Intro to Men’s Yoga – Tuesdays in January

After a hiatus, Men’s Yoga Corvallis has restarted classes. Days and times have changed with Chair Yoga for Men on Sundays from 4-5pm and the more active Men’s Yoga on Thursdays from 5:30-6:30pm.

But what if you’re new to Yoga, what class should you take?

Well, Men’s Yoga Corvallis is offering a 4 week Intro to Men’s Yoga series in January. We’ll go over the set up of postures, learning the routines, and using props like the chair or blocks to make the exercise enjoyable and attainable. It will be a great way to determine which class is right for you.

So, jump start your new year’s resolutions with Intro to Men’s Yoga on Tuesdays in January from 5:30-6:30pm starting on January 10th. $20 for the 4 week session ($5 a class).

André Alyeska is a Kripalu certified Yoga Instructor, (CYT-200) who has been teaching Men’s Yoga in Corvallis for 10 years. For more info on weekly classes or to pre-register for the January Intro to Men’s Yoga session, please contact André at

Location: Classes are at the Willamette Wellness Center/Fitness Over Fifty. You don’t have to be a member of FOF to attend classes. Intro to Men’s Yoga $20 for the session. For regular classes, First class is free, drop-ins are $10, and it’s $8 a class with the purchase of a 15 class pass. It’s the best deal in town.

New to Yoga and wondering what to wear? Wear loose comfortable clothing.  I recommend knee length basketball shorts (briefs/not boxers, please) under sweats, and a short sleeve TS under a long sleeve TS. You can peel a layer off as needed. Yoga is pretty much done barefoot.  But I’ve had some guys keep shoes on if they’re got foot problems.  Some guys keep the socks on during the opening meditation.

What gear to bring? Most guys bring their own Yoga mat.  But we’ve got loaners, so don’t feel like you have to go out and buy one right away.  If you like the class, and it’s something you want to make part of your regular routine, you’ll probably want to get your own. We’ve got blocks and chairs.

Reviews can be found at: Facebook, Google, and Yoga Trail.

The studio juts prior to beginning Chair Yoga for Men.

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!



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

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.


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

Blaming the patriarchy for… everything.

There are a handful of Yoga blogs I read when I get the time.   J. Brown’s is one of them.  He’s pretty open about the path he’s on and  I’ve appreciated his matter of fact inquiry of Yoga through the masculine lens.  His recent post on patriarchy, hierarchy and culture seems to steer into a realm that is less centered and, frankly, takes too much on.

There were two things that jumped out at me, the vignette regarding his daughter listening to a Taylor Swift song and a comment about Men’s Yoga. This post is a response to Brogis Need to Recognize.


taylor-swiftJ. Brown, I don’t know what Taylor Swift song your daughter was listening to.  I’m not a fan of Swift’s more recent albums and image, but her early country-pop songs are pro-girl, without demonizing boys or femininity.  I had no problem with my daughter listening to songs like Fifteen, Love Story or Picture to Burn.  The point I’d like to make is that some of this stuff is innate.

Have you ever heard old hippies talk about how they kept the TV out of the house, would not buy their boys cap guns, etc., only to watch them pick up a stick, aim it at their playmate and go “bang!”?  I haven’t had cable since my daughter was born, the Barbie doll she was given quietly disappeared and she didn’t get any of the teen or preteen glam magazines; but suddenly when she turned 14 she got a hair straightener, started wearing makeup and cutting her jeans into Daisy Duke shorts.

My ex commented recently how our kid has a friend who is pretty competitive and judgmental looks-wise.  After she brought this to my attention, sure enough, the next time that friend was over I observed her scan my daughter head-to-toe with a flat judgmental expression before her face brightened with a paste on smile and she made a superficial compliment.

My ex doesn’t wear makeup, much to our daughter’s chagrin, and neither of us pay much attention to fashion.  Now, you can blame some of her newfound superficiality on culture.  But as a man, I’m going to refute that this has anything to do with “the patriarchy” and everything to do with how women are wired.

You read Amanda Green’s awesome blog, don’t you?  She had a great post recently where she owned this feminine behavior more completely than I’ve seen before.  In gearing up to meet a girlfriend that she had a disagreement with:

Instead of my comfy worn-in jeans and fluorescent sparkly green belt, I chose the tight dark denim jeans and a belt of tooled leather. And instead of my super soft sweatshirt from the music festival that is my Sunday uniform, I wore my sergeant pepper jacket. I wore cowboy boots to make me taller and I put on bracelets and mascara. It felt shitty and necessary all at the same time.

Neither the patriarchy or men are to blame for this.  So I suggest you stop taking it on.

Finally, J Brown:  There is a lot of conversation in the yoga world these days about the “yoga body” and the empowerment of women through yoga. And then there is a backlash of “Broga” classes being marketed where men can be men and do their yoga without having all those empowered women around.

I think you’re totally wrong on this.  I’ll frame my argument like this: we have Title IX, written largely to ensure that girls have the opportunity to play sports, which is great.  But notice how there isn’t a public outcry trying to get boys into say ballet or drama.  Mind you, I’m not suggesting that our culture is failing our boys because of this.

Rather here we have yoga, where in its modern presentation is quite female centric, and when men start to carve out a niche where they can explore it, it’s criticized?  It’s laughable to suggest that Broga or Men’s Yoga classes are a backlash to empowered women.

men-in-treeI teach men’s classes for a variety of reasons.  Mostly because the presentation is overtly feminine in so many classes that I want to step outside that arena to provide a safe space for guys to experience this practice.  Did I just use the term “safe space”?  Yes I did and I use it tongue-in-cheek.  I’m not blaming anyone, and I really don’t want female instructors to change their presentation but a lot of how Yoga is taught just doesn’t work for me.

The choice of poses often aren’t that attainable or interesting for many men, the flowery metaphors women frequently use just miss, and the form-fitting clothes are a distraction (I’ll admit it, if no one else will).   More importantly, I feel that men need to build their emotional and spiritual capacities from within the masculine, and not depend on the women in their lives for all their emotional needs; from expression to simple acknowledgement to identifying what’s going on.

These reasons have nothing to do with being uncomfortable with empowered women, and everything to do with empowering men to be comfortable in their own skin.

Men’s Yoga – Summer Update


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.

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