Yoga
for Men

Four Step Program for Individual & Organizational Wellness


Step One: Discovering the Inner Comic

How is everyone tonight?

Has anyone ever made a career change?

I had this mid life crises and I went from being a Creative CPA to a yoga instructor/author/ comedian wannabe. 

My friends would say, “Why can’t you be like a normal person and get a mistress or a sportscar. Better yet buy a really expensive house with a huge mortgage that will get your mind focused.” 

Now not only can’t I afford a mistress, but I can’t even make the monthly payments on the station wagon. I can’t even get my old job back at Anderson all the clients are gone. You see I got the downsizing blues. 

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? 

Many of us never get the courage to face our addictions and we continue to blame others for our failings. This pattern of behavior was taught to us in early childhood. We learned by fear that if we placed the blame on others we could escape punishment.

I recall a time when I was five years old. I had colored the solar system on the living-room wall in crayon. When my mother asked me who did it, I told her that it was my one-year-old sister. When my mother began to praise my sister’s genius, I quickly admitted that it was my creation. I was given a bucket and a sponge and I remember scrubbing all day long.

Many parents are quick to react to such behavior with a physical and verbal assault. This conditions the child to avoid accepting responsibility. The results are that we have organizations full of individual who have been socialized to lie and blame others for their shortcomings. Our legal, healthcare, and educational systems have further contributed to removing the burden of personal responsibility to the detriment of the individual and society as a whole.

I have found that many people facing life-challenging illnesses are willing to accept responsibility for their actions and 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 for 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 work 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 send your submissions to www.yogaforbusiness.com. 

_______________’s Comedy Act:

Your Name

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.) Use additional paper if needed. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 

(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

Our artist has illustrated three characters I have created; Annie, Manny and Oscar based upon certain archetype characteristics. The characters perform the Yoga positions that are supposed to focus their minds on productive thoughts while the company’s executives violate all of the principles they are teaching in the class. I use the characters to honor the difficulties you may encounter as well as to lighten up the subject matter. This should be fun and lighthearted not heavy and painful. The characters allow us to explore some of our traits and behaviors that are similar and possibly uncover some of the limitations we impose on ourselves.

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

With the assistance of our talented artist, I have created illustrations, in our case study, of some painful experiences faces by our three characters; Annie, Manny and Oscar.

On the right sidebar I would like you to honor your experience by creating an illustration. Please try not to be judgmental of your artistic ability. Just focus on re-creating the painful experience and add absurdity to create some space between you and the experience.

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. You may also be able to begin looking at how you may be contributing to the melodrama in your life and how you can avoid it in the future.

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.

Our talented Musician, Michael DiGirolamo, has created a musical combination for the meditations in the accompanying CD that will help you move from patterns of thought that tend to disrupt the system, to patterns of thought that lead to relaxation, focus and healing. We have included a Tree Meditation and a Loving Kindness Meditation. The Tree Meditation focuses on balance and the Loving Kindness Meditation focuses on service. You may want to use these meditations in the morning to maintain a sense of balance during the day.

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 healin

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.

© 2009, 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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