I certainly wouldn’t be disappointed if I had a slate like Adam’s - studying to be a lawyer, but instead altruistically choosing a path that included working with underprivileged teens and eventually landing here as one of London’s most sought-after and smiley yoga teachers. With a lone trek across Spain, boxing fights, modelling for big firms, ultra-marathons and a black belt in Shotokan Karate all thrown in along the way for good measure, it’s not a bad CV! We are stoked to have had the opportunity to speak with Adam Husler….here’s what he had to say:
From a boxer to a yoga guru, you could not find two more opposing sports. Was there anything that you learned from boxing that you could apply to Yoga and vice versa?
There’s often the assumption that in an enlightened moment, I jumped from boxing ring straight to a yoga mat and that was that; no overlap. In fact, my yoga practice went hand in hand with my boxing, law studies and running, for years. The main way in which my boxing experience informs my yoga teaching, is with regards to the movement of the body; those that come to my class know that I give equal significance to strength and flexibility, to enable students to increase safe, practical mobility in their body, rather than seeking nice shapes.
What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you during a Yoga class?
I’ll not talk about my classes, but I’ll talk about my actions! About 8 years ago, I arrived in a hot studio desperately needing my practice, but as I opened my bag I was greeted by 6 smashed eggs all over my yoga gear. I had a ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’ moment, gave them a swill and headed in; on Sun Salutation B, I regretted the decision to roll out my mat….so did everyone else.
A lot of people are starting to view guys such as yourself as brands and are harnessing social media channels, in particular Instagram, for self-promotion. How to you feel about being labelled as a brand and about the commercial side of Yoga?
Any teacher in a city like London has to be honest in that we are teaching yoga in a modern, commercial setting not a Himalayan Ashram, where our food and accommodation is all that we need, and fortunately, provided for free. Ultimately teachers need to exchange time teaching for money in order to live, and to do that you need studios to want you to teach and students to know you enough to want come to your class. There then lies a balance between promoting what you do and teaching yoga authentically, having spent years practicing and learning.
The way we practice yoga has changed over the decades; people pop in to classes daily, weekly or monthly. People change teachers and yoga styles to fit their schedule. People aren’t getting the same experience they would if they studied under a guru for a decade daily, but a least they are getting some of the benefits of a yoga practice. It’s better than time in the pub.
What is your opinion about people taking selfies or stopping to photograph you during your classes? :)
No; that’s not allowed in my normal classes! Yoga asana is a practice of self-enquiry, though a physical means, and your phone is not part of your self, no matter how hard you want it to be. Special events and alike are a different matter. I enjoy them, but don't entirely see candlelit rooftop yoga followed by turmeric and gin cocktails, as a typical yoga class, more a yoga-based experience, where photos are fine. If these events get more people interested in coming to normal classes, great!
I’ve no objection to selfies, but I’d strongly discourage the aspirations of getting in to a particular fancy shape! Often people rush to get in to shapes they see which are in many cases nothing to do with yoga or demonstrated in a way that is actually rather dangerous; e.g. ‘deep’ back bends that are happening entirely in a few vertebrae in the lumbar spine.
If you could recommend one great book to read what would it be and why?
Senenca, is one of the few Stoics who put pen to paper himself, in the form of letters to a companion, now compiled in to a book. Nothing to do with yoga, on the face of it at least, but a valuable read to bring clarity to your mind and how it interacts with the external world.
Finally can you leave us with some Adam Husler words of wisdom?
Nothing good happens when you finally put your leg behind your head. You life won’t get better. You won’t get a promotion at work. You won’t be spiritually more pure.
To find out more about Adam Husler and for his class schedule, please visit his website: www.adamhusler.com