I’m Over 40, and I Just Did Yoga for the First Time.

CBUS Dads dad blogger Dan Farkas' son enjoys a yoga session with his dad

This is now on the Internet. And I think you should think about doing yoga too.

How did we get here? The story involves common themes in modern storytelling: money, ego and a higher power.

As with many things in life, my journey begins with my two kids, Leah and Will. At times, both of them (like all children) tend to get a little bit upset. Unlike other kids, those emotional roller coasters tend to have more significant consequences. Leah’s ADHD makes stressful situations go from 0-60 really fast. Will’s asthma makes it harder for him to breathe.

Meltdowns happen. Fixing them fast is a priority for our family.

Enter deep breathing, just like you would do in yoga. Through various parenting courses, we learned how to teach our kids to breathe, think and focus on themselves. It’s worked wonders.

Parenting is stressful, but here’s what I know:

  • We all tell our kids to get out of our comfort zones
  • We spend a lot of time and money helping our kids find ways to solve problems
  • We don’t heed our own advice or the advice of our kids’ doctors, teachers, etc.

If I tell my kids to get out of their comfort zone and look for ways to be a better version of themselves, why am I not doing the same? It was time to think about leading by example.

It was also time to accept a brutal truth. While I’m thrilled with my new effort at running and weight loss (down 55 pounds since January!), I’m not thrilled with some back pain and lack of flexibility. I feel like my body makes a wooden board look like a rubber band.

I didn’t think I had time to deal with back issues. I didn’t think I had time to be self-reflective. I did hear several people mention how yoga helped them with both. What was there to lose?

  • Ego: I didn’t want to be the only guy in a class of people who knew what they were doing
  • Ego: I didn’t want to suck at something I’ve never done
  • Ego: I didn’t want to justify to others why I did something that isn’t in my Type A world

Upon further review, I had to judge irrational fear vs. tangible benefit. The business person in me convinced the rest of me to let it go and try something new. To the Powell Go Yoga I went for a 30-day trial. Thank goodness I did. Here’s why you should think about it, too:

  • Get over worries about working out with other people. There were men and women in the class. There were older people and younger people. Some were really good. Some were new like me. Nobody cared. Really. Nobody cared. That’s why they have instructors who instruct you to do better. Get over yourself. I quickly got over my narcissism and focused on a bigger picture.
  • I do suck at yoga, and that’s totally OK. I could barely do some of the poses, I sweat an alarmingly uncomfortable amount and I felt a degree of soreness I couldn’t have ever fathomed. My hamstrings were still sore three days after the fact.
  • I was a mess, and it was awesome. It also helped me as a parent. I felt more relaxed, did the deep breathing with them when they faced stressed and made more of the time we had together. They’ve even replicated poses on occasion.

CBUS Dads dad blogger Dan Farkas' son enjoys a yoga session with his dad

There’s a larger benefit that goes far beyond a session:

  • I constantly tell my kids (and college students) you will screw something up the first time you do anything. Golf, taxes, Common Core math, and yoga for sure. It’s all about how you learn, grow and adapt. It’s also about trying again, preferably in a nurturing environment. Teachers want you to succeed, and most will bend over backwards if you show some effort. My yoga teacher literally bent over backward to help me better understand how to do the right moves with the body I have in hopes of getting the body I want to have a year from now. Go Yoga is incredible, and they aren’t giving me anything to say that. I’m sure other places are awesome too. Seriously, try this.
  • I should define who I am, not anyone else. After two yoga sessions, I felt like I had better posture and set a personal record on a five-mile run. I felt more relaxed, slept better and got more done at work. I was a better me, a better spouse, a better parent, and a better person. That’s more important than anyone’s perception of who I’m supposed to be.

In the end, we run the race against ourselves. This bears repeating.

The only person who judges us in a way that matters is a higher power we can’t fathom. If I’m the only person who sees myself in the mirror every day, don’t I have an obligation to make myself the best person possible? Not just for me but the people and powers around me? Sometimes that means getting out of that comfort zone, even if your first foray doesn’t go the way you want.

I’m Dan Farkas. I’m over 40, terrible at yoga, and incredibly eager to end this blog so I can give this new adventure one more try.

-By Dan Farkas, Regular Contributor

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