You might assume that the ability to contort yourself into mind-bending positions requires a lifetime of practice and discipline. But Adam Husler’s journey has been circuitous: he began in the karate dojo and digressed to the boxing ring and squat rack, before settling on the yoga mat.
“If I was going to describe yoga to an Uber driver, I’d explain it as an antidote to the other stuff you’re doing,” says Husler, who is now one of London’s premier yoga teachers and a member of the pioneering Boys of Yoga collective. “That could be spending all day hunched over a desk, trying to lift PBs in the gym, or going for PRs at races, where the key objective is success.” The beauty of yoga, he says, is that there is none of that. “There are mental benefits to doing something you can’t win.”
What appealed to Husler was yoga’s function as both a mental and physical antidote. “I was going through a time of personal stress. I’d had a bad break-up and was uncertain about my career,” he says. “I thought that it would ground me.” At the time, he was boxing at a pro gym in Birmingham. “Yoga helped me get better in the ring. I dramatically improved my recovery and was able to get far more out of my body. When I was throwing a hook, I could integrate everything, all the way up from the ball of the leading foot.” More significantly, yoga allowed Husler to transcend his natural competitive streak and just chill out – which was what he really craved.
The discipline has given his training balance. “I go to the gym three times a week to lift weights, and generally do a push day and a pull day,” he says. “I’ve bought a Concept2 rower for home, too.” His yoga training then comes in two forms: up to 20 minutes of meditation in the morning and 30-minute flows later in the day. “Sometimes, I follow the path of least resistance; sometimes, I do what my body needs. I listen to my body,” he says. “It’s a combination of strengthening and lengthening.”
Husler proves that you can superset sun salutations with heavy barbells and heavy bags, not just incense candles. So, if you want to give your training holistic benefits while soothing your body and mind, hit the mat.
Lean into It
Begin your yoga journey with these three moves from Husler.
01/ Half-Squat Transition
From a wide-leg position, point your right foot out at 90° and your left at 45°. Bend your left leg and sink into a deep squat with the heel down, and straighten your right leg with the big toe pointing to the ceiling. Switch sides, staying as low as possible. Repeat slowly 20 times.
02/ Lengthening Up Dog
Start in a press-up position with your arms bent. Lift your chest up, pulling it forward, as opposed to backward and jamming the lower back. Stop before you straighten your arms. Ensure your fingers and arms pull your chest forward, opening the upper back. Repeat 10 times.
03/ Split Forearm Balance
Set your forearms down, at shoulder width and parallel. Walk your feet as close as possible to your elbows, but don’t let your shoulders move forward or hands move together. Lift one leg and tiptoe on the other. Hold for 10 seconds. If you can, lift up fully, keeping your legs split.
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