A Dragon Slayer’s Journey to Yoga and What That Looks Like

Teachers and students alike all have different reasons why they arrive on their mats. For some, it is battling an old injury, for others, it is their defence to battle negativity and stress. Often the very thing that brings a student to practice, is not what keeps them coming back.

For one student, Kyle Andrew, landing on his mat is actually for work! You see, Kyle is an actor and doing his own stunts, his career can be very physically demanding. Adopting a practice of mostly SSU classes, he comes to his mat to repair and prepare his body for whatever might be around the next bend … even if it is a dragon!

More from Kyle:

kyle the dragon slayerWhen you are called into a meeting and told that the world needs you, that you must prepare for battle, become Dragonborn and save the world from an onslaught of dragons, you would imagine that about a million thoughts go racing through your head. Me? I had only one: I need to step up my yoga game. Allow me to explain.

When I was cast to play the hero in Sony’s global launch campaign for their Skyrim VR game, I learned immediately that the role would be very physically demanding. I would be learning sword fighting, performing my own stunts (both firsts for me) and doing so while wearing a very heavy and stiff costume. Now, I am not a 20-year-old man anymore, and it occurred to me that the physical demand being placed on my body would require careful preparation. My weight training intensity was increasing in the month leading up to the shooting days, my diet was changing, I was going on long exhaustive hikes wearing a 30lb weighted vest. But all any of that was doing was breaking me down. I needed to heal and recover from that schedule. And for that I doubled down on my yoga practice, specifically the SSU classes offered at Moksha.

I began attending classes 3-4 times per week instead of my usual once or twice. I realized early on that the pliability of my body was going to be the key to getting through this unscathed. And I was right; the SSU classes were the perfect compliment to the hectic and intense schedule. The hot yoga sessions aided my recovery from the other training greatly. Further, being on that mat so many times each week kept me centred and focused mentally, and with so many moving parts in a production like that, finding mental calmness may have been the most important aspect of all.

Flying through the air and being jerked by the crane cables (yes I was jumping off a cliff, that wasn’t green-screened) can wreak havoc on your spine, I’m guessing. But not mine. I was ready. And long nineteen hour shoot days wearing a heavy costume can take its toll, but if you haven’t seen a Dragon Slayer perform a pigeon pose in a barren post apocalyptic landscape, then you haven’t lived. I made it through one rehearsal day and two very long shooting days (thirteen hours and nineteen hours) unscathed, and of everything I did to prepare for that shoot I have Moksha Yoga Hamilton to thank the most.

With a hectic and unpredictable lifestyle, my practice centres me and brings me calm amidst chaos. Namaste.

(Originally published January 30, 2018)