- Issue 25
Well, another year come and
gone! What have your experiences over the past year taught you? What
new things will 2009 invite into your life? I hope 2008 brought you many
wonderful experiences, and that 2009 will bring you many more.
I spoke with several people over the holidays who had a sudden change in plans
when they found themselves snowbound. I hope that you were able to enjoy
your family and friends over the holidays, together or long distance.
My townhome has been behind scaffolding and under tarps since the beginning of
December. With an estimate of another three months before our cocoon
transforms into a butterfly, I know I must really practice my "off the mat"
Yoga. Being displaced in your own home can be somewhat unnerving.
But, I look forward to the beautiful outcome.
We have a full array of classes to greet you this year. Please visit our
entire website at
www.intoyoga.ca, or go directly to our classes page at
this issue you will find the following
3) Free Yoga
5) 17th Annual
6) Where Are
All the Men?
Try This Pose
Recipe - Carot Cake
Quips and Quotes
Your Contributions Welcome
Email A Friend
Registration has begun and many classes are filling up quickly. We
will be offering some new classes this term including Baby Sign Language at the
Roundhouse Community Center at the corner of Pacific and Drake in
Vancouver on Mondays at 1:45pm and Yamuna Body
Rolling being offered at Kerrisdale Community Center on
Mondays at 12:00pm.
Our Burnaby and Coquitlam classes will allow you the option to add a
Nutritional Cleanse Package with your Yoga classes.
*Nutritional Cleansing will help your body dispose of the
impurities that are absorbed from the foods we eat, the water we drink,
and the air we breathe. Release unwanted pounds and inches (and keep
them off) easily and quickly using our nutritional cleanse products and
coupling it with Yoga classes. Benefits can include improved strength,
clear complexion, increased energy, reduced stress,
deeper sleep, fat loss, and more. Feel, look and be
healthier and more vibrant. Get the results you want without unwanted
side effects of a traditional cleanse. Products, yoga classes and
unlimited coaching included.
*Nutritional Cleanse products may be purchased
without the Yoga classes at an adjusted cost. Call us at
604-421-9872 for more details.
See what else is now by going to
click on the classes link.
We've had a lot of interest lately in the nutritional cleansing that we offer.
For the month of January we will be offering presentations in Vancouver, North
and Burnaby on a daily basis so you can learn more. If you'd like to find
out when and where they are, or would like to be put on our email list for
information regarding cleansing, please email
On Saturday January 3, we will be offering two FREE Yoga classes
for you to try at Sunset Community Center, 6810 Main Street. I hope you
can join us.
1:00pm - 1:45pm
Dynamic Flow Yoga
2:35pm - 3:20pm
www.intoyoga.ca/class_descriptions.htm for a description of each class.
Corporate Yoga Class Promotion
Were you and your co-workers among the many people who
gained 7lbs to 10lbs this past holiday? Are you finding yourself more
stressed at work, after being away a few days? We'd like to offer you a
When you book 10 on site Yoga classes for your workplace which begin in
January 2009, we'll give you a guaranteed rate of $75 per class as
long as there are at least 8 people registered. Split the fee among
everyone registered. So with 10 people, each person pays $7.50 per class,
with 15 participants, each pays $5 per class, 20 people pay $3.75 per class.
This is for new clients only, and classes must be booked to begin this month.
We want to help create a stress-free environment at work.
We believe that staff who take the time to breathe and realign themselves, work
better and enjoy their jobs more.
Benefits to the
improved memory, focus and concentration
reduced stress and tension
* boosted immune system
lower blood pressure
improved self esteem
more firmed, toned and flexible body
relief of common ailments such as backache and fatigue
Benefits to the
enhanced decision making
better team spirit
lower health care costs
enhanced company/employee relationship
604-421-9872 or email
Visit our Corporate page on our website at
5) 17th Annual Wellness Show
Need help finding balance in your life? Join us in Vancouver for one of
the West Coast's premiere consumer shows focusing on all aspects of health and
vital living. Listed as one of the largest trade & consumer shows by Business in
Vancouver and the fastest growing show by the Province, the Wellness Show
features a comprehensive program including keynote speakers,
demonstrations and special events reflecting the most up-to-date information on
wellness and healthy living.
Join us February 6, 7, 8 2009 at booth #700. Once again we will be
promoting our Isagenix Nutritional Cleanse products. Drop by to say hi and
enter our give away draw!
Please go to
http://www.thewellnessshow.com/index.html for more details.
Are All the Men?
by Andrew Tiln at
It's a beautiful Saturday morning and I am in, of all places, a yoga studio.
While my cycling buddies set out for a ride, I waited by racks of flowery yoga
clothes, then filed in for class. While my pals pedaled and, no doubt, rapped
about racing, I unrolled my black mat near someone else's pink one, beside
someone else's painted toenails and a pile of voguish flip-flops. Now, my fellow
riders are probably engaged in some testosterone-fueled sprint, while I'm
grunting loudly to stay balanced on my forearms. I'm inverted and
self-conscious: In a class filled with women, I alone am emitting primal noises.
A world turned upside down—that's yoga for most of us men. We still run most
of the government and hit the major league home runs, but yoga is a woman's
domain. According to a 2005 Yoga Journal market study, 77 percent of the yoga
practitioners in America are female. Anecdotally, longtime teachers like Anusara
Yoga founder John Friend and Power Yoga instructor Baron Baptiste, who both
regularly crisscross the nation hosting workshops, believe the numbers might be
even more skewed. After all, only about 1 in 10 subscribers to this magazine is
male. "What I find myself constantly contemplating," says Michael Lechonczak, a
yoga instructor who teaches at Equinox Fitness in Manhattan, "is how to get more
guys into class."
It's not that we don't know what we're missing. Nowadays, there seems to be a
yoga studio on every corner; our girlfriends and wives are walking, talking
testimonies to the practice. At home, we watch them rushing out the front door,
brows furrowed, only to return standing tall, with big, tranquil smiles on their
faces and compassion in their eyes. Because my wife Madeleine is a yoga
instructor and an avid student, I witness this stress-to-bliss transformation
several times a week. When she comes home, I often mumble to myself, "Don't I
want to be that happy?" Yet I haven't practiced yoga consistently for years.
So I asked highly qualified doctors, scientists, and veteran yoga teachers
exactly why so many men stick to yoga's sidelines. I also polled members of that
rare breed known as the male practitioner—from pro athletes to busy investment
managers—to find out how they came to embrace yoga. In the end, I discovered
social, physical, and emotional realities that discourage men from practicing. I
also heard about the moments of inspiration that got men over such barriers—and
ideas about what might help other men make the leap, too. If you're a man who's
hesitated to try yoga—or you know a man you'd like to introduce to the
Social Obstacles: Yoga Takes a Brave Man
Getting men to identify with yoga has long been a challenge in this country.
It doesn't matter that yoga, since its beginnings in India thousands of years
ago, has mainly been taught and studied by men. Restrictive American immigration
laws of the early 1900s stunted the spread of Indian culture on these shores,
and only a handful of influential yogis arrived here through the decades. One
such important teacher was Indra Devi. Russian born and Indian taught, she came
to the United States in the 1940s and was championed by none other than
celebrity cosmetologist Elizabeth Arden. That name resonated, of course, with
the women who gobbled up her products, and Arden encouraged her customers to try
yoga. A few years later, teacher Richard Hittleman published yoga books and
landed on TV—but always had women perform the poses. Yoga's next media celebrity
was a young instructor named Lilias Folan, who began teaching asanas on public
television in the 1970s. Folan had a gentle style that empowered millions of
stay-at-home moms to follow right along. By the time Power Yoga emerged in the
1980s and began attracting more men, the mainstream view of the practice had,
fairly or not, taken root: Yoga was for housewives.
Sure enough, the first thing many men notice on entering a yoga studio is
that they're in foreign territory. Pensive women readying for class sets as
strong a tone as a locker room of guys snapping towels. "Men walk in needing a
challenge," says Judith Lasater, who has authored six yoga books during her 35
years as a teacher. "Women often come to the mat seeking refuge."
The instructor can be equally alien. A female teacher might seem like just
another pretty face in the intimidating crowd. A male teacher, who will likely
be more humble and sensitive than your average tough-love personal trainer, may
be met with disdain. "A student walks in from corporate America, and he
encounters this man who exists in such a different realm," Baptiste says. "The
instructor might not be a guy's guy."
Lechonczak, who consulted on the book Real Men Do Yoga, sympathizes
with such concerns. Before coming to the practice nearly 20 years ago, he had a
consuming business career and was a weekend warrior who ran and played
basketball. Lechonczak thinks more men might be willing to try yoga if they
perceived it as yet another test. Albeit a unique one. "The guys coming to yoga
have to be ready for the next level, be ready to let down their defenses," he
says. "They have to have heart."
A guy's first act of yogic bravery, Lechonczak says, is to introduce himself
to the teacher. "Find out if the class is appropriate," he advises. "Admit any
fears or anxieties."
Once the line of communication is open, a good instructor will tailor a class
for individual students—male or female. Scott Achelis, a 54-year-old general
contractor in Walnut Creek, California, began taking classes locally early last
year because his back was tweaked from decades of construction work. The key was
a positive first experience at the Yoga & Movement Center: a men's only, one-day
workshop held by studio director Diane Valentine. Her agenda? Make it fun, and
let guys be guys. "It was unthreatening," Achelis says. "We were all stretching
and making off-color jokes."
Achelis quickly became a regular in a coed class. "It's still difficult for
me when I'm partnered with a woman. I'm uncomfortable touching anybody who's not
my wife the way you have to in yoga," he admits. But otherwise being a man among
women no longer bothers him. He couldn't care less who's in the room, or that
some very unathletic-looking females can enter poses that he can't. "I don't
feel like I'm doing 10 percent of something being done by a woman next to me,"
Achelis says. "I'm doing 100 percent of what I'm able to do."
Physical Hurdles: Overcoming Groins and Gray Matter
Get a man past his reservations about asana time with the ladies and he'll
still have a well-founded reason to drag his feet to a studio: Yoga can be
Men, it seems, are naturally tight. Boys and girls may be born equally
limber, with an ability to comfortably put their feet behind their heads. But by
adolescence, boys generally lose flexibility faster than girls, and as boys
become men, the differences in flexibility tend to grow. Researchers have noted
this gap, although they can't specifically link it to differences in hormones,
musculature, or connective tissue. "It's hard to attribute to any one thing,"
says Lynn Millar, a professor of physical therapy at Andrews University in
Berrien Springs, Michigan.
Whatever is to blame, the typical man's pursuits and lifestyle, from sitting
at a desk all day to grabbing beers after a twilight softball game, put little
importance on flexibility.
Lasater says stretching takes a back seat in a male's life as early as high
school. "Look at the way they stretch in football—they push on each other and
bounce. It hurts," she says. "How could anyone emerge from that with a positive
view of flexibility?" Investment manager Ron Bernstein was certainly ambivalent
about stretching—until his 80-hour workweeks caught up with him. Back in 1998,
Bernstein, a former competitive high school golfer who's a managing director for
the investment firm Marathon Real Estate in New York City, realized that
"everything hurt," he says. "My wife was doing some yoga and suggested that
stretching would be good."
Bernstein, 37, went to a class in lower Manhattan and muddled through. "On my
walk home, my back felt so much better. All those Upward and Downward Dogs
Today a more limber Bernstein is religious about his one-day-a-week private
sessions. He attributes his daily vitality and still-strong golf game to Warrior
Pose variations that open his shoulders, hips, and back. "My handicap was 10 as
a kid and I'm still at about 13," he says. "Not bad for a guy who works all the
time." Elasticity also helps men who are determined to play all day. Barry Zito,
the 28-year-old star pitcher who's spent most of his career with the Oakland
A's, serves as a role model for any jock who's determined to stay injury free.
Building up muscle mass and repeating the same athletic motions day after day
and year after year only adds to a body's tightness. Which is all the more
reason why Zito, who's been in the majors since 2000, likes to brag about a
statistic other than wins and losses. "I've never missed a start," he says.
Zito began practicing yoga in 1998, when he heard about an off-season
training program in Southern California that entwined baseball skills with
yoga—"I've always been open to alternative forms of training," he says—and he's
been doing asanas ever since.
Zito's daily regimen usually includes groin and hip openers like Pigeon,
Frog, and Warrior poses because "they're kind of like the positions I find
myself in when I'm pitching," he says. Zito happily demonstrates poses to his
fellow major leaguers, although in the good ol' boy world of professional
baseball, he keeps plenty to himself. "It's too foreign for them," he says. Zito
believes, however, that such myopia may prevent players from staying in the
"Some guys aren't willing to do the things required to keep their health," Zito says. "I'm not judging anyone. I just know my own experience, and it's been
really, really good."
Zito might have an even harder time spreading the gospel of yoga if men knew
that, when it comes to life on the mat, their brains as well as their bodies are
working against them. Science hasn't concluded that women have higher IQs. But
women can boast about their mirror neurons.
These are brain cells that receive signals from another person and trigger
similar reactions in the observer. Watching someone cry, for example, might more
easily cause you to cry. While mirror neurons often detect emotions, they also
help an observer match posture and breathing. "You use mirror neurons to watch
and imitate your yoga instructor," says Louann Brizendine, a neuropsychiatrist
at the University of California at San Francisco and the author of The
For men, says Brizendine, the catch is that they don't respond as well as
women to such transmitted signals. Scientists are still speculating whether
women have more of such cells, or just more active ones. Either way, the neurons
don't inherently make women superior jocks, since men may have been born or
raised with other athletic advantages. "But because females' mirror neurons are
more easily activated," Brizendine says, "on average, women can mimic better
Fortunately, men can raise the performance of their mirror neurons if they
consistently employ them. But until then, men enter the yoga studio at a
disadvantage. New poses will be harder for them to get right. "The instructors
need to be more patient with the male students," Brizendine says. "They have to
perform more demonstrations for them."
Emotional Challenge: Try Beating Yourself
Even if a guy turns a physical corner and starts adapting to yoga's demands,
he may still miss out on many of the practice's benefits. Yoga's internal
rewards—everything from better focus to less stress—are the hardest for men to
Brizendine says that this problem, too, begins with men's wiring. Men's
brains have a high capacity to process emotions like fear and aggression. Put an
average, aggressive-feeling man on the mat, add thoughts about hostile takeovers
or Shaq dunking a basketball, and you get someone who isn't looking to quiet his
mind but to let go of pent-up energy. That's easy in traditional recreational
sports, with their scores, times, and rivalries. But guys in Downward Dog may
still be looking for something, or someone, to beat. "For men, physical
activity—nonsexual physical activity—has always been closely associated with
competition," Brizendine says. "Studies have shown that for the last 40 years."
Brizendine adds that with time and training, men's brains can get past such
competitive urges, and the proof lies in the men who have found enormous
benefits from tapping into yoga's more emotional offerings. Bill Gross, chief
investment officer for asset management company Pimco and one of the most
powerful men in his business, appreciates what 12 years of yoga has done for his
head. Every morning, Gross, 62, leaves his Southern California office to gather
his thoughts in a gym. Part of the workout always includes yoga. Gross loves
doing Headstand. "Some of my best ideas come during Sirsasana," he says. And, he
adds, often after his routine, "a light bulb turns on, and I'm on to something."
Away from the multiple computer screens and trading-room hubbub, Gross gets
more than inspiration. The mat offers him a place to calm his nerves and breathe
deeply. He returns to the office rejuvenated and relaxed, ready to work with a
purpose. "Focus is a huge part of what I do," Gross says, "and when you are
trusted with nearly $700 billion of other people's money, you'd better be
focused. Because of my practice, I can sift the noise from the facts of an
Yoga can also teach a guy who's overwhelmed by his many responsibilities that
the best way to get things done is by being present—focusing on one thing at a
"If I go from breath to breath, I'll find myself at the end of class," says Zito. Similarly, when he's playing a game, he says, "If I go hitter to hitter as
opposed to letting my mind drift, I'll suddenly be in the seventh inning."
Men, like women, can get addicted to yoga's emotional benefits. Mehmet Oz, a
surgery professor at Columbia University who promotes holistic wellness in his
book Healing from the Heart, is also a sports nut. But the doctor, who
played football at Harvard and has a basketball court in his basement, sees his
daily yoga practice as an escape, whether it's from surgery or scorekeeping.
"That's where the freedom comes in. You can let go," he says. "You realize
that the bigger game you're playing in life isn't about competitiveness."
What life is about, Oz says, is awareness, equanimity, and keeping one's ego
in check—after all, the world is a bigger place than any one...man. Indeed, in
topping off the list of yoga's benefits for his male colleagues, Oz even uses
the word "spirituality," although he's aware that some men might find that term
a turnoff. "Try to get a man in contact with the spiritual element of yoga right
from the start, and he'll be lost," he says. "He isn't ready for that."
Bernstein, the investment manager who has practiced yoga for seven years,
admits that he still doesn't like "chanting Om too many times and closing my
eyes." But these days Bernstein's biggest problem concerning yoga is an
inability to share his experiences with the very wife who persuaded him to try
it. She abandoned yoga eight years ago. "I have no idea why Keri quit," he says.
"She just won't do it."
Maybe she needs a few more male practitioners to tell her what she's missing.
Andrew Tilin, a freelance writer living with his family in Oakland,
California, contributes to Wired, Outside, and other publications
Try this Pose - Side Bow
The Full Bow can be a very challenging posture. Here's
a much simpler, yet effective variation.
1. Lay on your right side, legs bent, head resting on
2. Lift your left leg and bring the heel toward your
3. Inhaling, reach back with the left arm to grasp the foot
4. Exhaling, contract abdominals while pushing the heel away
from buttock still holding the ankle.
5. Hold posture and breathe.
7. Repeat on opposite side.
NOTE: Practice this posture at your own
Carrot Cake (9 servings)
Dr Andrew Weil www.myoptimumhealthplan.com
Carrot cake is a perennial favorite, but it is often loaded with vegetable oil
and laden with a cream cheese frosting. Our version is healthier, using a small
amount of olive oil, a full cup of honey for moistness and flavor, and a
combination of whole wheat pastry and unbleached flours. The crunchy walnuts
even add a bit of omega-3 fats to this sweet treat. With a cup of hot green tea,
this cake will make you forget about cream cheese frosting. Enjoy!
2 cups firmly packed finely grated carrots (3 large)
Juice of 1 large orange
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup light olive oil
1 cup honey, liquefied in microwave (30 seconds)
1/2 cup crushed or chopped pineapple, drained
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. In a mixing bowl, stir together the carrots, orange juice, vanilla,
olive oil, honey, and pineapple until well blended.
3. In another bowl, stir together the flours, baking soda, and spices.
Mix in the walnuts.
4. Blend the dry ingredients into the carrot mixture, stirring until
5. Pour the batter into a nonstick 8-inch-square baking pan and bake for
45-60 minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove from oven, let cool slightly, and remove from pan.
334 calories; 9 g total fat (1 g sat); 0 mg cholesterol; 62 g
carbohydrate; 5 g protein; 4 g fiber; 25 mg sodium
The creative man seeks companions, not corpses or herds or
believers. The creative man seeks fellow-creators, those who inscribe new values
on new tables. The creative man seeks companions and fellow-harvesters: for with
him everything is ripe for harvesting. ~ Zarathustra
10) Past Newsletters
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www.intoyoga.ca/articles.htm and clicking on the Newsletters link.
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