Welcome to the Man Flow Yoga Story!

Dean here, founder of Man Flow Yoga. Read on to learn about my own experience with fitness to better understand what the mission of Man Flow Yoga means for YOU.

And ultimately the reason I created Man Flow Yoga

I have been in and out of physical therapy clinics since I was 13. When I was only 16, I had knee surgery to address recurring partial patellar subluxation (my kneecap came in and out). The time, I was glad to have the surgery. It was a quick-fix to a recurring issue I blamed for holding me back. At least, I thought it was my knee holding me back. As I got older, I developed a deeper interest in fitness and started learning more about biomechanics. It was when I was in my 20s when I realized that it wasn’t my knee that was giving me problems. The actual cause of my injury had to do with weakness in other parts of my body. It had to do with a lack of core strength, a lack of balanced training, and inflexibility.

I was upset when I realized this. Why had I not been shown the proper exercises? Why wasn’t one of my coaches or trainers taking action to prevent my risk of injury? Why did I have to go under the knife was I was only 16?

If I was the trainer for the 16-year old version of myself, I would have given myself Man Flow Yoga. I would have addressed core strength and flexibility. I would have concentrated more on keeping my core engaged while doing squats and deadlifts. I would have addressed shoulder flexibility instead of doing so much bench press. In short, I would teach myself everything that I teach to you with Man Flow Yoga. My competitive lacrosse career is over, but it wasn’t too late for me to start relearning movement patterns and retraining my body to be more efficient, reduce my risk of injury, and ultimately be stronger. And it isn’t too late for you, either.

The story is about YOU now. We design programs that help YOU take back ownership of your body and your health. These programs build strength, flexibility, core strength, bodily awareness, and balance. They are designed for YOU, so that you don’t have go through the physical, mental, and emotional pain caused by injuries that keep you from moving the way that you want to move. You deserve to move without pain. You deserve to be healthy. We’re looking forward to seeing you start your own story. Meet you in the training section!

My Personal Story

My first yoga class was entirely on accident. I was looking for the tailor and stumbled into a Bikram Yoga studio. I had always been interested in yoga but had never taken a yoga class before that day. I asked the yoga instructor if this class would help my athletic performance. (At the time I was a lacrosse player for the University of Wisconsin.) She told me that it would help me tone my muscles and make me much more flexible. That was exactly what I was looking for. Two hours later, drenched in sweat from head to toe, utterly exhausted and feeling like I had just exited a pool, I had completed my first yoga class. It was, and probably will remain, the hardest workout that I have ever done. From that point on, I was sold.

After two months of doing yoga consistently, I realized that the benefits of yoga extended far beyond flexibility. My level of limberness skyrocketed, and so did my endurance, body control, core strength, and balance, just to name a few of the benefits I was experiencing. More than that, it made me even stronger in the weight room. I first began instructing yoga as the conditioning coach of my lacrosse team in 2011. I was concerned that a bunch of lax bros like myself would not be interested in yoga, but that was not the case. The team LOVED it. That success encouraged me to take my knowledge and passion to a larger audience. I started Man Flow Yoga™ in January of 2013 to bring the benefits of yoga to as many people as possible. Since then, I have been teaching yoga to people all over the world through my online programs.

image1-1I have been thoroughly impressed by Dean’s ability to teach via video link. He can spot the slightest imbalance even in 2D. It seems like he is in the room with you, despite being across the Atlantic!James Bruce
image1-1I find Dean’s style of teaching more directed towards someone like me, a mid twenty aged male who wants to try yoga without all the spiritual stuff many yoga teachers focus on. Dean focuses on how to properly complete the poses and use your breath to become better at yoga. I appreciate the “no nonsense” way dean teaches and look forward to using his products for a long time.

Stephen Kahn
Why and how I developed Man Flow Yoga

I absolutely love the movements and the exercises that are involved in yoga. Pushing my flexibility while holding up my own bodyweight challenges my body, makes my muscles burn, and downright excites me. There are, however, some aspects of traditional yoga that do not jive well with me.

Chanting, incense-burning, ohm-ing, calling out poses in an ancient language that nobody in the room speaks, and one-minute, public meditations all drive me insane. When I first started yoga, I did not understand why any of the aforementioned activities were part of the workout. Growing up as an athlete, I was exposed to a number of disciplines of physical fitness. For me, yoga was just another form of fitness. The chanting and spiritual stuff made no sense.

For many, yoga is often their FIRST exposure to any form of physical fitness. As a result, they develop an association between physical fitness and spirituality. For these people, the traditional form of yoga makes sense, because they’ve never done physical fitness without the spiritual aspect. And that’s awesome for them, but that isn’t for me. (And maybe not for you, either!)

After starting Man Flow Yoga, it turned out that the traditional yoga approach was putting off more people than just me – a LOT more. That realization inspired me to create a form of fitness-centric yoga that made sense to these people. Instead of bringing people to yoga on yoga’s terms, I brought yoga to the fitness-minded individual on THEIR terms. Though this is the most significant difference, it isn’t the only one.

It’s not actually a battle.

As you might have guessed from the name, Man Flow Yoga was created with the man in mind. Out of the many millions of yoga practitioners in the United States, almost 80% of them are women, and as a result yoga studios and most online yoga brands create content designed for women, because that is the demographic participating in their programs. But men and women have different bodies, and when flexibility is a main focus of the workout, it necessitates differentiation between workouts for men and those for women if beginners are involved.

Men are less flexible than women. They tend to rely on upper body strength instead of core strength. They hunch more. They move differently. But that’s not the only difference between men and women. Men also have different physical goals than women. We’re men – we want to be stronger, have bigger muscles, be more powerful, and be able to accomplish more with our body. We want larger muscles, a v-shaped torso, six-pack abs, and strong shoulders.

Man Flow Yoga workouts are created with all of these considerations. Poses do not require as much flexibility. Variations are given so that men can feel good about the exercises that they are doing. Regarding physical goals, the workouts have more upper body-focused poses and exercises, to help develop the muscles that guys want to have. Significantly, the poses last longer so that your muscles reach exhaustion, and muscle growth can occur.

For your ladies reading this right now, Man Flow Yoga is not just for men. Most of the women who do Man Flow Yoga do so because they enjoy the harder workout. Man Flow Yoga, after all, is just a name. You’re welcome here as well. 🙂

 

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Frequently Asked Questions

YES. Muscle growth happens when exercise causes the protein in your muscles to break down. You don’t need weights in order to accomplish this. All you need is your own bodyweight. Most full grown men in the United States weigh an average of 191 pounds. You think you need to add some plates on your ears to make it heavy enough to produce muscle? No! The only requirement for muscle growth to occur is that your body is put through the stress necessary for it to adapt to a higher threshold than it had previously been adapted to. As long as you are doing a workout that challenges your body to accomplish a physical task, then you are building muscle! Man Flow Yoga is different from other yoga because the poses last longer and do not require as much flexibility, which means that you will build more strength because your muscles are under greater stress. Try out a workout for yourself. If you feel sore the next morning or 2 days afterwards then you are on the right path!
Absolutely! The workouts themselves are very challenging and cause your body to convert stored fat into energy for your workout (i.e. burn fat). These workouts also help to develop muscle, which lowers the amount of fat on your body. (The more muscle you have, the less fat!) Going beyond the workout, the awareness and stress relief facilitated by the emphasis on breath and attention to detail actually reduces stress eating, which helps you successfully address the main cause of weight gain.
One of the things that makes yoga so unique from other forms of physical fitness is its emphasis on flexibility. Most yoga helps to increase flexibility, but you will see faster and more dramatic results with Man Flow Yoga, because we encourage to push your limits, rather than “just do what feels good”. Flexibility is not something that is given; it is something that you have to work for. Remember that in order to improve your flexibility you must make a conscious effort to go past your existing range of motion. When you do that, you increase your flexibility.
Yes and yes. Not only does Man Flow Yoga help to alleviate back pain, it also addresses the root causes of back pain, such as inflexibility in the muscles that connect to your back, muscle imbalances, poor posture, and lack of core strength.
Man Flow Yoga is unique from other types of yoga because of its emphasis on physical fitness. All other types of yoga incorporate a spiritual or meditative aspect, which is great, but shifts the focus away from biomechanical accuracy and physical results. Man Flow Yoga workouts are entirely focused on the technique involved in each exercise. We also talk about WHY we are doing each exercise, including the physical benefit, how it relates to performance in the rest of your body, and and how it will help you accomplish a certain physical task. Just because we don’t include meditation or spiritual practices in our workouts, we do recognize the importance of these to overall health and wellness. Within the Members Area of the Man Flow Yoga website, you’ll find a lifestyle section that addresses these other aspects of your fitness, separate from the physical fitness section.
You can get ripped with just yoga, but we don’t recommend it. Rowing and pulling are two movements that are necessary for a strong back and healthy shoulders that are not found in yoga. However, we do address this by placing much more emphasis on the back then traditionally found in other yoga programs, with modifications that target pulling muscles more effectively than standard variations, and more attention to technique. We recommend that you incorporate some form of resistance training into your workout routine that involves rowing or pulling (such as a seated row, pull-ups, or bent over row) in order to compensate for the absence of such motions in yoga.
Absolutely.

Man Flow Yoga isn’t just for men – it’s for anybody that wants to experience the benefits of what fitness-centric yoga can provide. The workouts reflect what most guys typically want out of a workout (more upper body, more muscle building), and contain modifications for poses that are difficulty for us inflexible guys, but there are many women that enjoy Man Flow yoga because of the fitness-centric aspect, not to mention that women can be inflexible too – the toll of a sedentary life affects us all.

No matter what anyone tells you (or what any fitness brand claims it can do) it is not possible to target a particular area of fat on your body with one exercise or another. If you are a male, you tend to store fat in your upper bodies, particularly in the belly area, whereas if you are a woman, you tend to store fat in the hips, butt, and legs. That said, these programs do help you lose fat – belly fat included. 🙂 It helps you lose this fat because it helps to (1) build muscle, (2) burn fat in the workout, and (3) reduce stress levels that lead to stress eating.
The short and resounding answer is YES. Unlike running, cross-training, and many other forms of physical fitness, yoga is a LOW-impact form of fitness. That means that there is much less stress on your joints, and is appropriate for men (and women) in their 50s – especially those just starting out a fitness routine. Man Flow Yoga helps to reinforce basic movement principles, which builds a foundational level of fitness. Man Flow Yoga increases your strength, builds muscle, endurance, increases flexibility, develops core stability, and helps you to become more aware of your body, all of which are necessary to helping you improve your overall fitness. and to stay healthy.
Man Flow Yoga has a variety of programs that are appropriate for everyone, whether you are new to fitness or just new to yoga. We focus on breaking down the technique from head to toe so that you are learning exactly how you should be executing each posture and exercise, instead of saying “just do what feels natural”. You’ll learn yoga safely and effectively, and in less time, which means that you can experience the results sooner.
The answer to this question depends on your current level of fitness, your fitness routine, and your fitness goals (not to mention many other personal factors). My suggestion is that if you are just starting a workout routine and are not doing anything else in addition to yoga, start with 20-30 minutes of yoga every other day, and then to increase from there. If you have already been exercising regularly, and plan on incorporating yoga into your existing fitness routine, make sure that you are doing yoga at least twice per week for a minimum of 30 minutes each time.
The Man Flow Yoga Members Area offers Silver and Gold memberships which involve one-on-one personal in-home webcam training sessions with Dean, so that you can get realtime feedback on your technique in addition to designing a comprehensive, personalized program that works for you. You can read more about this in the Members Area section.
Man Flow Yoga is different from stretching because it is so much more than just stretching. Most people think of stretching as bending down and reaching for their toes for 10 seconds. That is not yoga. Yoga involves bodyweight exercises that have a flexibility element to them, but in most yoga postures you are working toward the extreme range of motion of your body while holding up your own bodyweight, which makes it much more than just a lazy stretch that you do before soccer practice while watching the geese fly by. Stretching is also different from yoga because stretching does not increase flexibility; it only maintains it. Yoga facilitates improvements in strength and flexibility simultaneously. Stretching is not a workout on its own. Yoga is.
Ask two people and you’ll get two different answers. If you haven’t figured out yet, Man Flow Yoga is different from typical yoga. Search for Yoga on google and you’ll find it defined as “a Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures.” Ask a yoga instructor and they’ll say that it is an 8-limbed way of life. Ask us, and we’ll tell you that is a form of physical fitness that includes a variety of bodyweight exercises, calisthenics, breathing exercises, and stretching to develop overall strength, endurance, core stability, balance, and flexibility.
It is recommended that you have a yoga mat, a block, and a strap. Yoga mats can be purchased for usually less than $20 at superstores or online, but I recommend purchasing a premium mat when you are ready to make yoga a serious part of your fitness routine. Blocks and straps can each be purchased for less than $10 each, but a block can be replaced by a stack of books, and a belt can substituted for a strap. Visit the “Gear” section of our online Shop for yoga gear.
Yoga is not religious. Yoga is a form of philosophy. For us, it’s a form of exercise. You can still be faithful to your religion and practice yoga. In fact, many Buddhists practice Man Flow Yoga because they are offended by the religious aspects that exist in traditional yoga, and want to maintain a separation between their workout and their religion.
There are many diets that effectively complement Man Flow Yoga training programs, and they depend on your physical goals. If your goal is to burn fat and build lean muscle, The Man Flow Diet is particularly well-suited to you. If you are looking to build muscle and add weight, you will have to add more healthy carbs to your diet. The Man Flow Diet and the diet & nutrition section within the Members Area are both fantastic resources for you to utilize in order to come up with a diet that works for your physical goals.
Although many types of yoga make the physical practice of yoga inseparable from meditation, you are not required to meditate if you just want to do yoga. Here is a helpful blog on the subject, entitled Separating Yoga from Meditation.