by clicking the "Next" arrow.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Mindful : December 2014
Yoga studios tend to be quiet and scented with oil. I roll in, take off my shoes and go to the back of the room. I’m thinking, OK, try to relax. I get myself into down dog, trying to pedal my calves and prepare myself for what ’s to come. From there the teacher begins to talk. There’s a lot of tension and release— and a lot of sweat! Shavsana, the final pose, is one of my greatest single feelings, both physical and mental. It’s such an effort to get through the yoga routine, so to complete it, to disappear and just melt, it’s brilliant. Striking a pose While doing the practice there’s some- thing to concentrate on at all times. You really sta rt to feel how your muscles are in the pose. Is your shoulder rotated in the right way? Is this muscle doing what it’s supposed to do? Even when I’m not hitting it, which I’m not a lot of the time, there is something very engaging about the mental aspect. There a re some forward poses I just cannot do—my hamstrings will not allow me to bend that far. Some of those are supposed to be rela xation poses, but for me they’re “ouch” moments. But when I do the strength-oriented poses, like The Plank, a nything with upper-body strength, I feel pretty comfortable. Trying to go the distance I have a lot of other athletic passions. I’m a runner and a tennis player, so I recog- nize the positive benefits of yoga, even as I struggle with it. I sometimes think of it like running. Two miles seems hard, three miles seems really hard. Then, all of a sudden, at eight miles, you get that adrena lized, happy feeling. But I haven’t had that breakthrough moment with yoga. It remains extremely difficult. I know that when I say, “I have a hard time with yoga because I’m really inflex- ible,” it’s a little like someone saying, “I have a hard time running because I’m overweight.” I get the parallel, but to be honest, one of the things I don’t think is often recog nized is the natural difference in flexibility between people. If you were to put me on a spectrum, I think I’m on the inflexible end. While it’s a n excuse, all I’m saying is that bodies differ so much. Bending the bowstring But I keep doing it. The benefits are real. By nature I’m pretty Type-A . To augment that Type-A-ness with other competitive sports is really not the best path for me. Yoga takes me in a different direction. I think many men come to yoga to recover from injury or increase their performance in other, prima ry sports. It does have benefit for tennis; I do have a bunch of nagging little injuries that have piled up over the yea rs. If you wind yourself up—pa rticularly if you’re built like me, like a bowstring— and you release, every time you do that the release is a little deeper. When I’m done, my muscles feel longer and looser. There’s more space in my body. That corresponds to the way it feels in my head, too. ● I don’t find yoga easy. I struggle and sweat through the poses. But what I get from it is a sense of space in my body and mind, and that keeps me coming back for more. By Sean Hoess Photograph by Joshua Simpson The Reluctant Yogi December 2014 mindful 31 body