My Journey As a Male Yogi
My journey as a male Yogi began practising Yoga as a physical pursuit. Initially drawn to Hot Yoga, I enjoyed the heat, burning up to 700 calories an hour. It was a perfect way to stretch and actively recover from training in other more strenuous pursuits.
The practice was strong and very physical, but I would leave the studio feeling exhausted yet completely ironed out, calm and relaxed. There was also an inexplicable sense of well being.
As my interest in Yoga grew so did the number of teachers I came into contact with. I was introduced to styles ranging from Hatha, Vinyasa Flow, Restorative, Yin and Kundalini. Every teacher or style brought something different which benefitted me both physically and energetically in different ways.
At 37 I became a new dad, I started a new business, I took on a completely new role in my IT contracting career and we moved house all within the space of 12 months. My life had been shaken up (for the better) and I’d had little time to process any of it. By the end of 2014, I was emotionally and physically burnt out.
So I went on a journey of transformation, reconnecting with myself and finding a new purpose. It started with the plant medicine Ayahuasca and from there I peeled back the layers of my life. Healing and transforming unprocessed and often unconscious layers.
After experiencing various other healing and transformational modalities, I eventually found a pathway to inner peace through Yoga.
Yoga Teacher Training
In 2015, compelled to make changes to my life and future career, I decided to become a Yoga teacher. In 2017 the opportunity arose to train as a Yoga Teacher with Yogacampus in Manchester. At the time I didn’t quite understand why I chose Yoga of all things.
It soon became clear that not only was I learning to teach Yoga, but I was also developing deeper knowledge and skills to master my own life. Combining art, science, philosophy and spirituality in a relevant and pragmatic way, I transformed my understanding and appreciation of Yoga.
More importantly than learning to teach Yoga, I developed a personal practice that fuses ancient and modern techniques. Creating a system for meeting the challenges of life with greater ease, for cultivating longevity of health and happiness from within. It is this system that I share with others through my own teaching.
In a world that is becoming increasingly polarised and pressurised, we are constantly bombarded with messages to work harder and to consume more. It is easy to become caught up in that pressure cooker of expectation.
We may become disconnected from ourselves and we may become driven by our emotions. This pressure leads to feelings of stress and difficult emotions that can spiral out of control. Anxiety, depression, addiction, self-harm and at the very worst suicide may follow, leaving a trail of destruction and misery in their wake.
Yoga as an Antidote
Yoga is an antidote to this harmful spiral. It provides a pathway to reintegrate with ourselves and to our essence. With Yoga, we can develop an inner resilience to the external noise of life’s challenges.
If you can remain present during turbulent times, to sit with difficult emotions as they arise without attaching to them or judging yourself harshly, that is Yoga. If you can take personal responsibility in each and every moment for how you respond to each emotion or situation, that too is Yoga.
It requires commitment and constant regular practice. Even then there will always be times when it all falls away and we have to pick ourselves up again. This is much easier said than done but as with anything in life, it gets easier with consistent practice.
It starts with being kinder and more gentle to ourselves and one another. Throughout this journey of healing and transformation, this has been the overriding message. Check out my next blog for a longer essay titled Yoga – an Antidote to Modern Life for Men.