PADDLE BOARDER . OLYMPIC WEIGHT LIFTER . LOVE SEEKER . YOGI
What's your story? I'm a lifelong athlete who grew up playing mainstream sports. I played football in college, then when I graduated I competed in SUP (stand-up paddle boarding), racing and Olympic weightlifting - not at the same time!
But, to be honest, I soon became bored with the pressure to make faster times and lift heavier weights and was looking for something more - something that engaged me mind, body and soul. Yoga came to me, as it does for so many, at a transitional point of my life, and I fell in love with the journey inward.
How would you describe yourself? A fun-loving adventurer, in all areas of life.
How would others describe you? Hard to pin down.
What’s the best job you've ever had? The best job I’ve ever had is the job I have now: riding my bike all over Manhattan, teaching people to connect with themselves so they can connect with the world around them.
What is one fact that most other people wouldn’t know about you? Three years ago I left everything I was doing behind to embark on a personal “alternative graduate studies program”. I wanted to travel the world with a backpack to study what makes people happy and healthy. My journey took me all over the place - from surfing in Costa Rica to skiing in the Austrian Alps.
Conclusion to my question… Love. Love is what makes people happy and healthy.
Favorite meal? Breakfast. You can justify anything!
Favourite drink? Water. Simple pleasures.
If you could do it all again, what would you change? Not a single thing. Everything I've done has led me to where I am right now, and where I am is sweet.
Ok, let’s talk about yoga, how’d you get into it? Being an athlete and trainer, I love the hard work and grind of working on myself physically. I became interested in yoga as a way to work on myself mentally and spiritually while still being able to move.
My first class wasn't easy - I was moving my body in ways it had not had to move before! But that provided a whole different challenge - one that didn't involve PBs or competition with everyone else in the room.
Do you teach? Yes, I teach a few private students over manhattan. I love working with individuals who want to learn more about themselves and grow. It’s an extremely rewarding experience that I am very grateful for. I believe that I help people connect further with themselves and their ability to focus through yoga asana and meditation. They can then take that ability to focus into all areas of their lives either to their kids, spouse, food etc. Yoga literally enhances their ability to experience life! That shit is so cool.
What was the biggest challenge when you first started? Confidence. Being 6’1, 200+ lbs and coming from a mainstream sports background I had to learn to accept myself real quick.
This practice teaches you that kind of self-acceptance, physically and mentally, and I want to make sure guys know that it's for everyone - every body; male, female, small and large.
Why do you keep coming back? It feels so good man! What I learn to do on the mat or in the gym has a direct correlation to how I experience life, so I keep practicing it all.
Other than yoga what keeps you busy? I'm also a personal trainer and a life coach for athletes of all levels and backgrounds. New York's the kind of place people like to look after themselves so (luckily!) that keeps me busy. When I'm not working, you'll probably find me running around Manhattan, balancing upside-down on stuff... or won't hear from me at all because I'm away travelling.
What’s the biggest challenge or issue being a guy who teaches/practices yoga? Not being taken seriously. I learned early on that there are different teachers for different people and you can't please everybody. I don’t know all the Sutras or all the Sanskrit but that’s ok; I know plenty of other things and I focus on that.
We all have plenty to offer.
What’s your favourite pose? Plank or handstand.
What pose do you fucking hate? Boat. Ugh.
Yoga is… time for #1. It offers a space to go inside and be entirely selfish but Self-less at the same time.
Your mantra: Expect nothing; experience everything.
Interviewed: October 5th, 2014
Photos by @michaeljameswong and property of BOYS OF YOGA Ltd.