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I do not publish the Zoom chat information online, to screen out the would be ne’er-do-wells.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

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!

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.

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.