Tamal has been practicing yoga his whole life. Born and raised in his family’s yoga ashram in Hawaii, he has been teaching for the last 10 years. Tamal had founded Yogaco in Santa Monica (one of the largest yoga studios in Ca). He has produced Kirtan CDs, books and articles on yoga and meditation as well as toured the world teaching yoga. Tamal has been featured on many television stations, yoga magazines and websites for his dynamic yoga style and spiritual outlook. Tamal has developed a strong following nation wide and internationally. His vigorous vinyasa classes are filled with humor, music, and meditation. His yearly retreats, workshop, and teacher trainings are a way into the life and times of being a modern yogi. Tamal’s goal is to help you be in the world but not of the world, to be truly peaceful and happy. Aloha and Namaste.
Tamal: People ask me all the time “have you gone to India?” and I always say no…I feel india came to me. I was born and raised in a yoga ashram that my family owned and ran. I was blessed to be in a situation where I was learning to do down dog and meditation before I could talk. It was a very special time and I am grateful to have been apart of it.
Tamal: I surf, run, jump rope, and train in brazilian jiu jitsu with my yoga.
Tamal: Yoga really helps prevent injury and also heals injury so that your other physical disciplines are enhanced and you aren’t walking around with aches and pains but feeling strong, healthy and vibrant. Yoga also helps with your breath control and mental focus so you can progress in your other exercises and go further than you ever thought you could.
Tamal: Guys tend to have really tight hips and hamstrings so after they have warmed up to practice pigeon, half splits, forward bends…anything that targets those areas is sure way to loosen up all that congestion or tightness.
Tamal: Most guys tell me that they can’t do yoga because they aren’t flexible. What I want guys to know is flexibility is only one aspect of it, that yoga is toning, strengthening, calming, stress relieving and much more. The list can go on and on. I also hear guys say yoga isn’t manly enough for them. That they associate it with something only women do…All I can say is I train UFC fighters in yoga, and almost every professional athlete incorporates or practices yoga regularly.
Tamal: I am always striving to become a better person, to see people as not only living creatures but as “atma” or souls. This way I have respect for them in a physical way and a spiritual way. I never consider myself as a master of yoga even though I teach every day of the week. I feel I am a student of yoga and that I am always striving to learn more and grow physically mentally and spiritually. My hope is that the last class I teach in my life will be the best class I will have taught in my life and the last things I do in my life will reflect a lifetime of study and practice.
Tamal: I would say that I try to stick to tradition versus making anything up or trying to create my own thing. The word yoga means to “yoke” or “unite” with God. Originally you would practice the asana (postures) the pranayama (breath work) so that you could sit and meditate without meditating on a kink in your neck to a stiff back…But you were free and clear to reflect and go deeper without the bodily distractions. So I would say that my own yoga practice would follow these basic guidelines of tradition.
Tamal: First find the type of class that you feel would suit you. Don't be afraid to ask questions when going to a yoga studio.
Be honest with yourself and you will find your cup of tea. Also take the level one class. A lot of guys want to jump right in and do all the hard stuff right away and be amazing the first day out. It's best to go to a level one and learn the basic then take it from there.
Tamal: I have been a vegetarian my whole life. People get shocked that I have never eaten meat, fish, or eggs in my life time and can’t believe that I am healthy and not emaciated…I follow the yoga diet or ahimsa diet (non-violent diet) it’s one of the fundamentals of all yoga traditions and is mapped out in Pantajali’s eight sutras and Buddha’s eightfold path. I don’t guilt or judge anyone if they are not a vegetarian as that is not yogic either…I do encourage people to try adding more vegetarian options into their lifestyle and help people if they want to move into becoming a a vegetarian. My diet makes me feel strong, grounded and healthy all the time, which really motivates me to exercise because my physical energy level is vibrant.
Tamal: Absolutely I feel yoga and its plethora of tools helps me deal with all of life situations and dilemmas. Instead of stressing out and losing it you feel calm and assertive. Whether it’s the physical practice of yoga that keeps me in a peaceful state of mind or spiritual tools that help me deal with individuals and my own crap. Yoga is continually guiding me.
Tamal: Yoga gives me a craving for knowledge and to share whatever I learn on my journey. My father (a great yogi) once said, “if you don’t share your knowledge you’re a thief”. So I try to live up to that ideal.
Tamal: Let loose! Even if there is a girl next to you in class that can do a hand stand for 10 min…to not be discouraged. Most teachers will have open arms to a newbie not to mention a guy newbie since they are so rare in a yoga class. Try to have fun and feel free to take breaks whenever you need it. Make it fun for yourself.
Tamal: I used to practice Ashtanga now I practice Vinyasa as that is what I teach…
Tamal: I am into whatever poses help me in my current situation that day. Meaning if my shoulders are tight I will do something that targets that area…If I want to work on strengthening my body I will do something that tailors to that…For fun I am currently practicing a lot of inversions (handstands, head stands…)
Shameless Plug: What personal, business or studio projects are you currently working on that you want people to know more about?
Tamal: I just finished an International Yoga DVD through Anchor Bay Entertainment entitled “Hatha and Flow Yoga For Beginners” its available on Amazon…
Thanks again to Tamal for his time. YfM *photos courtesy of Tamal Dodge
Yoga has been growing in popularity among people of all interests and athletes of a diverse list of disciplines. The unique combination.