Husband, father of two, UCI Counselor, psychologist, MMA fighter, soon-to-be ultra marathoner, and yogi. Phong has been practicing Bikram Yoga for 11 years. Read on and see why. Catch Phong’s class Saturday mornings at 8am at BYF this January.
What major change have you noticed in your practice? I used to push myself to exhaustion every class, instead of listening to my body. Now, I remind myself that precision, technique, and effort will always trump depth and outcome. I allow my breath to guide my asanas, not the other way around.
What daily activities does yoga help you with? I practice/fight MMA, Jiu Jitsu, and Muay Thai. I am also training for two ultra marathons. Yoga has helped immensely with the flexibility, focus, and endurance required by these sports.
What is your most memorable yoga experience? I came to my first Bikram Yoga class well hydrated with Vietnamese iced coffee and a belly full of spicy Thai food. That, in combination with the heat and humidity, led me to believe death was a better option than staying in that room! But somehow, I survived. Since then, every class kills my ego a little more. I still drink coffee and eat spicy food, but I make sure to add coconut water! Starve the ego, feed the soul.
What has been the most difficult experience with your practice? Bruce Lee said, “The stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while bamboo survives by bending with the wind.” I am a very stiff tree, especially in the mornings, but the more my spine and hips open up, the better my overall psychology and mood. It allows me to be a better father, a more effective counselor, a student-focused yoga teacher, a lighter runner, a heavier puncher.
*Take class 8AM Saturdays with Phong. Leave feeling refreshed and calm, having had a great class and a few good laughs. See you in the hot room!