When I started yoga, I was just under 300 pounds, and I was determined to make changes. After leaving my job, some friends chipped in for a gym membership—and I took the hint. I started working out even though I mostly detested it. One day, I saw an offer for a yoga class at the gym once a week. Having studied martial arts as a young adult, I thought I’d give yoga a try.
When I walked in the door, the first question the instructor asked was, “are you able to get off the floor unaided?”
Now, I was a beefy dude, but I wasn’t that restricted in my movements. Had I let myself get that bad? I was still somewhat athletic former military guy, an enthusiastic swimmer and scuba diver, even though I was quite overweight. I put my feelings aside and took the class—I was hooked instantly.
Even in my first class, I could sense my natural flexibility coming back. As I said, I studied martial arts, and during my first class I rediscovered my innate flexibility. The instructor was fantastic, caring, and great at cues. After the first class, she asked me if I had been a dancer. I felt vindicated, and at the same time, I was more intrigued about yoga.
I took her class every week for at least six months, and it was glorious.Between the classes and my other gym work, I was losing weight fast, finding strength and flexibility and discovering the absolute joy of Yoga—a joy I still feel in my regular practice.
After some months, my yoga instructor announced that she was moving out of town. There were other instructors there, but I liked none of them as much as her. I decided to focus my fitness on yoga, and I went off to find a nearby studio where I could practice.
The first true yoga studio is this one, Mountain Pose Yoga. It had another name then and different owners, but I immediatelydeveloped deep affection for many of the wonderful teachers here who shaped my practice and helped me discover new things about myself.
Nancy, the other current owner, was a teacher under the old owners. She was an inspiration and guide, and she quickly became one of my favorite people on the planet—and always will be. Candicealso taught at the old studio, and she remains a treasure to our community. We’re so lucky to have instructors who’ve been serving this community for many years. I’ve known many of the instructors at Mountain Pose either as instructors or students themselves.If you spend a lot of time in yoga, you start to see the practice becomes a community also, one of the great many benefits of yoga.
I practiced for several years under the old owners, but eventually moved to other studios, picking up my 200-hour teacher credential along the way. Through it all, I kept in contact with Nancy, my dear friend and yoga guru. Halfway through the Covid pandemic, Nancy called me up. Our yoga studio was closing. Did I want to buy it and reopen it with her? I jumped.
We’ve been open for over two years. In our first discussion about what kind of studio we wanted to be, I reached back to my own early experience to insist that we meet people where they are. Nancy embodies this philosophy of yoga—that it changes lives, anyone can do it, and it matters not a bit where you come from. We agreed on a tag line of yoga for every body.
Yoga is not only for young or fit people. You don’t have to have a body type, be supernaturally flexible, or stand on your head—unless you want to. If you can breathe, you can practice yoga. If you cannot breathe, you are already too far gone for anyone to help.
Since the early days, my practice has shifted, from my initial emphasis on fitness to a focus on the whole person—the mind, meditation, and my own overall wellbeing. At the heart of our studio is the central conceit that yoga is for every body, and that no matter who you are, you are welcome here and are welcome to become part of our community.
I hope to see you all on the mat soon.