Student Spotlight: Peter Taylor

When did you start coming to Yen Yoga & Fitness?  

I started at Yen just over 6 years ago. I had started doing yoga after I shattered my collarbone into 6 pieces in my home of San Francisco.  It affected my right arm to the point that I lost my “killer” serve in my nearly 30 year tennis game.  In San Francisco, you can walk everywhere and it has some of the steepest hills around, and with a dog I was constantly climbing.  However, I wanted something else to stay in shape.  I always thought yoga was for crunchies; Birkenstock wearing, tofu loving, wheat grass slamming nutty people.

What was your reason for starting? (Mind, Body, Health, etc.)

I have never been one to ease into something, I go full throttle, no looking back.  So I went to a Bikram hot yoga class. 90 minutes, 110 degrees and 40% humidity.  (So not me… one of the reasons I moved to San Francisco was because it is pretty much 65 degrees year round with no humidity. )  I thought, “This is it, this is how my life ends!”  I was certain I would be dead at the end.  I made it.  I had a 45 minute nap after, then went back the next day. And the next day, again and again and again. I joined Yen as a monthly unlimited member.   99.5% I do strictly Hot Yoga.  I love it.  I’m now known as the crunchy, tofu loving vegan nut job.

What has been your biggest accomplishment since becoming a member at Yen Yoga & Fitness?

I want to make the rest of my life, the best of my life.  Several things stand out.  I can and have done 3 classes a day, two regularly.  I got over my ego, learned to breathe and after 5 years of dedication, I was finally able to do Hero and then Camel.

Unfortunately, I became mega seriously sick, the doctors weren’t sure what was wrong and not sure if I’d make it.  I spent 9 or 10 months in bed.  I kept doing my poses in bed.  They finally found that I had a genetic disorder, Hemochromatosis, where the body doesn’t eliminate all of the excess iron in your system. Hitting it head on as usual I adopted a plant based diet, and now I’m in peak physical condition. The doctors are amazed as I am too.

Last year, out of nowhere, I started thinking about trying the teacher training.  My interest wasn’t so much the spiritual aspect, just the physical.  I wanted to assist with the Hot Yoga experience, challenge those practicing and learning that you don’t have to “do” every pose.  There are benefits by showing up with your mat.  I follow the saying of Bikram, “to fall out of a pose is human, to get back into the poses is a yogi.” The instructors are great but I’d like to see more guys practicing and teaching.  Getting certified was a difficult experience for me, so much information thrown at you.  Yoga is easy, learning anatomy, sutras, Sanskrit and the Gita in one day, made my head explode and resulted in me needing to go to bed very early.

What is your favorite class?  

HOT HOT HOT, it’s like regular yoga but with me in it.

Do you have any funny Yen moments you’d like to share, or any “meditations from the mat” moments? 

Let’s talk farting- everyone is petrified.  Not me, I still laugh at toilet humor.  Here is the deal, if it happens, no one will say anything, there are fans in the room, and Wind Removal Pose encourages it.  I never have, but I will.  In the book called “The Teacher Appears” they say to do it once and make it memorable.”  Actually, I think the sound of my body sticking to my mat makes the same sound and I laugh and laugh.

What advice or words of encouragement would you like to pass along to people who haven’t been to Yen Yoga & Fitness?  

Find a class you love and keep doing it.  It is the commitment to doing the exercise you like as much as you can.  I found HOT and really have little interest in anything else.  Occasionally I do Warm Yin and Restorative.