I Went To a Yoga Class

18 Mar

Remember the first time you did something totally new? You had that feeling, a nervous excitement. You weren’t sure what you were doing, you may have been a little self conscious, and even flat out scared.

I’m glad you went for it anyway. That tells me a lot about you. You were willing to step outside your comfort zone, you went into something with an open mind, and you were open to new experiences.

The world is full of people who cling to a feeling of security. Not to mention those who are narrow minded, stubborn and unwilling to at least TRY something new. I always try to persuade these people to challenge themselves, challenge their beliefs,  and just let go a little bit. I don’t think they understand what they are missing. Furthermore, I think that there is something learned from any experience, whether or not you decide it’s something you’ll continue to pursue.

As a coach, I continually remind myself that what I have to teach is not something most people are comfortable doing. After all, isn’t that a major reason they hire me? When someone makes the commitment to training they place a lot of trust in me. I don’t take that for granted, I rise to the occasion to show them what a great decision they have made and what they are capable of.

I have the greatest job in the world. I get to affirm their belief that going somewhere uncomfortable first – will lead them to an overwhelming sense of empowerment. I also understand how they’re feeling, at any level of training experience.

I don’t make clients do things I haven’t done, and I continually try new things.

Remember earlier this week when I said I was going to step outside my comfort zone? Well I did!

One of my clients trains people out of South Boston Yoga in Boston MA. She teaches yoga, and practicing yoga is a large part of her life. This same client also works her ass off with me during the week. Often times I ask her to do things outside of her comfort zone, hello 42 inch box jumps!

We talked about yoga one day, and I realized I didn’t know my downward dog from my elbow, so I went home and spent an hour reading about the different styles. I asked her what made her facility different, and she invited me to find out first hand. So I did.

I’ve never taken a yoga class. I am not someone you would think to find at a yoga class. All 228 lbs of me, the lack of space between my traps and head, I’m not about to be the spokesperson for lululemon.

Guess what though? I liked it a lot. I found it challenging, and I took a lot away from the class. Not to mention, I feel pretty damn good too. I think next time I might have to put my mat in a kiddie pool though, I almost melted.

I also found a lot of common ground between what we did, and what I do to help people move better. There was a focus on mobility in the ankles, hips, upper back and shoulders. There was also a lot of work to facilitate stabilization in the knees, hips, low back, and shoulder girdle. I was impressed by the integration of EQI (eccentric quasi-isometric) stretching.

EQI’s promote stability in the appropriate areas, while stretching the desired location.  A good example from the class was the use of split squat positions, with que’s from the instructor to engage the back leg glute and put the pelvis in a neutral position. We would start high, and move deeper in the split squat which is how it should be done.

This is important, because one complaint I hear about the yoga community is that people develop the ability to move into crazy ranges of motion that they have no stability in. This of course leads to injuries.

I also liked how we worked on thoracic extension / shoulder flexion by actively moving through our capable ROM while keeping the spine neutral and shoulder blades retracted and depressed.

Overall we hit on active stretching (EQI), dynamic stretching, static, and long duration low intense stretching. Additionally, I thought the order or “flow” of how we did the stretches was pretty on point to. We even did some push ups, and for about 10 seconds there I felt like I was doing a good job.

I’m happy I went to yoga class, and I’m probably going to be headed back. I’m also happy I got to actively participate in something my client loves to do.

This leads me to one last thing. Get involved! Here’s a quote from my friend and all around bad ass trainer Jon Goodman:

“Personal Trainers are now expected to be salespeople, psychologists, nutritionists, post-rehabilitation specialists, and motivational speakers. You can have all the training expertise in the world, but you must also be able to inspire passion in your clients, and develop relationships with the people you serve”

This comes from his book that is going to be released soon, and I can’t wait to check it out.

Going to yoga class is not the first time I have stepped out of my comfort zone and done something with one of my clients. I have rolled BJJ, gone on charity walks, ran 5k’s, stepped off on ruck marches, swam, and attended plenty of games, events, a concert and even a ballet recital!

If my clients are going to do their best at trying something new, then so am I. I know sometimes they must think I laugh when I see them attempt sprints, lifts, jumps etc. I don’t…usually. If they’re willing to put themselves out there, then so am I.

In the end you have to be able to laugh at yourself, accept your human qualities and keep having fun with what you do.

I think I'm only a few classes away from this.


4 Responses to “I Went To a Yoga Class”


  1. Approaching The Bar: Part 4 « Greg Robins - March 19, 2012

    […] this morning. I’m also really excited that my post yesterday hit home with so many people (I Went To a Yoga Class). The response was […]

  2. You are setting yourself up to fail. « Greg Robins - March 23, 2012

    […] I Went To a Yoga Class […]

  3. Weekly Recap « Greg Robins - March 26, 2012

    […] I Went To a Yoga Class […]

  4. 25 Lessons From My 25th Year « Greg Robins - May 4, 2012

    […] My clients are awesome, each in their own special way. Be professional, but also be a friend. I don’t like the idea […]

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