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.
I 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
I 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. 🙂
Frequently Asked Questions
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.