Ryan Culverson, LPN, is currently pursuing a 200-hour certification through Boundless Yoga Studio. We asked this Southern gentleman a few questions about his practice, his yoga journey, and what his favorite yoga pose is!
What do you consider one of the biggest obstacles of men living healthier lifestyles?
The pressures of a fast paced society. Long hours of work that contributes to the assumption that there is just not enough time to take care of one's self.
What does health mean to you?
If an individual is struggling with weight gain, heart complications, depression, addiction or any of the like, he or she must first make the decision to "change" their mind. Of course, this is often easier said than done. But if we can change our mind to simply just sit on our mat, quietly, or begin with one pose/asana and work with that, it's a start. Maybe it's not yoga, maybe it's the decision to join a gym. The first step involved is changing or making a decision to change your current way of thinking. We all have inner demons, struggles or reasoning that either brought us to or help created who we have allowed ourselves to become, whether physically or mentally. However, the beauty of life is that you can change your course of action at any given moment. You can rewrite your story.
Has yoga helped to improve your health?
Yoga has improved my health ten fold. In 2005, I began reading and hearing how beneficial yoga was and could be. My first personal experience with yoga was through my purchase of a Rodney Yee's Beginner DVD and "The Complete Yoga Book" by James Hewitt. I was drawn to Yoga because of the benefits to which both the book and Rodney had implied. I struggled with finding self acceptance both due to my own transgressions and those of family. Much like many gay men and women trying to come to terms with their sexuality, I too, struggled.
In 2010, I was admitted to the hospital following a visit to my regular MD with complaints of left arm numbness, shortness of breath and anxiety. I was approx 230 Lbs., out of shape, and a smoker. Collectively, I've had a 10-year relationship with Yoga, however, it was like an on and off again relationship until I became still due to health complications. My unhealthy choices demanded I become still and listen. The shapes we can make with our bodies, if practiced diligently and carefully, can promote well being both in mind and body. My mat is my refuge.
How has your job affected your practice?
I am a Licensed Practical Nurse. I presently specialize in Hospice Care/End of Life care. I have also specialized in Long Term Care and Medical Surgical care within the hospital setting.Becoming educated in healthcare, and more specifically within the anatomy and physiology of the body has greatly impacted my practice. In addition, learning disease processes along with their signs and symptoms has helped shape my practice. Its helped me understand how certain diseases begin to manifest and how we can work to keep the body healthy and how to improve the greatest action our bodies naturally partake, which is the simple action of breathing. We all are aware of the importance of breathing, however, take the breath a step further in becoming aware of the importance of oxygen and how its delivered via red blood cells to give life to all organs of the body. Oxygen gives life to the tissues of the body, from the crown of our skull to the sole's of our feet. My career has greatly reinforced my love for yoga and the importance of my own physical and mental well being.
What are you interested in learning more about?
With a back ground in gymnastics, I understand many of the poses, however, unlocking the key to really shaping one's practice is listening....listening to your own breath and allowing it to lead you both on and off the mat.
What is your favorite yoga pose?
Adho Mukha Vrksasana, or Handstand. Although I do love me some backbends!
What type of poses are the most challenging for you?
Any asana that opens the hips, really. Such as splits or even L-sits. My core and hips need some work. However, meditation has been my struggle for many years. Quieting my mind, my fears, my assumptions, my anxiety. I must say since beginning the Boundless YTT program I have been meditating a lot more and really dedicating myself to settling in to stop listening to the negative side of my thought process. To just be. It's tough. And I admit with full conviction, I both love and hate meditation. Why? Because I have finally seen and felt the difference when you sit quietly and allow yourself to peel away the layers that you have allowed to shape your entire being. And let's face it...that is scary and liberating all at once.
What's up next for you?
I took a break from school to work and gather my next step. My goal is to complete the Boundless Yoga's program and then begin reaching my long term goal of becoming a Registered Nurse. I hope that when I do complete the journey to become a yoga instructor through the Boundless Yoga 200-RYT training program, that I can share what yoga has truly done for me. If I can bring one individual to begin to realize their own inner light, I will accomplish my goal!
Boundless Yoga Staff & Students
We are continuously interested on how our reactions and responses to our personal journeys, albeit travel, adventure, new job, etc. mirror and reflect our social, emotional and spiritual ups and downs. We try every day to apply what we learn about ourselves on the yoga mat to our personal lives. Thank you for tuning in as we share some of those aspects with you.