March 2016 Student of the Month

Dirk Elmendorf

Dirk Elmendorf Please tell us a little about yourself. What brought you to the yoga practice? What specific physical issues, if any, did you have before taking you first class?
It all started with a Groupon. I had talked to my wife about yoga before, but never got around to actually trying it. I was 315 pounds. I was on several prescriptions, and men in my family have a habit of dying from heart attacks by 56.  I knew I needed to do something, but I just couldn’t find the right place to start.  I had had gym membership to gyms I never went to, and I was a little lost.  She saw a Groupon for 2 weeks of yoga and got it for me.  She told me to just go.  I showed up ready to be defeated.  I spent more than half the class laying in a pool of sweat on the mat.  I felt like I could barely breathe in the room. I was sure they would yell at me to get up. After class the teacher told me I did great. She told me that the best thing I could do would be to come back the next day. I came back the next day.  I kept coming back.
How has this practice changed your health and life? Any emotional or other benefits?
I made a lot of changes to my life and my diet, but the yoga helped keep me sane in the middle of a lot of stress.  As I got fitter and more confident, I started going to a CrossFit box on near the Pearl.  I liked the social environment, but the gym itself was a little too intense for me.  I ended up getting injured and went back to just yoga.  Then Bust A Move opened and I got exactly what I wanted. It was a CrossFit workout with a yoga vibe.
What are the greatest benefits of your practice?
There is no dispute that the yoga has had a serious impact on my body.  I’ve gone from not being able to see my toes to being able to reach under them. I’m down to 250 and I have no prescriptions.   My practice has helped my mind even more than my body.  I’ve learned how to disconnect my inner critic and just listen to the instructions and have it flow into my body.  That has helped my focus outside the room as much as in it. It has also given me a powerful weapon against stress in my life. When I start to feel overwhelmed I know that a session in the heat will help clear my mind.  That clarity has helped me sort through a lot of challenges I face in my work.  Often times when I go to bed I can be more relaxed because I know I’ll find the answers in the morning when I’m on the mat.
How often do you take class?
I practice both yoga and CrossFit in the early morning classes.  My day can get very busy, but I know where I’ll be at 6am.  There is also a special camaraderie among people who are working that hard that early.
What is your favorite part of the yoga?  
I didn’t know when I started my practice that it is a journey that never ends, and I couldn’t be happier.