Can Yoga improve your performance? Is Yoga for men? We talked to Ruben who trains to be an Ironman on stereotypes in the field of Yoga and his motivation to continue with his Yoga practice.
©All pictures from Ruben's Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rubsterbest/
Hi Ruben, can you briefly introduce yourself and give information on your sports background?
My name is Ruben Best. I come from Hamburg and work as an innovation consultant. That means I help companies set up innovation processes and develop customer-centric products.
I have been playing handball very ambitiously for years and after my studies I found out that the fixed training times and games at the weekend are very time consuming besides the normal working day.
Since I can't live without sports, I started running and ran my first marathon. Apparently I have some talent for endurance sports and taught myself swimming, bought a racing bike and finished my first Ironman in Hamburg in 2018 - under 9 hours.
Where did you do Yoga for the first time? What made you try it? What was your motivation?
I happened to come to yoga through a friend. I just wanted to try it out. I have always strongly associated yoga with spiritual stuff. She said it's not like that, it's perfect for me as a triathlete to gain a little more flexibility. That would help me in all disciplines. Then I tried it out and came to a yoga class. That was more exhausting than I thought and I quickly reached my limits and showed myself that I had a lot of potential with regard to my entire movement economy. That motivated me extremely.
How did you learn about SkillYoga?
The same friend who dragged me to the first real yoga class recommended Skill Yoga to me. I asked her for help because I was a little frustrated about my maximum immobility and wanted to do my "homework" to maybe look a little better in my next real yoga class.
How often did you practice?
I was immediately enthusiastic and try to do my "homework" about 3-4 times a week at the moment.
Do you see improvements in other sports that you would connect to Yoga?
Absolutely. Especially in cycling I notice that there is much more mobility in the hip flexor. Maybe it's just mental, but I don't feel so rusty anymore. It just feels good. In running and swimming I certainly also benefit from the greater flexibility.
A lot of guys are still struggling on starting with Yoga because it might not feel manly enough to them. How do you think about this problem?
I think it's because yoga is very strongly prejudiced in a very feminine world - and it's also staged that way by most media. Many men think that this is not for them because they can't do it anyway.
To try it out, I think you have to be confident - but I'm sure no professional or yoga woman will laugh at you if you don't have talent. I don't think yoga is meant exclusively for women or men, but for people who care about their bodies. The best recipe to get rid of prejudices is to try it out. After that you can still find it shit.
What do you like best about Yoga? What’s your biggest driver that keeps you going?
I find the challenging exercises and skills you learn very motivating. The feeling of having done something good and becoming stronger and more agile after each session motivates me.
Did you master any of our Skills yet? If so – which?
Sure - crow and headstand. And in the meantime I can touch my toes. But these are only nice motivating side effects. Much more important for me is the transfer to my sports in triathlon. Therefore I am confident that I will be able to perform much better in the next season with SkillYoga.
Thank you Ruben.
If you feel like it's time to try Yoga as well you can try SkillYoga for free.