Yoga
for Men

Bruce's Yoga for Healthy Living Four Step Program for Individual & Organizational Wellness


Step One: Discovering the Inner Comic

I feel pretty good…But I used to feel like a shleppy Jewish Accountant when I would get the 6:30 train to come into the “City” to do your taxes….

My life got really interesting when I married this Greek Orthodox Mormon Cosmetic Opera Singer from Utah …God If my life were a movie it might be called the Night Jerry Seinfeld met the New Age Marie Osmond at Zorba’s Alchohol Free Restaurant. Not only do I have a demanding Jewish mother with a split personality, but an ex-wife who has sucked the lifeblood out of me, an a ex-mother-in-law that put a contract out on my life, and five mother-in-laws from the Polygamist state of Utah that hate Jews and like to throw plates. So to piss them all off I quit my Jewish job as an Accountant and became a Yoga Instructor working with men who have Erectile Dysfunctions. Now they’re all confused.

But the worst thing is whenever I get into a fight with my wife the mother in laws start running personal ads in the Salt Lake City Tribune that read something like this.

Oppressed Mormon Woman with a Biological Clock Deadline Seeks Mormon Knight to Rescue Her From Her Cheap Jew Husband Who Won’t Give Her Any Kids

I remember how jealous my parents were as a child growing up when they would learn that there friends were getting a divorce….The Weinbergs are getting divorced…their happy….they have money…we’re poor so we got to stay together and be miserable till death do us part.

If my parents life were a movie it would be called The Adventures of “Sybil” and “I am Sam”. It wasn’t so bad when Sybil was Nancy, a schoolgirl aged 12, but when Sybil was Mimi, a demanding Jewish American Princess, things got downright ugly.

“I am Sam but I never know who you are….Why can’t you just follow a schedule Nancy on Monday Wednesday and Friday and Mimi on Tuesday and Thursday.”

The problem was we got a lot more Mimi and a lot less Nancy as time went on.

So my father also used to talk about suicide. He would say that he wished he had a garage so that he could go out in style.

So when I grew up I chose a career where I could afford a divorce and an assisted suicide and I got this huge two-car garage that Dr. Kervorkian helped me renovate so when my kids get ready to ship me off to the home… and you know they will because my Jewish American Princesses aren’t going to change my Depends…I can get the last laugh.

You know humor is a great waS to heal the pain we have experienced in our lives. With humor, I am trying to transform my pain into a more meaningful experience like: A spot on the Lenno Show, a house in Beverly Hills, and vacations at the Betty Ford Clinic.

So the Raja Rama a character I created for healing says, “uncover the pain, honor it, laugh out loud and get on with your life.”

Moral of the Story:

We can’t live life without experiencing some form of pain; it is part of the human experience. Pain gives meaning to our life’s journey and can lead us back to the path of growth and the pursuit of our life’s purpose. Humor can help us to honor the pain and acknowledge it. Unfortunately most of us repress our pain and emotions anesthetizing ourselves with addictions such as alcohol, drugs, food, nicotine, sex, money, material possessions, work, relationships, etc. In my own life I went through a series of addictions. You name the addiction…I had it. In fact, I was even addicted to my therapist.

Many psychiatrists, psychologists and pharmaceutical companies think we should all be taking daily doses of Prozac; but again, this is just another addiction causing the power to be taken from you. What we really need is to get in touch with our true feelings, which is what the addiction is preventing us from doing in the first place. Yoga practice allows us to evaluate our emotions and feelings from a balanced, objective place. Overcoming our addictions is one of the spiritual lessons we come to experience in this life. Will we have the courage to admit that we have these addictions, and will we have the courage to take the action necessary?

I have found that people facing life-challenging illnesses are most willing to dispense with the denial process because it is obviously no longer serving their best interests. In working as a yoga therapist with cancer patients I have found it very important to begin to unlock the energy blockages in the body because all of our experiences get manifested in our physiology. Therefore I consider the use of humor to be the first step in healing and healthy living. So as a first exercise construct your own comedy act. You may want to take a few painful experiences from your life and exaggerate them. Humor is often about creating absurdity out of the stuff of everyday life. Sometimes our lives are absurd. In these cases you will not have to be as creative. I have provided about half a page for your act. Please fill in your name. I suggest you may want to share your act with a friend or co-worker. Sharing can be especially healing because it allows us to better understand each other’s challenges and past journey. However, do not feel obligated to share. We also will be running a contest for the best Inner Comic. Please submit your submissions to www.yogaforbusiness.com.

_______________’s Comedy Act:

You know if my life were a movie it would be called _________________________ (visit the www.fandango.com site under Hot Movies and choose from a genre. Your life may fall into one of these categories; Action, Comedy, Drama, Suspense, Romance, Family, Sci-fi or Art House. Once you have chosen your category you can search through an alphabetical listing of movies in your category to find the one that best fits your life.)

(Go ahead and complain like my Jewish Grandmother) Not only do I have a _____________________ but a _____________________and a ___________________________________ and a _________________________________

(Now write your story. Exaggerate and be absurd with your own faults as well as others in your life.) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

(Now see if you can touch upon the more painful experiences with humor) __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

(End by telling what the sequel to your movie will be called) ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Step Two: Discovering the Inner Artist

Expressing ourselves through art has also been part of the human experience for tens of thousands of years.

I would like you to honor a painful experience by creating an illustration. Please try not to be judgmental of your artistic ability, just focus on re-creating the painful experience and adding an absurdity to create some space between you and the experience.

These are the pictures I have created for my life.

(Picture 1: “I am Sam” is knocked out cold on the floor and three young children walk over and around him to get to their rooms. One of the children remarks, “It looks like Mimi Ko’ed Sam this time”. Second child, “Yeah she used the round house kick frying pan combo”.

(Picture 2: Sybil has become Zorro. She closes all the blinds so no one will spot her true identity. Inside a young child hides under the couch thinking he can elude the clever Zorro. Zorro spots him and marks him on the arm with her sword. A child has a red Z on his arm).

Please feel free to forward your submissions to www.yogaforbusiness.com and we will choose the best for display.

Once the pain has been uncovered, the more difficult process of forgiveness can begin. Through Yoga and exercises in detachment you can start to experience your life from a place of greater understanding and tolerance. In this way you can create the space to begin to understand the challenges and limitations of those who may have hurt you in the past. We will explore some techniques for accomplishing this later in the book.

Step Three: Discovering Your Inner Musician

There is an underlying vibration throughout the Universe that dates back to the original “Big Bang” some 8-12 billion years ago. There is also a vibration that runs through our physiology that is related to our heartbeat and breathing. Even our thoughts have a sound associated with them. Therefore, everything has its own theme music, no matter how silent it appears.

When our thoughts are out of kilter, they throw off our normally relaxed patterns of breathing, and heartbeat.

As an exercise in breathing and in vibration awareness, I suggest you purchase a basic c chord harmonica. The harmonica is a great instrument because we can make sounds both on the inhalation and exhalation. What I suggest is that you work toward a four second inhalation and an eight second exhalation. This is a very healing interval. By getting six breaths per minute you are training your entire physiology to slow down and assume a healthier beat and rhythm.

To make the exercise even more interesting, you can vary your position on the harmonica using higher notes and lower notes. You can even shake the harmonica in your mouth to create interesting sounds.

I recommend practicing the musical exercise at least five minutes a day until you feel comfortable with breathing intervals. Or feel free to continue to use the harmonica. It is a wonderful instrument, which I have found to be very healing.

Step Four: Loving Your Self

While it is true that as human beings we all need to experience some pain on our journey, there comes a point in time when we no longer need to inflict suffering upon ourselves. Self-love involves understanding that you are complete and whole and not lacking in any regard. You are a microcosm of the universe. A hologram of creation is inside each of us. We all have great power, but we have been afraid to uncover it. The uncovering takes great courage because what I am asking you to do is to step into the silence. This involves tuning out the problems of the world we ultimately wish to solve. Only by creating this distance can you be effective.

In music the silence gives the notes meaning. In your life the silence can do the same. To be effective you must make a commitment now to yourself and your well being to immerse yourself fully in this program. Allocate the time required, which is about an hour each day. I suggest you try the program for a month. I am confident that once you experience the positive changes, you will make it a lifelong pursuit and wonder how you ever survived without it.

There are many forces that don’t want you to uncover your inner power because it will mean that they will lose power over you. Some of the greatest offenders are family members, organized religion, the healthcare industry, business organizations, the media and the government. Unlocking your personal power is one of the great gifts of Yoga practice.

Yoga practice requires discipline, and time. It is so much easier to embark on this path when we have the time and our health is good. Yet we often do not, and wait for a crises or breakdown before we take action. The key to developing the discipline is to practice self-love. You have to love yourself enough to give yourself this time.

In the next series of articles we will provide an introduction to Yoga and how we can unlock some of the blockages in the body with physical postures and meditation.

© 2008, Bruce Eric Van Horn

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If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health. - Hippocrates

Author, CPA, MBA and yoga instructor Bruce Van Horn founded Yoga for Business, Inc., a company devoted to organizational and individual wellness. He presents a daily Yoga Workout routine that provides a complete physical, mental and spiritual workout. He is the author of Yoga for Prostate Health and Yoga for Men, designed for all levels of experience with yoga.. He has renamed (Asanas) positions in Yoga using terms from business to help you identify with the movement and focus your attention. He is the Chair of the Advisory Board for the Center for Complimentary Medicine at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey. Bruce also leads a volunteer yoga program designed for cancer patients and healthcare workers at Beth Israel Medical Center. He lives outside New York with his wife Michelle who is a Reiki Master. Bruce has two daughters who have asked that he refrain from headstands at the town pool. His website is www.yogaforbusiness.com If you have any questions, feel free to write: E-Mail.



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