Pushing Through the Pain

There’s a reason why I called my brand of yoga “Man Flow Yoga”, and not “Yoga with Dean”. I enjoy the mentality that I have as I approach physical fitness. I take that same mentality into yoga. I don’t want people to make assumptions about my mentality, so I gave Man Flow Yoga a name that stands out so that assumptions are put on hold until more is learned. To get an idea of what that mentality is, I want to tell you about a recent display of grit and performance (despite physical pain) from quarterback Matthew Stafford.

Matthew Stafford takes a huge hit in the final 8 seconds of the game that leaves him moaning in pain on the field. The trainer rushes onto the field, kneels down, and asks, “Are you alright?” Stafford indignantly shouts, “Yeah, get the fuck off me!” He shoots up and jogs down the field with every intention to score the winning touchdown. A couple second later, cradling his arm and clearly in a significant amount of pain, he reconsiders as the trainers convince him to come off the field. Stafford jogs to the sidelines and then collapses, first to his knees, and then onto his back. He lies there for about 30 seconds, and then demands to be helped up, insisting that he’s fine, and once again telling the training staff to “get the fuck off”. He runs to the coach, with no weakness in his stride and without displaying the obvious pain to his shoulder, and says, “I can throw the ball if you need me to.” Matthew Stafford goes in and then throws the winning touchdown pass. (If you want to watch the video, check it out here.)

DESPITE the pain, despite his body obviously telling him no, Stafford goes in and does what he has to do because he is working for something greater than himself. He’s fighting for his team. He’s fighting for the city he represents. His personal health does not even come close in importance to everything else around him.

Why am I telling you this story? Because yoga generally doesn’t encourage people to push their limits as Matthew Stafford did in the above story. The struggle and perseverance aspects of sports that I grew up on and love is all but absent in yoga world. Yoga instructors emphasize not pushing your boundaries, being fine with where you are, and respecting your limits. And that will never resonate me, because it’s not who I am. And because I know that there other people out there like me, I created a brand of yoga that will emphasize pushing your limits. I don’t believe that you should ever be satisfied with where you are. There is always more to do. The struggle for progress is what drives me, and I instill that into my yoga classes, the brand of Man Flow Yoga, and my own life.

The counter-argument to my mentality is that people will get injured with that mentality. They will push too hard. I’m not going to say that there is no risk of injury if you approach physical fitness with that mentality, but with higher risk comes higher reward. I’m not advocating that you attempt the splits after doing a week of yoga (shout out to my brother who actually did this at the retreat in Roatan and tore his hip flexor. It’s okay though, he’s better now.) I AM advocating that you push yourself beyond what you know your limits are. How else does growth occur, if not by testing limits and pushing outside your comfort zone?

Let’s push ourselves beyond our limits. Let’s aim for growth through consistent, 100% effort. This is Man Flow Yoga. It’s a workout, not a therapy session. I don’t want to accept myself as I am because I want to keep growing. I want to see progress. And I’m assuming that because you’re reading this… you are too.

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