When did you get into yoga?
I began practicing yoga in 2000, back home in Minneapolis. That was the year I started racing triathlon, and I realized that my body was not going to keep cooperating with me if I didn’t start doing something nice for it. I started teaching in 2005, while I was a graduate student in New Mexico — I taught yoga and a beginner Muay Thai group at the campus gymnasium, and poetry, composition and rhetoric for the English Department.
Where do you practice and teach?
This summer I’m mostly practicing at the White Rock Y — lots of Iyengar! — and I get over to Sync when I can as well. I’m teaching mostly private lessons for adults right now, and then I’ve been teaching classes for the kids at the Kessler School in Oak Cliff for the last five years or so. My son Pharaoh comes with me once a week to help teach the littlest ones for my pre-K class, whom he refers to as the “Marshmallow Cthulhus.”
What is your favorite style of yoga?
Favorite style would have to be Kundalini, but finding a good teacher in that style is even harder and even more important than in other styles. I studied with Guru Darshan in New Mexico for four years, and was fortunate enough to find Adriane Wolf here in Dallas. As far as poses go, my favorites are probably King Dancer (which I can do) and Mermaid (which I can’t.) I just find those two so beautiful.
What is one of the most humorous situations that have happened in yoga class?
The kids are always funny — a few months ago we’re practicing Telephone pose, drawing one foot back to the ear, and I look over and one of the boys has his foot shoved all the way into his mouth, gnawing it like an ear of corn. He pulls his soggy toes out of his mouth with a big “schlorp” sound and announces, very proudly, “This is how I got sick!”
What are other people’s perceptions of you as a male yogi?
I’m always trying to get other guys to come to yoga, but there’s that extra mental hurdle for men, like yoga’s somehow not manly. I was very resistant to yoga for a long time — you get to punch zero people in yoga class so I preferred to be doing Muay Thai. But I’m a true believer now — I used to have constant back and knee issues with all the accompanying pain, and yoga has done so much to alleviate all that. Give it a chance, gentlemen.
You bring yoga into your home with your son. Tell us about that.
Of course, I also get to raise a male yogi, which is interesting and challenging and an honor all combined. Pharaoh has been practicing with me (and coming with me while I teach) since he was pretty little. I remember walking into our living room when Pharaoh was about 3 years old — he had his mat rolled out and some of his stuffed animals on it, he was doing an asana, and got a big grin and said “Look Daddy! I’m showing Duck and Shark how to do Dog pose!” Now there’s a fulfilling moment of being a yoga teacher and a daddy.