I was terrified the first time I walked into a hot yoga studio. The stifling heat got my heart pumping before the class began. The room was packed and I squeezed my 6’4″ frame onto a small section of the floor. My yoga mat felt like an island I was hoping to be rescued from. The class started, and the instructions from the teacher might as well have been in a foreign language. I found some advanced yogis to mimic and surprised myself with flexibility I wasn’t expecting. I stretched muscles I hadn’t used in years and felt a cleansing detox. Water had never tasted so good. Upon leaving the studio I felt a rush of endorphins and the exhausting yet exhilarating feeling that only intense physical activity can bring. I was instantly hooked and started practicing 3-5 times per week. Little did I know how one seemingly routine decision would cause waves of positive change.
As a former hockey player with shoulder and knee issues, I was longing for a new avenue to exercise, stretch and sweat. Yoga gave me this and was the catalyst for so much more. Stepping out of my comfort zone and into the studio challenged me in new ways and opened my mind to innovative methods for maintaining an active lifestyle. After yoga became a regular part of my life, I found myself seeking new challenges and additional ways to dispel preconceived notions regarding how men are generally conditioned to live.
Power of Plants
Like most people, I always believed that I needed animal protein in order to maintain an athletic physique. Besides, steak and burgers taste good, and what manly man would neglect this primal urge to consume meat?
After becoming a devoted yogi, I was open to considering alternatives and began to experiment with eating more plants, more fruit and fewer animal products. Research revealed many plant-powered topics that resonated with me. I was encouraged to learn of competitive athletes in a number of sports who were thriving on a plant-based diet. Soon after I eliminated all animal products from my diet and felt immediate changes. Consuming a variety of colorful, fiber-rich foods was giving me increased energy and I noticed a glow to my skin. As my body was using much less energy for digestion I was able to increase my activity levels and experiment with new foods and recipes. Eating less sugar and minimal processed foods has heightened my taste buds to the point that peppers and onions taste like candy. With a pressure cooker, blender and juicer the kitchen has become my food lab. As my palate has changed, the food combinations I’ve discovered inspire me to keep experimenting with new smoothies, soups, burritos and more. Continue reading >>