When we last left our heroes, they had gotten pretty naked. Figuratively. In Part 2, baby you get it all! That’s Tommy Tadasana above. Naked. In Double Pigeon. He wanted me to make certain that you ladies out there (who are now clutching your hearts) know he is really and truly sans clothing. :)
THE MANLY SIDE OF YOGA (more dudeliciousness with Down Doug + Tommy Tadasana)
6. Tommy has mentioned his “girl hips” and their masterful powers before. What have you learned that your body is capable of that you never thought possible?
TT: Yes. I have amazing hips well worth all y’all’s envy. But mostly, I’m still in the phase of discovering all the things that are possible for some yogis, but that I can’t currently do. It’s funny to say as a former endurance athlete, but my real struggle — at least in flow — is with stamina. I once won a bike race with my heart rate at 188 bpm, but flow can really put me back in the red zone. Just today, I had to suck it up and drop into child’s pose, which I hate to do.
DD: Scorpion! I never imagined my bad back would go for such a bend, but once I realized I could get loose enough to get into wheel, I could bust Scorpion out, too. Sometimes when I’m anxious, perhaps talking to some suits about pitching a movie, I imagine myself in Scorpion or Headstand, and it usually calms my nerves. No idea why…
7. Tell us what your yoga is — theory, meaning, practice, philosophy…anything you want to share.
TT: My yoga is an escape from work, family, hobbies, and personal distractions to focus on me. To re-center, relax, be present for once, and challenge myself. Actually, I go to empty out. To spill out everything and lighten the load. To unburden. Yoga helps me write, think, parent, teach, and be a good husband, because yoga helps me be a better me. (Put that on a cheesy poster and sell it!)
DD: Through yoga, I was introduced to a regular seated meditation practice. I sit with the Against Stream Buddhist Meditation Society, a group started by Noah Levine. Through that and some really great yoga teachers, I’ve developed a philosophy of compassion — for myself and my fellow students. I’ve been plagued my whole life with social anxiety, and compassion is the common cure for such an affliction. When you realize that the folks sitting, posing around you, are under the same stresses that you are, in need of the same compassion you’re desperate for, you can’t help but feel close to them. Instead of a fear of embarrassment that these people are going to judge me if I fall out of a pose or breathe too loud, you recognize a bond that we’re all trying to end our suffering together, right now in this room. It’s funny, I’ll see a fellow classmate out in the real world (if you can call Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s the real world) and I’ll feel so much connection to them that I have to stop myself from running over and hugging them. I realize we hardly know each other, maybe a “hey” or “what’s up” on the way in or out of class, but you can’t help but feel a bond with these folks. It’s cool.
8. What are your favorite poses and why? What are your nemesis poses?
TT: I love anything where I’m long and strong. Warrior 2 really turns me on from head to toe, wing tip to wing tip. I also love to fire open the hips in Pigeon and Double Pigeon, but Thread the Needle (forgive my lack of Sanskrit knowledge) really, really helps my back. I dig the Chaturanga when my elbows don’t hurt, because I enjoy the feeling of control and power it gives me. And, I’m a Tree Pose guy. When I nail it, I imagine that I really do look like a tree standing atop a rolling green hill. As far as nemesis poses — ugh. Chair Pose. Hate it. Half Moon gives me fits, too. I’m getting better, but Crescent Pose exhausts me, especially in a flow sequence.
DD: As I said, I love Scorpion, mostly because it surprises me every time that I can get in and out of it. I don’t really have any poses I hate. There are some that are more challenging, but that’s what keeps me coming back. Humility keeps us grounded. Every time you think you’re big shit, you find a pose that kicks your ass.
9. Most embarrassing yoga moment?
TT: I blogged about this, too, but probably the time that I was the only guy in a class of six and the instructor refused to acknowledge me at all. Didn’t ask my name, about injuries, or even really look at me. The only thing she said to me, in a snarky tone late in the class, was “You need a bigger mat, bro.” I finally let her have it when she said to the class, “Let me know if you’re not feeling this in your cervix.” Swear to god. I raised my hand and said, “Little help?” The rest of the class busted out laughing and she practically growled. That was early in my practice, and I almost didn’t go back, but thankfully, I’ve found wonderful instructors since.
DD: One class, we broke into groups to work on Supported Bridge. I was in a threesome with two middle-aged ladies. As they lifted me into bridge, one of the ladies had a Freudian slip and accidentally used the word “package” just as mine was thrust into the air. The ladies were laughing so hard they dropped me. We laughed it off, but it was pretty embarrassing. I felt like a piece of meat! Finally. ;)
10. What inspires your practice and gets you out of bed or off the couch and asana-ing?
TT: Freedom! A chance to get out on my own with no responsibilities but to myself. Time to breathe.
DD: I’ve always been desperate to find something external to fix me, cure myself of the suffering that inevitably would come back around when I found myself alone. I’ve realized through yoga that there is nothing I can buy or distract myself with that will end my suffering. We can’t end pain, it’s part of life, but suffering is a by-product of our own minds.