Men’s Yoga – Pandemic Update

Last month we tried to restart the Monday night class via Zoom. Additionally, we experimented with people attending live, while still offering via Zoom for folks at home. This was very limited, only two people in the studio. I wanted to gauge my ability to teach both Zoom and in person attendees at the same time, as well as our comfort level without masks.

The short take is that I think it could have worked. However, that changed with the statewide order requiring masks indoors. I do not want to teach or do this practice with a mask or shield on, it’s too much of a distraction for me personally. Many have also shared with me a similar disinterest in trying to practice Yoga with a mask on.

  • So, it’s back to Zoom only classes for the foreseeable future.
  • Monday’s class is canceled again. Though I am game to restart it, via Zoom, if there’s more interest.
  • Wednesday Morning’s Chair Yoga for Men class has been doing well and will continue. If you haven’t tried it, please do. I find it a very compassionate practice, especially at this time with all that is going on.

 

Chair Yoga for Men via Zoom

Wednesday’s at 7am PST

All you need is a sturdy chair with no arm rests or swivel and a mat.  If you’re practicing on a carpet you may not even need a mat, and it might work better to have shoes on.

 

I do not publish the Zoom chat information online, to screen out the would be ne’er-do-wells. So if you’re finding out about this class for the first time, please email me for more info.

Stay Safe!

André

 

Survey Results:

It should be said that while many of us are fatigued by the pandemic and there’s certainly a range of responses, a big part of my comfort level in returning to in-person classes was based on the precautions people reported in the survey I did last month. I sent the email to 40 people and we had 14 people take the survey.

Are you interested in returning to in-person classes on Mondays at 5:30pm?

  • Yes – 4
  • No – 4
  • Maybe with different precautions – 0
  • I will attend Via Zoom for now. – 6

Are you interested in returning to in-person classes on Wednesdays at 7am?

  • Yes – 4
  • No – 7
  • Maybe with different precautions – 0
  • I will attend Via Zoom for now. – 1

Will you wear a mask in class?

  • Yes, and I prefer that others do as well. – 4
  • I will wear a mask. – 3
  • No, but I will be mindful of others and practice social distancing. – 4

Because when we gather in person we share some risk, what has been your response to COVID-19?

  • Strict social distancing, only go out when necessary, and I always wear a mask. – 6
  • Have some exposure via work and community, I wear a mask in crowded places. – 7
  • I’m trying to live a normal life and respect other’s choices but seldom wear a mask. – 0
  • This is a Liberal hoax! – 0

Wednesday 7am Zoom Class

Two weeks ago we had an Zoom chat Thursday evening. Then we did a trial Zoom class the following Wednesday morning. The short story is that we are going to do the Wednesday morning chair Yoga class, at the usual time, via Zoom while we’re still in lock down.

A longer version, the consensus from the guys who attended the trial class was that it is worth a punch on the card.  And while it was a different experience, it was also nice to see some familiar faces and chat a bit.  And let’s not forget the usual excellent humor.

Class will be in the 40-50 minute range.  We’ll also be opening the room 10-15 minutes before the official start time, and people are welcome to stay afterwards to chat. Please feel free to try it out the first time, on me.

If you are just finding out about the class, please email for details.  You can find my Email address on the side bar to the right.

I was touched by the variety of people who showed up for both the chat and the trial class. John joined us from Portland. I hadn’t seen Ken for over a year. Two guys from Monday’s class tried it out. And, a kid I had worked with years ago, who’s now a young man, found one of the videos I had recorded and reached out to me. He came to the online class. It was really nice to see everyone. I appreciate each and every one of you.

Additionally, some of us have some immune issues that might require maintaining social distancing longer than the general population.  If we do transition to in-person classes in the near future, I am planning to offer a Zoom class at a different time if people would like that.

Please take care of yourself!

Men’s Yoga – Online Classes

Lud·dite /ˈlədˌīt/ noun

1. derogatory, a person opposed to new technology or ways of working.

As someone who feels technology should serve us, and too often it’s the other way around, I am trying a COVID-19 re-frame. This whole quarantine/social distancing phenomenon is a chance for ‘personal growth.‘ And along those lines, I have gotten more involved with technology. Nate at FOF picked up an iPad tripod mount, they’ve been doing Zoom meetings for their fitness classes.  Meanwhile, Steph and I have been experimenting with recording videos.

Last week we recorded and uploaded the opening meditation of our Wednesday morning Chair Yoga class.  This weekend we recorded a 30 minute routine suitable for the Monday class:

 

Monday Evening Men’s Yoga

Standing, leg work & balance – 30 minutes

 

 

And we recorded two more videos for Wednesday’s Chair Yoga for Men. Between all three, it should mimic the entire 60 minute class. Recordings are broken down like this:

 

Wednesday Morning, Chair Yoga.

1A Opening seated meditation – 20 minutes

 

 

 

Wednesday Morning, Chair Yoga.

1B Standing – leg work & balance – 25 minutes

 

 

 

Wednesday Morning, Chair Yoga.

1C Floor, core, and savasana – 15 minutes

 

 

There are many ways to view these videos.  Phones are an option, but are a small screen.  iPads aren’t much better.  If your DVD player has the ability to view YouTube, a bigger screen is recommended.

When I practice with a video, I keep the remote handy so that I can pause it, if it moves to fast.  I’ve tried to keep these very basic and in line with our usual series.  You guys are generally perpendicular to me, but I prefer to be parallel when I’m practicing with a video.  Your choice.

If you like these please comment, follow or ‘like’ on YouTube, Facebook or on the post on the Website. If you’ve got constructive criticism, shoot me an email. I’ve received a couple of suggestions for live Zoom classes, if you’re interested drop me a line.

Information Overload:

There’s so much news out there regarding the coronavirus and the precautions we are taking as a society and how they are impacting our personal lives.  And while I appreciated Chinh Le’s ‘As I See It‘ column in the GT last week (local doc, now retired), remember to pay attention to your emotional diet. I find myself turning off the news and listening to music more and more.

Guy Stuff:

Another project that Steph and I took on was creating our version of The Ultimate Camping Vehicle. This has been something I’ve had in my head for years. I can’t say enough how much mental space some of those unfinished goals or even chores can take up. Please keep your figures crossed that we flatten the curve and the restrictions are eased by September, we’ve got a two week trip to Utah planned.

 

Men’s Yoga – Coronavirus Update

Gentlemen, as we remain in the midst of the Coronavirus lock-down, I thought it was time to resurrect the Men’s Yoga Email Update. So here goes. I’ve been getting emails from different folks and appreciate the kind words; from how the body is missing the work out, to even missing the jokes!  Who knew?

Alas and alack Corvallis Men’s Yoga remains on indefinite hiatus.

Trevor Noah interviews Dr. FauciI have been remiss to get back to you all on one point; though I may have been exposed to the virus, I did not display any symptoms associated with this virus. Remember, it manifests itself differently in each person, so we can be contagious without knowing it. For more information from two guys I really like check out Trevor Noah‘s interview with Dr. Fauci.

Opening Meditation:

Everyone out there is doing videos, and I’ll admit some hesitancy to putting myself out there like that. But, flattery will get you everywhere. The demand was overwhelming; two people suggested I get with the times. So, I recorded the opening seated meditation that we do in our Wednesday morning class. It’s simple, familiar, and attainable. You can do just that, or segue into some stretches on your own. (Recording any more of these will be highly dependent on your feedback.)

Guy Stuff:

And finally, a new feature on the blog and email update will be called “Guy Stuff.” Lately, Norm and I have been trading pictures of our woodworking projects, and I didn’t want anyone to feel left out of the loop. Steph and I have been working on a bed frame, reusing wood from another project. You can see the progress here.

This is a great time to work on projects or return to hobbies. This kind of work can be a meditation of its own. In Yoga we use the body to occupy the mind. We can do the same with our hands. Use your hands to busy the mind.

Please take care of yourself by eating right, going for walks (at appropriate social distancing, of course) and getting enough sleep. Reach out to people too; give ’em a call, or shoot ’em an email. Stay in touch. I miss you guys.

André

Hemlock and Pine Bed

When they moved up to Oregon Steph’s son, Tyler, made a platform that extended a foot around his mattress.  The rooms were huge and it filled the space nicely.  However, when Steph graciously chose to move into my little house with tiny rooms, that was out.  Plus, we wanted the mattress up higher.

So, we repurposed the clear grain hemlock boards from the platform bed, and used pine for the posts.  The plugs are walnut.  Some photos before finish:

Click here for more photos and details.

Yoga and Emotions

We often come to yoga for the body; low back pain anyone? Or we want to maintain our range of motion, “I can’t tie my shoes!” However, there are other benefits to yoga such as emotional regulation and stress reduction. So while participants in the Rotterdam Study report that meditation and yoga helped them cope with stress, science attempts to answer why this is so. And here is what they discovered:

“Participants who reported practicing meditation and yoga also tended to have smaller right amygdala and left hippocampal volume compared to those not practicing — and right amygdala volume tended to decrease over time among practitioners.”

So what does this prove in regards to yoga?

Well, “research suggests the right amygdala controls fear and aversion to unpleasant stimuli.” In yoga, we first learn the power of calming the body through breathing (pranayama). And then we contort or hold an uncomfortable posture (asana). In both we observe sensation and we build the capacity to choose how to respond and whether to react, or not, to emotions and stress.

So if your motivation is the body, we’ve got you covered. Dealing with an emotional issue? That works too. Yoga isn’t talk therapy, but through the process, we’re able to participate in our lives better.

Men’s Yoga, Mondays 5:30pm to 6:30pm
Chair Yoga for Men, Wednesdays 7am to 8am

The Ultimate Camping Vehicle

Years ago while camping with my daughter in Canada’s Waterton National Park, the wind came howling down the lake driving rain into the tent.  It whipped us all night long.  I was on the windward side and by morning my sleeping bag was soaked.  At the time I thought how nice it would have been to be able to sleep in the back of the truck.  So upon return, I started making a deck for the back of the truck (1996 Mazda B2300).  Here’s the first attempt.

 

Josephine, 7 at the time, loved the idea and loved climbing up on top.  It wasn’t long, however, before I realized that even in my mid thirties, it was hard for me to get in and out.  Additionally, as an only child, it was more fun for Josephine to bring a friend and a two seat pickup truck didn’t cut it.  I swapped vehicles with the ex when we’d do our summer camping trip and set this idea aside.

Fast forward; the kids are grown and when Steph and I started camping together, we revisited the deck concept with the original set up in the B2300: the deck coming all the way to the tailgate, splitting the bed/canopy in half.  And while it worked, there were several things I didn’t like.

One, the back of the bottom level was hard to access leading to unused space.  Two, larger items block visibility above.  Three, with the cooler under the deck you have to open the tailgate and pull it out, just for a snack.  I use the tailgate as a work space and a place to sit on while at a trail head.  And lastly, many folks design their camping rigs with the mattress/sleeping arrangement permanently set up.  That takes up too much space for my liking.  Plus, I really enjoy the ritual of setting up the campsite and breaking it down, and leaving no trace.  Tents and canopies these days go up quickly.  Steph and I can set up or take down in under 30 minutes, rain or shine.

So, in our new-to-us 2003 Nissan Frontier (check out Club Frontier) here’s what we did.

  

We built the deck just above the wheel wells and it stops short of the tailgate so that two coolers fit just inside.  We can access them without having to drop the tailgate.  We fit six 10 gallon Rubbermaid containers and the canopy under the deck.  The two farthest back have emergency supplies, so we don’t need to get at them frequently.

The top of the deck has a lot more space, items are more accessible, and they don’t block the rear view mirror to the same degree.  And, we still have room for more, if we need it.  The following is a list of gear and where we store it:

On top of the deck we have:

  • two 2″ foam mattresses, pillows, and our double sleeping bag, loosely packed
  • one 10×10 roomy tent and a back up 7×7 tent for smaller sites
  • two camp chairs, hammock
  • two bins, one for boots, water shoes, and hats and another for day packs
  • dry goods bin, 5 gallon water jug
  • stove, lantern, distribution post and 2.5 gallon propane tank
  • a larger bin with clothing options such as warm jackets, rain gear, etc.

Under the deck we have:

  • back bins; emergency supplies, duck tape, tools, extra batteries, etc.
  • middle bins; wood, kindling, hatchet and dish drainer, picnic table items
  • front bins; pots, pans, kettle, mugs and utensils, dishes, Tang, tea
  • 10×10 canopy, usually set up over the picnic table
  • two coolers in front of the deck

Extra-cab behind our seats:

  • we each have a clothing bag and bathroom bag
  • we each have a sweatshirt or light coat loosely packed
  • a lodge backpack with guidebooks, maps, chargers, etc.
  • jumper cables and med kit

One of the things we did recently was to improve the storage in the extra-cab, behind the seats.  The drive train creates a bump, and Steph’s side has the jump seat.  Between the two her bags would bunch up slide down.  So we built a deck that flattened it out and made the space wider.  We also utilized the gap underneath for easy access to the med kit and jumper cables.

Chair Yoga for Men

You know that old recruiting slogan; “We need a few good men?” Well, we need a few more men for our Wednesday morning Yoga class. And the great thing is… you don’t have to be good, you don’t even have to be flexible. You only have to show up and try and you receive the benefits.

We call the class Chair Yoga for Men. We used to call it Senior Men’s Yoga, but my goal for this class is much more than one demographic. This is a great class for men who are:

  • new to yoga
  • more interested in relaxation or meditative aspects
  • have a little extra in the middle
  • are working through/recovering from an injury
  • would prefer less bravado and spandex than the gym environment

Regulars have reported better sleep, more ease in their bodies, better balance and being able to get down on the floor to play with their grandkids. And then get back up!  First class is free.  So what have you got to loose?

7am on Wednesdays at the Willamette Wellness Center / FOF.

This is a Yoga Pants free zone!

What about screening for osteoporosis in Men?

Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by a decrease in the density of bone, decreasing its strength and resulting in fragile bones. This can lead to fractures and breaks as we age.

The good news is that weight bearing exercise like Yoga, with focus on alignment and balance, helps maintain bone density and prevents falls. So keep at it!

However, the past emphasis on osteoporosis has been towards women and that “has fostered a sexist view of the bone-weakening disease. That’s harmful to men, whose bones also weaken with age, though later than for women. What’s more, men are twice as likely as women to die within a year of breaking a hip, research shows.”

A change in diet and supplements can help but checking with your primary care doc is probably wise.

Chair Yoga for Men

Senior Men’s Yoga has moved to a new time; 7am on Wednesdays.  Yes it’s early, and there was some grumbling from the regulars used to the afternoon time.  But, it’s a great way to start the day.  We’re also shifting the focus slightly and rebranding the class as Chair Yoga for Men.

Chair Yoga is a general term that simply means we are modifying poses and exercises to make them more attainable.  Postures are done seated on the chair or the chair is used for support (as needed) during standing and balancing poses. Chair YogaThe chair allows for greater stability to help you feel supported and safe.  Just as important, basic body mechanics of postures are retained no matter the individual’s circumstance.

You don’t have to sit cross legged on the floor to do Yoga!

In addition to a good stretch, chair yoga participants have reported better breathing habits and improved sleep patterns, reduction of stress and more ease in their body.  Chair Yoga for Men is suitable for seniors, people working with an injury and guys with a little extra in the middle.  Beginners are welcome.

Yoga at Fitness Over Fifty does require a Fit Class Pass at an extra cost to members.  But, you do not have to be a member to take the class.  And, first class is free.  Come check out Chair Yoga for Men at the new time.  If you have additional questions, contact André at 541-760-9122 or andre.alyeska@gmail.com.