a supplement to playing sports. I reluctantly went to a class with a friend (she talked me into it!) and loved the feeling of movement and flow coupled with deep breathing techniques. At the time, I was avidly playing soccer and golf and practicing Yoga helped considerably with both sports.
Early Days in Yoga
When I first started practicing yoga, there was only Hatha yoga at the studio I attended. As I recall, there were only two teachers - one male, one female - and the classes were 60 to 40, female to male ratio. The room was always dimly lit, so we all focused on ourselves rather than others. It was very "hands on," as a new fad so that there were assists in our alignment - some right, some wrong!
From the assists that did not feel right, I learned that my yoga practice has to be right for me. There is no "perfect pose," except my perfect pose. I learned patience as I learned about my body and these myriad yoga poses. It took time to master, one of the most important things I learned from yoga. I definitely left my "macho mentality" at the door so I could really enjoy and learn from yoga.
When I moved out of the city, I created a 15 minute morning yoga routine, since there was not a nearby studio.
The Benefits I've Found in Yoga
Nowadays, I often seem to be the only male in many classes and workshops. Although it does not surprise me anymore, I am puzzled why more males are not aware of the incredible benefits of yoga, both physical and mental. I enjoy it so much.
Yoga is simply a subtle life changing experience. From looking and feeling better, to being more confident and positive, to becoming a kinder and gentler person. Yoga really hits on all these cliches. Mostly, it always brings a smile to my face and joy to my heart that I want to share with others.
To My Fellow Men
The only advice I ever give to other males is to remember the word BAD and you'll do fine. Breath. Alignment. Depth. Just breathe slowly and rhythmically, listen to the teacher for correct alignment, and never worry about the depth of the pose! If you only pay attention to the breath and then to the alignment you'll be amazed how quickly you get the depth that you never thought you could achieve. Anytime I have strained something in yoga, I rewind and realize that I was holding my breath, clenching my teeth, or tightened my tongue against the roof of my mouth. The principle of yoga is what I can release not what I can tighten. Just breathe! Everything else is optional.
I practice different types of yoga, from very intense to restorative. I can find all these options at Ebb n' Flow Yoga. The studio itself is so neat and clean and everyone I have met there - from teachers to students - are the nicest, most non-judgmental, and helpful individuals. I always look forward to practicing at Ebb n' Flow Yoga and always leave smiling and thinking about how soon I can return. I love the studio and everyone in it, pure and simple.
So just do it! There is no other exercise that will make you feel better and improve everything else you like to do and your life in general. What you learn about your own body and yourself is worth it alone.
Peter, your practice, humor, and presence is an incredible source of joy. I am inspired by what you've shared, pure and simple. And I do NOT think it's a coincidence that your anniversary with Ebb n' Flow Yoga falls on Valentine's Day. With much love, Joy