Meet Ken Johnson, an avid runner, sailor and yogi who is often known to do double classes at The House of Yogi, sometimes even triples! Ken did far and away more classes than anyone else in The House of Yogi’s October 2016 Yoga Practice Challenge. But as you’ll see in his comments below, it’s actually yoga’s ability to help him slow down and tune in that he most enjoys. Read on for some great insights (and to find out what crazy party he throws each year!):
What brought you to The House of Yogi for the first time, Ken
I needed to learn to stretch after running so I came to Joel’s Deep Stretch class on Saturday morning with a couple of friends.
What’s your favorite thing about the studio?
What I like most about the studio is the friendly staff and patrons and how invested everyone is in all of our journeys, both on and off the mat.
When did you begin practicing yoga & why?
I started practicing yoga in May 2016 because I had been running a lot and was very competitive with my running times. What I found I really liked about running was my long, slow distance runs, which accorded me hours at a time where I was alone with my thoughts and my inner struggles and success. I learned to work through the mental blocks that came up when I was tired and wanted to quit. The problem was that I was out for 3 – 4 hours to accomplish this, and found I was running out of time to do much of anything else. I really wanted to rediscover my inner world that I had worked so long at cultivating during my 20 years of alternative living in the French Pyrenees. Since I was getting to be old enough to start thinking more about slowing down from pounding my body; I found that yoga checked all boxes.
What has your yoga practice given you?
Yoga has given me the opportunity to explore and develop my inner warrior 2. When times get rough and turbulent around me, I get to ask, is this tempest within me? And if not within, it can carry on without me. I have been able to put this peaceful warrior look into practice in my life and found that peace is the natural outcome.
What’s your favorite pose?
I really like crow pose because I am not very good at it, but I practice more and more, and I see improvement.
What’s your least favorite pose?
I have a real love/hate relationship with sitting forward fold. I have really tight hamstrings, so this pose is quite hard for me. I love it because it gives me the opportunity to work on my ego.
What do you do when you’re off the mat?
My favorite activity is sailing. I come from a very long line of sailing men and women. In fact, one of my ancestors came to America in the mid 1600s and he was the captain of the boat that sailed over from England.
What’s your advice for someone coming to yoga for the very first time?
The best thing to do when coming to yoga for the first time is to relax and enjoy the effort it takes to follow along, not to take yourself too seriously, and to try things that you never thought possible.
Tell us something unusual about yourself.
I do not like to be a tourist when I travel, so, when I graduated from college the first time, I threw a dart at the east coast of the US and moved to Connecticut, where it landed. I had never been there before, and I moved in January. I had never seen snow fall out of the sky before and during my first snowstorm I went to all of the neighbors to tell them that snow falling out of the sky was just like I had seen in the movies.
What three words would your best friend use to describe you?
I think they would say I am intelligent with a good sense of humor and a very good friend, but you may want to get confirmation on this.
What’s your guilty (or not so guilty) pleasure?
My biggest guilty pleasure is eating pomegranates in the fall. I count the months until the first ones come on the market. It has become such an ‘obsession’ that I have started having a pomegranate party every year.
What have been your biggest obstacles in your practice?
My competitive spirit has been the first and the biggest obstacle in my practice, not with others, but within myself. I am learning to celebrate my current abilities daily.
Where have you opened up and seen the most change in your life since starting your practice?
I have noticed the biggest change in my life in the area of inner peace and quiet. When times get hectic and/or painful, I think back on the instructors who teach us to breath through and enjoy the difficult moments in difficult poses.
Why would you encourage others to give The House of Yogi a try?
I think that everyone should find an activity or hobby that makes them happy, brings them in contact with wonderful people, helps them to grow in the most profound ways, and makes them happy. Yoga does that for me.