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.

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Men’s Yoga – Summer Update

llamaVacations

There was some waffling on my part about the schedule for the last week of July as it’s Benton County Fair week and my kiddo is quite active in 4H.  (If you go, check out the Llamas!) As it turns out, classes will be held as usual through July.

However, there will be no classes the week of August 10th as we’ll be on our vacation to Yellowstone! And, FOF is closed Labor Day. So please make a note of the following dates for no class:

▪ Mon. Aug. 11th – Men’s Yoga – canceled
▪ Wed. Aug. 13th – Senior Men’s Yoga – canceled
▪ Mon. Sept 1st – Men’s Yoga – canceled

The Cosmic SerpentThe Cosmic Serpent

A book that has influenced my practice and understanding of Yoga is The Cosmic Serpent. I’ve elaborated on it in the past in class. Several of you have expressed interest in it, or it led to discussion after class. I finally reviewed it for the website.

Jeremy Narby is an anthropologist who enters the rainforest with the explicit goal to understand how the natives know what they know about the various plants from the Amazon. It is a story of how he can’t quiet accept what he learns. Even as he is confronted with proof, his rational, western trained approach can’t accept it.

triangle poseOver-dependence on the mat?

I really enjoyed the following article on how a Yoga mat can undermine your practice. Don’t get me wrong, we’re not giving up the mat. But the simple graphics in this article are very helpful in showing how the grip can make us lazy, allowing us to press outward, rather than engaging the flexors and the adductors inward in many of our standing postures.

Reducing our dependency on the stickiness of mat will increase proprioception and enable muscles to work in a more balanced way. It teaches us to become more mindful or our body movement and limitations. We’ll keep working with drawing our energy and action inward in while in poses.

See you in class!

Men’s Yoga – January Update

Happy New Year!

We’ve missed a few classes the last few weeks due to appointments, snow and the way holidays fell this year, but we’ll be back to the regular schedule this week: Men’s Yoga, Mondays at 5:30pm and Senior Men’s Yoga, Wednesdays at 2:30pm. Both at the Willamette Wellness Center.  Looking forward to welcoming in the New Year.

The Living MatrixThe Living Matrix

You may have heard me mention The Living Matrix in class in the past. One of my favorite quotes (usually when I’m asking you to smile) is “When we make an emotional shift… from frustration to joy… 1,400 biochemical changes instantly go off in the body.” I’ve reviewed it on the blog. The quick description; scientists are examining different healing modalities and attempting to explain how they work. What the movie doesn’t address are the criticisms of the methods. Many consider this “fringe” science. John Block and I met for coffee after he had watched it and we had a knock down, drag out fight. Not really, it was an enjoyable discussion. If you’re interested in watching it, I’m happy to loan my copy. Coffee is optional.

chase_bossartHow do you know Yoga is working?

In our yoga classes we practice asana, physical postures. The posture practice, though, is just the beginning of Yoga. Yoga is a rich and deep philosophy, distilled into 196 verses in a book called The Yoga Sutras. I have studied the Yoga Sutras with Chase Bossart, in the tradition of Krishnamacharya one of the more influential and well-respected “fathers” of modern Yoga.

Yoga is a linage system. Chase was one of TKV Desikachar’s last private students. Desikachar, is Krishnamacharya’s son. We are fortunate to be close to the source. In this article, Chase relates how Desikachar responded to the following question “How do you know your Yoga is working?” Desikachar responded quite simply. Chase fleshes it out a bit more. You might find it interesting.

See you in class!

Men’s Yoga – November Update

Some Housekeeping and Good News!

First, I’ve mentioned this after some classes, but it bares repeating. This year marks the first summer where classes haven’t dropped off. There is now a large enough group of guys that even if the most regular can’t make it, we’ll still have 4-5 guys on Mondays. Senior Men has a smaller group, but is very committed. I appreciate all of you, those who’ve been with me since the beginning and those who have joined recently.

Second, we will have class Monday evening on Veterans Day, FOF is open. And, we will have class as usual the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. If you haven’t been for a while, we’d love to see you! Men’s Yoga – Mondays at 5:30pm and Senior Men’s Yoga – Wednesdays at 2:30pm.

The Gospel of the ToltecsToltec Traditions

As you know, I’ve been reading deeper into Totlec traditions. I enjoyed Don Miguel Ruiz’s popular book The Four Agreements and am familiar with the authors related to Carlos Castaneda. But I wanted more background on the origin of the Toltec concept of intent.

One of the books I tracked down and have been reading from in class is The Gospel of the Toltecs. I’ve reviewed it here.

I find that the Toltec philosophy of intent parallels the Yogic focus of concentration. One of my favorite passages from the book: “Do not allow the scattered ashes and the crossroads to give you orders.” In other words, do not allow a past failure or the simple presence of a new choice to distract you. We clear away the clutter to attain the correct perspective. It’s often easier to talk about these concepts than to effect change. But that is why we practice!

Paul Grilley

Paul Grilley with friend.

Paul Grilley on Anatomy

I first came across Paul Grilley at Kripalu, where I got my certification. They used a section from his video Anatomy for Yoga during our training. Grilley is committed to helping people understand how their body works and why forcing the body into an “ideal” of the pose can cause injury. His contention is that we don’t often allow for skeletal variation and misunderstand tension and compression as expressed in poses.

Grilley recently responded to an article written by William Broad who has been examining injuries from Yoga both to Men and Women for several years. Broad has been criticized for generalizations and inaccuracies. However, I like how Grilley drills down simply in his response.

As Yoga instructors, we often say “listen to your body” or “back off as needed.” But this explains why pushing will actually do more harm than good, if we’re working against what the body can do.

Men’s Yoga Wednesday after Labor Day?

Hey, everyone… The Willamette Wellness Center/FOF is closed on Labor Day (Mon., Sept. 2nd).  However, I’ve booked the room for Wednesday, September 4th at 5:30pm.  I’ll need 3-4 solid commitments to go ahead and offer the class.

PS: This poll feature is new to me.  Post that you voted?

Finding our own expression in Yoga

Recently, I had trouble interpreting one of my student’s responses. “Jack” is the husband of a friend of mine. They had a private session with me at another studio a year ago, and that was that until I bumped into them a few months ago. We catch up. I find out that while she dropped out of Yoga, he had not, and has continued on. So I invited him to my Senior Men’s Yoga class.

men at gymJack checks out the class, enjoys it and signs up with a 15 card pass. This is great. He fits in well with the guys and this has been a hard class to establish. However, around this time I lose a couple of newer fellows for various health related reasons. Jack has had two hip replacements and he is still taking class from “Becky,” an experienced teacher I very much like and respect.

Well. This combination does nothing for my pervasive insecurity and leads me to wonder if Jack is getting anything out of my class. So I checked in with him briefly at the end of class and he indicated he was fine. Yet he must have sensed my angst, and gave the query more thought, because later that day he sent me an email. And that led to us chatting after class the following week. Continue reading

Yoga and Basketball

I recently finished reading Tiger in a Lion’s Den, by former LSU men’s basketball coach Dale Brown. It’s kind of what you’d expect in reading a book by a coach. It certainly isn’t a literary masterpiece. But, I’m a hoops junkie, and I’ll read most books on basketball by successful coaches just to see what’s there.

Brown was an emotional leader, one who played by the rules and was an outspoken critic of the NCAA. I enjoyed his stories regarding coaching against basketball luminaries such as Bob Knight of Indiana and Joe B. Hall of Kentucky. The story I relate here had to do with UCLA coach John Wooden. Continue reading

Men’s Yoga – April Update

Gentlemen,

I’ve got a brand new computer and it’s loaded with up to date programs. I’ve revamped the web site and am using a new email program. However, along with the ease of a new and fast computer, I’m confounded by a machine that does all sorts of things I don’t actually want it to do! It has been a fount of frustration. Plus, I’m spending way too much time online again.

So, I’m a Luddite, right? Technology is baaaad. No. I practice and teach Yoga. Continue reading

Men’s Yoga; starting back up this week.

Gentlemen,

It’s a new year and after two weeks off, we start back up with classes the second week of January.  Days and times remain the same, but I’ll repeat it here:  Men’s Yoga on Mondays, 5:30-6:30pm and Senior Men’s Yoga on Wednesdays, 2:30-3:30pm.

I read a story recently about a women who talked of taking up the piano again.  She enjoyed playing as teen, didn’t mind the practice.  But she kept putting it off.

In her 20s, she was wrapped up with her career.
In her 30s, it was marriage, work and family.
In her 40s, she bought a piano for her son to play.

But she always put it off for herself until one day, it caught up with her, and a little voice spoke up…

“When?”

She decided to “commit to 15 minutes a day and see what happens.”

What she discovered was that she ended up practicing for longer than that most days, often 45 minutes to an hour.  And, she said, she couldn’t really tell you what she had set aside in order to play the piano.

“I seem to get as much done as before.”

“There had always been time; I just hadn’t known it was there.”

See you in class!

André

Update 01/02/2014 :  Barbara Shelly, who wrote the original article about finding the time and taking up the piano again wrote a follow up column a year later; Life seems much richer when ‘later’ becomes now.

Men’s Yoga new location, adds senior’s class

Starting in January, my Yoga for Men classes will move to the Willamette Wellness Center / FOF at 6735 SW Country Club Drive, Corvallis, Oregon. It’s a very nice space.  They have blocks, but folks should bring their own mats, if possible.  And the price is quite reasonable (price updated, January 2013):

$9.00 – drop in         $7.00 – 15 class pass ($105)         $6.00 – 30 class pass ($180)

Beginning Men’s Yoga – This class introduces Men to Yoga and establishes familiar routines for the continuing student to build competency.  The class is active and can offer a work out to those who desire it, but it also includes a focus on alignment, breathing and relaxation. Mondays from 5:30-6:30pm

Beginning Senior Men’s Yoga – This is an accessible class that focuses on the set up of basic and attainable postures and breathing exercises.  We use a chair for balance and comfort and classes end with deep relaxation. Wednesdays from 2:30-3:30pm

Please note, while both classes are labeled “beginner” a main focus of these “men’s” yoga classes is to foster community among men.  So, any level is welcome.