This post is designed for two types of readers. Strength athletes — men and women that want to do yoga to gain range of motion and flexibility. It’s a wake-up call to all those bendy, skinny yoga teachers who struggle working with strength athletes. For my fellow yoga teachers, I’ll warn you that some of comments in this post will be a shock to you. I know you don’t have many people like me in your classes, and you should be wondering why. This post is all about the #blindprejudice some yoga teachers have against strength athletes and powerlifters.
Yoga for the Strength Athlete
Yoga is infinitely useful for building end of range strength. Yoga is powerful for building stability and balance. Yoga, of course, also builds flexibility. When a yoga teacher skips the power poses, they do themselves and their class a disservice. Yoga Teachers — you need to be more like CrossFit Coaches. The Ring Muscle-up, the Handstand Walk, the Barbell Snatch, these skills are are freaking hard to master. But good CrossFit coaches modify and scale these skills and workouts to make them approachable. So what is your excuse? You can’t do those skills yourself, or can’t scale them. That’s not good enough — your students deserve more.
Why Don’t You See Many Male Powerlifters or CrossFitters in your Yoga Class?
It’s simple … we are not welcomed in your class. Most professional yoga teachers are not strong. Most don’t value strength enough. Most yoga teachers take a look at me and view my physique in disgust. I am not super bendy, nor will I ever be. I have gained massive amounts of mobility and flexibility from practicing yoga. Even as I practice today, my flexibility continues to improve. Fellow Yoga Teachers — the Powerlifter, the CrossFitter, the Olympic lifter — those are your serious clients. The ones who need your service.
Yoga Teachers, You Need to Understand Your Strength Athlete Better
As a powerlifter that does yoga, I face a constant level of disgust from yoga teachers. They refuse to modify poses, and insist that my path forward has to be the same as theirs. Why? Because they learned from another skinny yoga teacher. Well, let me break it to you succinctly, my path forward will never be the same as a 110 pound female. This lack of acceptance was a big reason I began teaching yoga. Yoga is powerful and helpful to all people. I wanted to share all the knowledge and benefits I have gained with others.
Your Prerequisites are Not Mine
I understand the need for prerequisites, we have tons of them in Powerlifting, CrossFit, and Olympic lifting. But I hate when other yoga teachers substitute their prerequisites for mine. So what if my hips don’t stack perfectly over my shoulders in a bound headstand? Sure… ideally, they would be perfectly stacked. Life doesn’t have perfectly stacked positions. Durability is about being strong in all positions.
Bodyshaming in Yoga
Bodies are all different — please don’t look me like I am different. Don’t treat me like I am different. Literally, I hear comments like, “Now everyone lets extend into triangle pose — the big guy in the corner — maybe you should just sit in child’s pose. You know… you really should stretch more.” I’ve been to over 200 yoga classes, and 90% of yoga teachers make comments like that. I know you don’t do it intentionally, but the prejudice is there. Why don’t you think you have more guys over 200 pounds do you have in your class? You are treating us, like we are different. And no one wants that.
Scaling Yoga for Strength Athletes
Fellow Yoga Teachers, let me break it down for you. When properly scaled, I can do any yoga pose you can do and more. You are supposed to be a teacher — it’s your responsibility to scale the poses to any student in the class. Yes, we should all strive to improve, but I do not want to practice in an environment where I am looked with disgust. If you can’t scale a pose to all your students — maybe you should study some more. I teach yoga everyday, and there is no student that I can’t scale a pose to.
Getting Strong with Yoga
As for you super bendy yoga coaches … I am sorry I will never be as flexible as you. Get over it… I AM OVER THE FACT YOU CANT DO A SINGLE PULLUP or DEADLIFT HALF YOUR BODYWEIGHT SAFELY. I know, it’s easier to train people like yourself. But you are a professional. You should be seeking out people like me, not banishing us to the corner of the room.
Teaching Strength to the Flexy Yogi
I am blessed to have a number of yoga teachers as students / members. I help flexible, bendy people build strength and stability all the time. I applaud you for having the courage to get help to build durability and strength. Thank you taking positive steps to improve your fitness. Flexible people are susceptible to their own I’ve seen the injuries that bendy people encounter in their struggle to gain stability and strength.
Yoga is About Body Love
I like working with people who aren’t perfect. Join me on a path to move better, gain mobility, and build strength. Come train with me, because you want to improve. THAT’S THE WAY YOGA IS SUPPOSED TO BE.