Brad Walters: A Student’s Yoga Journey to Health
March 10, 2020
If you’ve ever practiced in the early afternoon or on a Saturday morning at our Austin Ranch location, you’ve probably encountered Brad Walters at some point in the last two years. Brad is an almost daily fixture at Austin Ranch, and beloved by his instructors and fellow students. He’s shared his inspiring yoga journey with us here.
Q: What first brought you to Uptown Yoga?
Brad: I had sustained some injuries working out the previous year and thought that getting myself stretched out might prevent a repeat. My initial intent was really just to get my very out-of-shape self to the point where I could do a classical weight/cardio gym workout without hurting myself again.
Q: You’ve taken almost 400 classes in less than two years. That is serious dedication. What keeps you coming back to your mat?
Brad: The instructors! I have never been to another yoga studio but cannot imagine anywhere being better. All of the instructors are easy to follow and keep it interesting with challenges for people at any level. The other members are delightful as well. I can’t ever remember not feeling comfortable, even when I first started practicing.
When I started, I weighed 315 pounds, slept with a CPAP machine, and was on high blood pressure and high cholesterol medications. All of that is gone now. A change in my diet certainly had an effect, but I 100% believe the yoga practice was the primary driver of the change.
I now weigh 230 pounds with a waist size eight inches smaller. My resting heart rate is 48. I can snow ski from the first one up the lift to the last one down, keeping up with my teenage children all day. It is hard to express in words how good every day feels. I will never return to what I was before, and hope for yoga to be a part of my daily life for as long as I can do it.
Q: What would you consider to be the top three benefits of your yoga practice?
Brad: First, for me, is the physical fitness that yoga promotes. I no longer have the general body pains that I had prior to starting, and I’m in a physical condition that I did not even think was still possible for me.
Next is the daily cleanse. The sweating during practice, especially in crowded classes, gives a feeling of refreshment each and every day. This combined with the twisting and other movements that help in digestion have made it to where I cannot remember the last time I had any intestinal or stomach issues.
Finally, and equally important, is the daily mental cleanse. I generally show up around 15 minutes early to go through my personal stretching routine (and get my spot) followed my one-hour class. During this time period I am laser-focused on the words of the instructor. We all have some level of stress in our daily lives and my hour vacation every day is absolutely priceless.
Q: Has anything surprised you as you’ve progressed in your yoga journey?
Brad: I never thought I would be able to do 10% of what I can do now. I don’t think I could do a single chaturanga or hold a down dog for more and a few seconds when I first started. Now, I can make it all the way through most classes without any breaks. I still can’t do many of the more complex poses, but actually feel now that I some point I just might be able to.
I never expected the amount of physical strength that would be derived from a daily yoga practice. I played football in college and am an avid outdoorsman. Had you told me three years ago that I would absolutely love doing yoga daily, I would have told you that you were nuts!
Q: Any advice for first-timers?
Brad: Make a long-term commitment. The more you go, the easier it will get, and the more enjoyable and beneficial it will be for you. Don’t be intimidated! No one in there thinks you look silly or bad in any way. Do what you can and listen to the Instructors. They want you to succeed and enjoy the practice.
Ready to Start Your Yoga Journey?
Those of us who’ve had the pleasure of having Brad in our classes can attest to the incredible change that is possible thanks to the practice of yoga. And we agree with his advice: don’t be intimidated, because no one is judging and we all want you to enjoy your practice – whatever that looks like for you. Trying us for the first time? Take as many classes as you want in 30 days for just $40. We hope to see you soon.