Attention, Men of Lake Norman
And those who love them . . .
We want to make something absolutely clear. Are you listening? Good. Hey, put down that remote! Ok. Here goes…
Somewhere along the way, it seems that many of you have picked up the impression that yoga is not for guys, or that you don’t fit in yoga classes (or yoga clothing, for that matter). But at the Bindu, we’re on a mission to debunk that myth. You don’t need to don a pair of Lululemon tights and bend yourself into a pretzel to reap the many rewards of a good yoga class. And you know what? Your teachers LOVE having you there. Besides carrying the rich low tones of “Om” at the start of class, guys add a wonderful mix of humor and dedication to a group practice that we all love.
Two (of the many) Men of The Bindu
We asked two of our regular guy students, Joe Spitaliere and Dan LaBadie, to weigh in on what their yoga practice has done for them.
Joe, whose humor and humility inspire us all, says, “Yoga has helped me in three areas: physically, spiritually and emotionally. As a former college football player, cancer survivor and recovering alcoholic, I have finally found a workout that — because of the release I experience — makes me want to return right away. Love the physical benefits as well as the feeling of peace I receive!”
Dan LaBadie, an avid cyclist who recently rocked his first handstand, shared his journey.
My journey into my practice of yoga began in 1991 with emergency back surgery to correct herniated discs L4 and L5. I lost total feeling in the right side of my body from my hip to my toes. While the initial surgery was successful, scar tissue grew, and within 10 years, I was feeling the same chronic pain as I did in 1991. My options were limited — surgery to remove the scar tissue was out of the question, as the scar tissue would just grow back. After years of research, cortisone shots, trial and error, weight gain and large bottles of Ibuprofen, I had a nerve block. This gave me good relief, but it only lasted for 4 months. Three nerve blocks a year for the rest of my life was not the quality of life I had in mind!
With my doctor’s approval, I began to exercise with a yoga DVD. Our hope was that the temporary relief from the nerve block would allow me practice yoga, possibly lose weight, strengthen my core and extend the 4-month time frame between nerve blocks. Truthfully, all I wanted to do was to be able to bend over and touch my toes!
The yoga DVDs were helpful, but at a snail’s pace. I felt I needed some professional direction, so I joined a local gym that had certified yoga classes. Wow! I had no idea what I had fallen into. Yes, yoga was an amazing workout. And yes, it helped me to take the 4-month time frame and extend it to 6 months… to once a year… to every 18 months… to the point that I have not needed to see my pain management doctor in more than 5 years.
Somewhere during those years, with direction from my teachers, I stopped doing yoga as simply an exercise and started practicing yoga. At that “ah-ha moment,” my journey into the practice of yoga began, because the practice was not only good for my body, but for my mind and spirit as well. I’ve become more attuned to my body’s subtle messages, my resting heart rate has greatly decreased, I can somewhat control my breathing, and – best of all – “life balance” is no longer a dream but a part of my daily routine. My back issues, if they flare up, have gotten much easier to deal with because of my practice. The practice of yoga has better prepared me to handle my stress levels when life gets out of control.
Yoga can be practiced alone at home; however, the most important part of yoga for me has been the yoga community, and the insightful knowledge, direction and training from my teachers. “The practice of yoga,” is a journey that for me will never be complete, much like the journey of life and knowledge we pick up along the way. It truly has made me a better person both in my health, mind, daily attitude and spirit.
The things I have been able to accomplish run the gamut from small triumphs to large, life-changing accomplishments. I still can’t touch my toes at every practice, but some days, if the stars align, I can. I can hold the plank position for over 5 minutes. Recently I did my first handstand ever in my life. . . .Not bad for someone over the age of 50! As I said earlier, I have not gone back for pain management treatments in years. Yoga has made me healthier, a better co-worker, a better friend, and a stronger cyclist and athlete. I hate to think where, or who, I would be without it.
A friend recently sent me the following quote, although the author is unkown:
“There’s nothing more attractive than someone with a passion for something who looks at things positively and is always seeking to better themselves.”
Her note after the quote; “This is you.”
That is what yoga has given me.