As a high level executive, Chris has a consistently full work schedule but still manages to maintain an extremely active lifestyle, spend quality time with his family and follow a nourishing wholefoods diet. Somehow in his busy schedule Chris works out everyday (some days twice) and goes on regular surfing trips and the occasional heli-skiing trip all while running one of Australia’s largest boardsports retail brands.
Yoga has become part of his daily routine 10 years on…
“I think the benefits of yoga become really evident in the other active aspects of my life, whether its surfing bigger waves, skiing longer days or training harder at the gym, the recovery process is always a lot quicker.” Chris also says that yoga provides a great way to end the day after being at the office. In the corporate world, his days are non-stop and go, go, go; and his yoga practice helps him to “switch off”, de-brief mentally and relax before going home.
Going back 15 years, Chris was still surfing as much as he is today but it was taking its toll on his energy levels.
“Louisa at Lunge was recommended to me by my Sister, due to my constant complaints about the fatigue from surfing, training and the stresses of work. I began taking Louisa’s yoga classes, and despite the whole concept being a challenge to begin with, with consistent practice and a constant build up of sessions throughout the week, I started to see obvious results.”
For the first few years Chris did private one-on-one sessions with Louisa. The flexibility of the private sessions suited his busy lifestyle, intense work schedule and family commitments. In his private sessions Chris learned and practised a series of personalised yoga sequences to help keep his body and mind in check. Louisa also gave Chris a few key movements to work on between his private sessions to ensure the consistency of his yoga practice.
In the beginning, Chris found his private sessions challenging so he limited his commitment to one or two sessions a week.
“I was trying to avoid yoga initially because the thought of it was tortuous, as I was used to high intensity exercise and really high-energy stints of recreational sports. Learning how to adjust to the Yoga environment was challenging, however I soon began to realise that it was the balance of the two that gave me the best results both mentally and physically.”
After noticing that the more sessions a week he attended, the better he felt. These days, Chris attends at least 3 to 4 group yoga sessions a week and the occasional private session with Louisa.
Private sessions are a great way to help refine the details of the movements and breathing techniques. Working one on one helps to target the specific areas in the body that need more attention, which helps fast track the results.
Chris has always been conscious of staying in shape.
“I grew up surfing in Manly and as I got older, particularly as I hit my 40s, I began to stick to a consistent exercise regime. This included gym sessions, soft sand running and boxing in between”. Yoga soon became a nice contrast to this high intensity schedule Chris was used to, and he noticed improvements across the various activities, including strengthening, endurance, flexibility and especially recovery time. The discipline of Yoga also meant that surf trips and skiing holidays were just as enjoyable, 30 years down the track. The recovery time after each day was shortened, and the exercise that was required was less strenuous, allowing more time and longer days to enjoy the waves and the snow.
A lot can happen on a surfing trip
“I was at this surf break called Cloud Break, a heavy reef break in Fiji. On one particular day the surf had picked up in size, and while I surfed in the morning and afternoon three hour sessions, I had come in for lunch with most of the others. It wasn’t until the next day I found out a 70-year-old man had stayed out the entire eight hours, especially considering the size of the waves. When I asked him his secret, he simply replied with the fact he practices Yoga every day of his life, and when on a surf trip – twice a day.”
Determined to achieve and maintain the same stamina and energy of this older surfer, Chris was inspired in his commitment to yoga. Chris continued steadily his three to four sessions a week at Lunge with Louisa and when possible, practising a few key movements at home or when travelling when he couldn’t get to a class.
Today, yoga is part of Chris’ daily routine. Going to yoga at Lunge has enabled Chris to live his busy life to the fullest – all without feeling fatigued.
“I try to commit to three [yoga classes a week] but I aim for four, so I know that over a month I’ll average out three. Like most hobbies and skill sets, the more you practice the easier it gets, and this applies really strongly to Yoga. ”
On a typical work-day, Chris is up at quarter to five. He trains for an hour, showers, and has breakfast with his family. He then sets off to work, sits through a fully stacked day of meetings and finishes with an evening yoga class.
“I really feel the physical and mental benefits [of yoga] in my recovery, [especially] after training that morning, or a day in meetings and at a desk. It’s an hour in my day where mentally and physically I am able to detox from everything digital, and relax the tension in my muscles, which helps both mentally and physically. [Yoga] is a really nice way to finish the day, as the effects stem to my time at home, dinner and digestion, as well as prompting a replenishing, deep sleep- ready to start the next day energised and fresh.”
These days, Chris finds himself not needing coffee until after 11am if at all, attributing his morning energy to his early workouts and wholesome breakfast.
“I’ve always had a balanced and healthy diet, but there is no doubt Louisa really assisted in understanding which foods were particularly suited for me. This meant eliminating all processed foods, in particular cutting our refined sugars and flours. This meant stripping my diet back to fresh, organic and clean foods, only opting for meat once a week. At times I even skip meals because I find [occasional] fasting is good for your body.”
Chris is also particularly passionate about young people and inspiring them to take care of their health from a young age. Chris has a great piece of advice for the younger generation that he works with on a daily basis;
“The advice that I would give the younger ones is- start now. Don’t leave it until you’re 40 when I did, because the results I see now can only be exaggerated in a younger body if they begin a consistent health regime. Especially with the prevalence of anxiety in today’s society, it’s a great way for people to release tensions. Life is moving faster than ever before and it’s only going to get faster. [Mobile phones] and technology prompt this mentality, and like a Yoga class does so well, at times it is necessary to switch it off and take a little digital detox.”
Chris, in his early 50’s experiences little to no fatigue and has more energy than he did 15 years ago thanks to regular yoga, clean nutrition and a healthy work-life balance.
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