August 14, 2012

Stiff Men Can Do Yoga Too!

I’ve been practicing yoga how long? And I’ve been married how long? Why have the two not mixed sooner?

My husband, Wes Hobson, former world class, professional triathlete, had never really practiced yoga before a recent trip to Kripalu in Massachusetts. Always excuses. Never the time. So boy, was he in for a surprise…and a “workout” he never really experienced before (despite his countless years as an athlete). But have no fears, stiff men out there: there is hope!

Kripalu is a yoga retreat in Lenox, Massachusetts that focuses on yoga, and how it can bring out that vitality within us all. I was getting the vitality on my own. It was time to bring my stiff guy with me. He may still be able to do race like a pro, but his downward dog and plank pose sort of looked the same—not exactly the form you’d want. But hey, I went easy on him. After all, yoga isn’t about judging, it’s about inner health, tranquility and personal progress. And I knew he would certainly gain progress after five hours of practicing each day (not kidding).

I am actually a yoga teacher myself. But do you think Wes even takes my classes? Of course not. Always excuses. Never the time. But when he met Desiree Rumbaugh, something definitely shifted. Funny how men never listen to the same advice and instruction their wives give them…

During our retreat (although I’m not sure Wes thought he was retreating), Wes practiced five hours a day, two sessions a day without caffeine. That’s a lot—even for us certified yoga instructors! Not to say he went through this practice easily, there was undeniably a lot groaning and sweating. Well, more like perpetual sweating (not unlike a pig—love you, honey!). But after day one, he started working incredibly hard and despite him being a stiff man, I was beginning to see considerable progress.

By day two, his sweating like a pig kicked into full gear, but he already started getting into a headstand (with some help). He was like a personal pin-cushion for Desiree and her patient assistants, Andrew and Cat. And push into him they did. There was no way they were going to let this man go home in the same body in which he arrived. He could barely move after each day, groaning and sighing as he pulled himself into bed (accompanied by an occasional glare in my direction—as if I had somehow probed his nerves into pain).

Even so, as one of the few men there, he plunged into the next day. Thank god for his perseverance. On day three I spotted him in the corner of the room with Andrew up in pinchamyurasana. Andrew had become Wes’ personal yoga teacher by that point. I wonder if we paid extra for that?

By day four, Wes was in a headstand by himself. By day five, I was actually hearing him cue me as he spotted me in a drop back, “Hayley, hug your shins in. Pull your inner thighs back and apart. Side body long. Ribs in!”

Impressive? I began to dream about of sending him through a teacher training.

Desiree and Andrew kept digging into his body like putty and although he could barely move at night, he came home feeling inspired and refreshed! I think I heard him silently agree to Vero Beach in March of 2013. So to all you stiff men out there, don’t shy away! You can completely transform your body and your complete mental attitude. And—sometimes more importantly at times for the in-need men—impress your partners for major bonus points.

So sign my husband up for Omega next summer and Costa Rica in 2014 with all the rest of the stiff men in the world brave enough to try! Go out there, men, and show the women that you’re not all stiff—that you can be molded into a yoga master too! And trust me, partners to those stiff men, you will come out with some great pictures to have a laugh at (or use for blackmail) whenever you need to.



Editor: Brianna Bemel


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