When did you start practicing yoga?
I have been practicing yoga since December 2011 while at Penn State for graduate school. The combination of stress and work that is piled on to the average graduate student is enough to make any person want to run away and live as a hermit for the rest of their days… or maybe that was just me. Yoga helped keep me sane. From my first yoga class on I could feel myself relax more, think with a clearer mind, and breathe with greater ease. I was hugely inspired to begin my yoga practice thanks to my amazing advisor and friend. She is a practiced yogi and one of the strongest and most intelligent women I will probably ever meet.
Where do you practice and teach?
I currently teach alignment-based yoga at 3Tree Yoga in Fort Worth, and stand-up paddleboard yoga at Just Be Well Yoga in Lake Worth. I try to practice at other studios around DFW and anywhere I travel. I love to learn what new studios and teachers have to offer.
What’s your favorite yoga style? Do you have a favorite pose?
My favorite style depends on the day and what I’m feeling. I have been exploring aerial yoga, and love teaching restorative yoga. My favorite pose lately has been twisted lizard, parivrtta utthan pristhasana. The combination of a shoulder, hip and quad stretch with a slight backbend feels perfect every time.
Do you think there are any advantages or disadvantages of being a male instructor?
I think one advantage of being a male instructor is that it encourages men to try yoga. I think men are getting away from the notion that yoga is too easy or only for women, but I still hear this on occasion. I think that male vs. female yoga instructors bring very different energies to their classes. Not better or worse than each other, but different, and it can be refreshing.
One very small disadvantage comes to mind: yoga clothes! A few stores have yoga-specific clothing for men, but I find that it can be somewhat limited.
How do other people perceive you outside of the yoga community being a male instructor?
Some have been taken by surprise while others find it interesting when I tell them I have been practicing yoga for about six years and teaching for two.
Will you share a funny yoga experience with us?
The funniest thing that I have been asked as a male yoga instructor was by a male student. After class, the student came to me and asked (in the most tactful way possible) how to get into eagle pose, garudasana, without crushing down on a certain body part. I laughed and offered him a few modifications for the pose to make it a little more accessible. I was glad that he felt comfortable enough to ask me, though!
What advice do you have for other men who are thinking about getting into yoga?
Yoga is not just sitting and breathing, it’s not just for women, and it’s definitely not easy. Yoga is for every one of any body type and any age.
It is a powerful tool for dealing with stress, and improves your physical and mental health.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us or our readers?
Yoga is a practice that you can take with you everywhere you go. You need nothing but a little spark of determination and kindness.