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Blokes on Yoga - Darren tells his story

Darren Pancake

From desk worker to yoga lover 

Years of sitting at a desk has done me no favours! My co-ordination, balance and flexibility have always been a great weakness and embarrassment for me.  Having suffered from acute RSI in the past and more recently getting into health and fitness I wanted to take a proactive approach to avoid injury and pain in the future.  Although regular aerobic exercise and strength training was certainly making me feel fitter with more energy, I felt that I was suffering from more regular various aches and pains than I should have been.

I started weekly yoga classes which raised my awareness of my body.  Whilst the pace of the group classes were good, as a slow learner I sometimes found it difficult to keep up or was unsure that I was doing things correctly.  Cat suggested 1-2-1 sessions and I thought that this would give me a great chance to get the personalised details I need for my own unique 6ft 5 frame and work at a pace more suited to my ability. 

Getting Personal - the consultationDarren in twist

Cat asked me all sorts of questions about my health and history (I think she knows more than my doctor now!) and prepared a program to meet my objectives which are to avoid injury and minimise pain, increase balance, co-ordination and flexibility and to complement my other exercise routines (including getting the most out of regular yoga classes).

What are the benefits? 

The most immediate effect I realised after only a couple of sessions was how energised I felt after straight after each session.  It really feels that my whole body comes alive and is replenished somehow. 

I also realised early on that the personalised attention to detail is really important, in many cases it is just a small movement or correction that can make all the difference between getting a pose right or wrong.  As I intend to keep this up I want to make sure that I get the basics right!

Cat introduced me a number of postures to open up my chest and shoulders and improve my posture.  Also, movements to work at loosening my very tight hamstrings (caused by running and sitting for long periods).

Darren Trikonasana Working Wonders

  In many cases the poses we do are very challenging at the start but with Cat’s patience and some determination I can see slow but steady progress.  The most noticeable physical change after  a couple of months was the reduction of shoulder pain and increase of movement.  Previously my shoulders would  crunch like a packet of crisps with just simple movements.  Now they are quiet and feeling a  whole lot better and more mobile.

 Other unexpected consequences that I attribute to yoga are better concentration   and focus when working, reduced stress levels, feeling more relaxed and content in  life generally. And also friends and family think that I’m even taller now!

 The main benefit for me is that I am much more aware of when my muscles are perhaps a  little tighter in certain areas and have a better understanding of how to stretch and reduce the  chance of it developing into something more serious – a really valuable life skill that I will keep with me! 

I’m really grateful that Cat has opened the door of the world of yoga to me - I am now a full convert and see it as a regular part of my life. 

Like all great teachers, Cat exudes positive enthusiasm, she makes the practice fun even though its challenging at times, she is patient but also gently nudges me to push outside of my comfort zone when necessary – this is where the fun happens (I tried Acroyoga recently on her retreat and loved it! And now I am doing partner yoga session with my wife and loving that too!).

Darren C