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I began following David Matthew Brown's yoga journey online in the summer of 2013. I had just found a wonderful yoga teacher and felt like the opportunity and conditions to get serious with yoga were upon me. Every day David would share the class he took, the teacher, what was going on in his life and how that all collided on his yoga mat. Each day I to would head to my own yoga class and take my practice a little deeper as I was inspired by his courage and vulnerability. David gave a rare and beautiful look into the human psyche unfolding breath by breath, pose by pose. I was very excited to learn that he had created a book about his experience, and took this opportunity to interview him for Yogi Times about the hot yoga challenge.
Christina Faye for Yogi Times: What made you want to challenge yourself to do 90 straight days hot yoga?
David Matthew Brown: I had just moved through a dark night of the soul, my divorce. Up until then, I had never experienced anything like that period in my life. I had moved through forgiveness and felt like a "new beginning" was upon me. I was driving up La Brea and saw this yoga studio offering "$40" first time fee for the first month. I felt inspired. So I decided to do 30 days straight of hot yoga and blog on the experience. On day 26 or so, Emily Morwen, the owner and great yoga teacher at Moksha encouraged me to go for 90. I actually finished at 100 straight days.
CF: Why hot yoga? Why moksha studio?
David Matthew Brown: I have practiced yoga since 2000, and did lots of power yoga. Hot yoga seemed like a good opportunity for a new beginning with everything. I chose Moksha because that is where my inspiration jumped and said, "Yes!" It wasn't so much the studio, as I really love the community there. The teachers are so heart centered, loving, compassionate, and great cheerleaders. Everything there is geared toward service. Serving the environment, individual, and community.
CF: Were there any challenges that you didn't foresee?
David Matthew Brown: Sure there were many challenges such as finding a babysitter for my daughter, changing my work schedule to make a class, (sometimes I woke up at 4:30 am to catch the first class at 6 am) drinking more water and staying hydrated, I couldn't travel, but when you commit to something, and stay disciplined, everything flows and falls into place.
CF: What were you the most surprised about that you didn't anticipate?
David Matthew Brown: The power of the breath. Teacher Joe Komar at Moksha always reminds us of our breath. This is simple and profound, because there you are with all your stuff, alone, on your mat in 103 degrees, with sweat dripping down you, your mind resisting everything, flow happening, then you find yourself wanting to compare with all these other people in the room, then you hear, "breathe everyone." And the breath takes you were you are, present, right here, and then all the resistance subsides and you’re in the flow. Just like life off the mat. Breath.
CF: What is your favorite pose and why?
David Matthew Brown: All warrior poses, but my favorite is Mountain pose. I use it off the mat too. It reminds me of my inner courage. That no matter what, "I got this" and most importantly, "I can."
CF: What poses were your most challenging and why?
David Matthew Brown: Everyday on the mat offered new challenges, so each pose depending on the day had challenges. So again, breathing becomes our life raft as yogis. I do find it funny, that the days I didn't want to practice were my best days, which taught me the importance of surrender. Surrender the mind, to the breath and trust.
CF: Have you had any surprising places or scenarios that you found a practical use for what you learned in yoga?
David Matthew Brown: I was coaching my under 8 girls and one of my players was feeling down. So I demonstrated mountain pose to her. She laughed at my demonstration and then did it. Within seconds all the girls joined in. I said, "Do you feel strong, grounded, like a mountain?" They giggled, "yes". I encouraged them to use this if they feel down. Then they went back on the field and played like baby lions. Finally for me the number one thing yoga practice helps with is that no matter how crazy things get, go to your breath. Just be aware of the breath. It is also helpful with remembering how to carry your self, up right and aligned with life.
CF: How did your yoga practice change?
David Matthew Brown: Well as I moved into days 60 and beyond, yoga became more about the spirit-mind-body connection. I was there to connect to oneness. No longer stuck on the body. Corpse pose was no longer a place to relax and sleep; it became a place that I had completely surrendered the day I experienced in the world to something greater. So each pose was helping surrender the little me to the bigger essence.
CF: What was your greatest take away from the experience? Has anything still stuck with you now?
David Matthew Brown: Love myself. And as I love myself, I can love you. Namaste. The biggest thing that stuck with me was the relationships and connections I made to the teachers and community of Moksha. Joe and Emily M and Deena will always be with me. There are people that come into your life and fan your flame when you forget who you are. For that I am humbled and thankful of the 100 days of hot yoga.
David Matthew Brown’s 90 Days of Heat is full of offerings to the gifts that lie within each of us when we are simply present in our bodies. That yoga can be transformative whether it is one class or 90 classes. He reminds us how simple and peaceful life can be when we remember to breathe. We can all be a warrior on our mats and in our lives.