Friday, June 27, 2014

Real Men Do Yoga: Vincent

Photos courtesy of Vincent.

Today I'm honored to share Vincent's yoga story as part of the Real Men Do Yoga series. Vincent is a yogi from Washington state who I connected with on Instagram.

He's a military man with a strong practice and a big heart, and I could tell right away that he's the real deal. Thank you, Vince, for sharing your inspiring yoga journey and awesome photos! May you continue to walk a peaceful path, shining your light and lighting up others around you.

How did you end up in yoga class?

To be honest, it took me a while to get into an actual yoga class. I had wanted to try yoga for a long time but never had enough courage to sign up and attend one. I didn’t know why I was so scared because the first glance I ever had into a yoga class (which was during a 2009 deployment in Afghanistan) there were several other men in it. 

I think it really came down to me not wanting to be embarrassed of my lack of coordination or something. 

So fast forward a few years to the beginning of 2013 and the yoga itch came back and I decided to scratch it this time. I didn’t automatically just dive into a class; I started with videos from YouTube and like most people these days Instagram helped fuel my growing obsession with my practice. Being self-taught can only take you but so far in your practices so after a point I decided that I was ready to get over my fear of being among other people practicing yoga in a public venue. I have never looked back since.

What style do you practice?
I mainly practice Vinyasa Yoga. The thing I like about this style of practice how it focuses on gaining a better discipline when getting into postures and maintaining strong breathing techniques. Breathing is something I have a hard time keeping calm when practicing but the more I give myself into the flow the easier it becomes.

How do you feel when you practice?
I feel free and challenged all at the same time. I used to not believe that yoga was a serious workout until I gave it a go myself. But I always prepare myself for a great challenge every time I step on my mat. 

You never know what progress you will achieve or what setbacks will come your way. That’s one of the thing I love about practicing yoga.

Share about an experience you had on your mat that you’ll never forget.
Well there are so many experiences I could go on about (positive and negative) so to narrow it down will be rather hard. But this happened at home and at class. For a long time I was trying to get into wheel pose and could not understand what I was doing wrong. I was getting more and more frustrated with every attempt. So when I had enough I decided it would be the best idea to gain some proper instruction. 

My teacher Erin at Harmony Yoga in Spokane, WA gave me the confidence (with proper advice and a watchful eye) that was I was lacking in my posture. Out of nowhere I popped up into a proper aligned wheel. I have never been so happy on my mat before that time. I couldn’t stop smiling and Erin could see the shear excitement radiating from me. That is why that moment will stay with me.

 Are you ever aware of being one of few men in a yoga class? What are your thoughts on yoga for guys? What would you say to a guy who’s intimidated about taking a class?

I am typically one of two (if any) other guys in any of the classes I attend. I think that, like me, most guys do not see doing yoga as a “manly” activity to do while at the gym. 

One thing that I believe is a great benefit of doing yoga is that it adds another great tool in your toolbox of fitness. I know yoga has given me the ability to be calmer in times that it was needed. Giving me the chance to be more flexible and have greater control over muscle groups which can come in handy when lifting weights like most males will do in the gym. 

So I would say that more men need to give it a try and see what it is really about. There is no real reason to be intimidated by practicing yoga.

How do you see your yoga journey evolving in the next few years? Do you have any goals you’re working toward?

I would love to see my yoga journey evolve into something great over the next few years. What that actually means has yet to be revealed as of yet. I can only imagine how far practicing will take me. I have already met some wonderful yogis and made some lifelong connections all because of my practice so to ask for more seems crazy. I have some goals that I am working on within my practice but with my current job in the military and the demands that come with that I may not be able to dedicate the proper amount of time to landing a handstand that I can hold for more than one second. 

Other than that posture goal I just want to continue to be able to radiate positive vibes from within and have those vibes affect those around me in a positive manner.

Thanks again, Vincent! Readers, I hope you'll join me in following his journey in photos on Instagram.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed reading this, Rachel.. Great job! :) Carol