I Got My Dad to Try Yoga

Dan Abramson9 Comments

This was no easy feat. My Dad is basically the entire reason I got into yoga.

He's had back pain his entire life. So when I got my first back pain at age 25 - I was worried that it was going to follow me for my entire life too.

I tried massages, which would just kind of feel good for a second, but then never really do anything. And then I discovered the GLORIOUS, MAGICAL, BACK-CURING power of yoga. After 1 hour of yoga stretching, my back pain disappears for about 3 weeks. Completely. While in yoga class, I'll do a twist of some kind, and it hits the EXACT spot that my lower back chronically hurts, melting away the pain. It was a huge discovery!

So I had to get my Dad to try it. 

He had just moved to Northern California, arguably the epicenter of the hippy/wellness movement, so I bought him a gift certificate for a private lesson with Kate Schwabacher, a trusted friend and yoga instructor that first got me into yoga.

It only took AN ENTIRE YEAR for him to redeem his gift certificate. But he finally did. Here's how it went according to him :

I felt klutzy and awkward, and I had a great deal of discomfort with even the basic routines. I learned a lot, especially flexibility and balance exercises similar to those I had seen in Physical Therapy. Kate helped me learn to get down on the floor and get up with ease I hadn’t felt in years. If I had kept it up for a few more lessons, I might be in a regular class now.
- Bob Abramson, after trying yoga for the first time at age 72
Dad's first chair pose. With special help, catered to my Dad's injuries, from  Kate Schwabacher .

Dad's first chair pose. With special help, catered to my Dad's injuries, from Kate Schwabacher.

Lesson learned: it takes a couple of sessions to feel the benefits of yoga. It is the ancient solution to the modern ailment of chronic back pain, but it doesn't necessarily work right off the bat. Trying yoga is like trying weed, you might not feel it the first time.

So my Dad tried his first yoga class, and now I'm hoping there will be a second one. After seeing my him struggle, it reminded me that I also stumbled around for my first few yoga classes, feeling "klutzy and awkward." The only reason I kept doing yoga, is because it was offered for free at work.

My Dad, despite his backpain, is incredibly active. He's an avid Cyclist, who's peddled his way through the soul crushing hills of Connecticut as well as endless nightmarish inclines of Provence, France. He's done numerous "Centuries" (which means riding over 100 miles).  And I don't think I've ever broken 50 miles. Even now into his 70s, he still rides his bicycle every day. 

But my guess is he didn't fall in love with bicycles the first time he tried one either. So I remain fastidious in my mission to get him to do yoga a few more times, until the good stuff starts happening. 

Dan Abramson, founder of Brogamats