Sometimes I stop and think how lucky I am to have Andrew as my fiancé, someone who so completely shares my loves and interests and supports who I am with all his being. He even practices YOGA with me!! I have friends (and a coworker!) ask me how I "did it", convincing an east coast man to jump into the yoga bandwagon.
(Andrew-white and I-black in front setting our intentions of peace at last years' Global Mala)
By the time I met Andrew I was finally beginning my private home practice in earnest, rolling out my mat on the ugly dingy rug of my tiny "barn" apartment to practice to Llorca while gazing out at the colourful dumpster... Those first few summer months while we sat on my floor, next to the couch, drinking each an entire bottle of white wine, talking about everything from feminism, the environment to life... yoga invariably came up. (Andrew being Andrew... with Chog, our wrench-frog sculpture friend we met at Lorenzo's in Enderby BC)
Having lived his entire life in ultra conservative, uber Loyalist Saint John, New Brunswick, Andrew was not even a smidgeon open to trying yoga. He was more of a (and still is!) World of Warcraft, Clone High and drinking Schooner's (blegh!) kinda guy.
Our big move to British Colombia, after having known each other for three months (ack!), truly changed both our lives forever. After a few catastrophic yoga studio experiences (think hives and scary instructor...) I was in no place emotionally to continue putting myself out there in such a negative environment. As a result, I could either give up on yoga... or practice in our tiny basement apartment. Within a few months I bought a cheap folding screen, a few beautiful yoga statues and my personal yoga space became a corner in our "dining room". As Andrew cooked supper, I would put the screen up between myself and the kitchen/island and try to pretend that he didn't exist... (My yoga space in our first basement apartment overlooking Kalamalka Lake)
Eventually, as it became apparent everyone in the Okanagan (and BC) were crazy exercise-o-philes and we stuck out like sedentary sloths... I decided to increase my practice to more than once a week and asked Andrew if he'd like to join me. Funny thing about living in a place where active, yoga-men are more accepted, it starts to feel ok for men to practice foofy things like yoga. He flat out refused to try a beginners class, or try a dvd, so we started with (in weird shorts he found buried deep in his luggage) Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations A). As best as I could I taught him the basics, talking through the inhales and exhales, heels aligned, flat back, hips forward, open shoulders...
Eventually, we decided to join the local gym (such a bad idea). This meant he needed work-out clothes... and a trip to Lululemon! Most definitely, he told me the fact that he didn't know a soul in the Okanagan, his closest friends living 6000 km away, was essential in this transition. Eventually, after about a year of personal practice he felt ready to try a yoga class with a real (male!) instructor. The class was a yin-hatha class and felt SOO boring to me. My busy type A brain kept becoming annoyed that we were slowly raising our arms... AGAIN. Andrew LOVED it and asked why I always made him practice more "hard" yoga at home (hah, I guess I just assumed he'd love Vinyasa like I do!). (My second yoga space at our 4th place in BC, note the PINK walls... very Institution-Zen)
By the end of the two years of living in BC Andrew had his own mat (well- my old TPE Lulu mat that was flaking apart), two pairs of lulu pants and two shirts and could practice with me for about 40 minutes.
When we moved to Halifax I asked him if he'd still practice with me... (hopeful, doe eyed look). I was surprised that all of a sudden my open, non-affected Andrew was being influenced by the traditional city and had weird reservations about being.... no.... seen in PUBLIC carrying a yoga mat bag! (he still refuses to sling it over his shoulder and carries the bag from the strap in his hand...lol). Thankfully, that silly phase lasted about a few weeks here and he's now even attending yoga classes, vinyasa flow classes at that! My moment of ultimate "YES" moments: after a particular hatha-y and slow class at the Yoga Loft (post Yoga with R, this class was not with R!) he looked over and announced: "That was the most boring class ever, I really just wanted to DO yoga". LOL. WOOT! (I have nothing against slower yoga styles.... I just prefer a more active practice, mostly because slower styles make me MORE stressed, my mind has more time to wander. I have found that recently I am getting better at quieting my mind during moments of yin practice...).
So there you have it! How I convinced my Andrew to actually, seriously practice yoga. Now that he's started running he even cools off with 10-15 minutes of yoga... all.by.himself!!! He has drawn the line in the sand though... I really wanted to practice yoga in the commons here (a wide open grass filled space that is nice and flat for Haligonians to play sports) and he absolutely, emphatically refused. I guess I can't complain, he does come to the park with us and only feels mildly weird :) (Andrew and I in Warrior III at Global Mala)
Since then we've gotten two couples to start practicing along with us by joining our weekly home practices. Classes, even intro ones, are so intimidating to new yogis especially in a city where barely any men practice. Dvd's are nice (that's how I began) but not as informative or interactive as someone actually talk you through a sequence in a friendly open setting.
I don't know why I felt the need to share this little part of our yoga-life. Hope it's been helpful for some other hopeful yogi/ni's out there!
Blessings and Happy Full Moon!