MindBodyGreen: When/how did you first start practicing yoga?
Vinnie Marino: I started doing yoga as a teenager in New York in the 70's. I enjoyed it but then got heavily into partying and forgot about yoga. Then I moved to LA in 1990 and took a flow class that kicked my ass across town... It was challenging, fun, sweaty, and with music on. I loved it.
Bryan Kest: I began practicing yoga when I was 15 years old – 32 years ago. My father turned me on to it.
David Swenson: I got into yoga in 1969 when I was 13 years old living in Houston, Texas. My older brother Doug was a surfer and got into yoga so I just followed along and pursued both things with equal fervor. We traveled all over the world in pursuit of the perfect wave and the joy of yoga.
David Romanelli: My first class was Seane Corn's class in September 1996. It was one of the hardest physical experiences, yet also deeply spiritual... and I didn't know it was possible to feel that way in a sober state... I was hooked for life!
Michael Taylor: When I was a little kid my training began! Back then the training was easier -- much of what we're learning when we're older is simply re-learning. My early focus was more East Asian than Central, although the aim and approach are very similar. It wasn't until the 1990s that I walked into my first yoga class in New York. It was in a gym, and looked more interesting than lifting weights.
Rusty Wells: I came to yoga kicking and screaming. I really was resistant. But after the first practice, I was forever changed and perfectly in love. I found myself at home.
David Regelin: I started practicing in 2001 in my mid 20's. I had reoccurring back pain, and a friend suggested yoga. There was a yoga studio that I passed by on my way to work everyday, one day I decided to try a class. While waiting for the class to begin, I realized that I was in pain just sitting on the floor. Once the class started I was shaking and trembling in every posture. I realized that even though I ran, lifted weights, cycled, etc, that I was weak when lifting my own body weight and suffered in almost every posture. Yoga had revealed to me that I was not taking proper care of myself. I began practicing with the goal of self preservation. Also the endorphin release after the class was better than any drug.
Noah Mazé: I grew practicing a meditative tradition, chanting, study, etc. I was 14 or 15 when I started hatha yoga (postural focus). For me it felt like I found home, as my physicality was totally affirmed and integrated into the other aspects of yoga that I was already practicing. Until then, my 'spirituality' felt more separate from my athletic side. I remember being so happy in those first classes that we got to do handstands and other poses that were really fun and hard, but doable.
Brock Cahill: I first started practicing about 7 years ago, in order to heal some massive shoulder injuries. The docs wanted to cut and sew me back together, and I just did not see that as an option. I am a pretty active dude, and 6 weeks in bed plus a year long rehab sounded like hell. I started looking for an alternative and stumbled across yoga. From day one I was frickin' hooked... And yoga, most specifically handstands, healed my shoulders.
Derek Beres: I began studying the philosophy of yoga and other Eastern ideas at Rutgers in 1993, graduating with a degree in Religion with a focus on those areas. I did not have an asana practice at that time. After forays into Tae Kwan Do, Karate, Capoeira, and a great modern dance technique called Allan Wayne work, I began studying asana in 1999. The philosophies had always interested me, and remain the main focus of my yoga practice. I had grown tired of chiropractors and orthopedic surgeons telling me that I would never be pain-free from a number of childhood injuries. The physicality of Vinyasa Yoga immediately appealed to me, as I grew up an athlete, and merging asana into the other limbs of the yoga discipline just made complete sense.
Sam Chase: I started practice a little over a decade ago -- certainly not long by many standards. Honestly, I had no higher aspirations than being able to touch my own toes. I'd grown up extremely bookish and academic, and really asthmatic, so I hadn't until that point had much of relationship with my body -- we were barely on speaking terms. And on the yoga mat suddenly it was like this whole new me unfolded -- I could do things I didn't think were possible, my asthma gradually went away, and I was hooked long after I touched my toes.
Stay tuned! Tomorrow we talk to the group about the misconceptions about men and yoga.