We're stoked to introduce the brilliant Santa Monica yoga teacher Byron de Marsé - our latest Warrior Addict Brand Warrior.
Originally an athlete from a cattle ranch in Oklahoma, Byron's journey took him from veterinarian to international business studies - with a step into reality TV along the way - before finally arriving to teach yoga in Santa Monica.
Byron certainly has a vibrant and interesting story to tell. Here’s what he had to say.
So your journey began on a cattle ranch. How did you make the journey to yoga teacher?
Back when I was hauling hay, feeding the horses and milking the cows every morning, I didn't even know what yoga was. I might have said it was a flavour of yoghurt...!
A friend invited me to go to Bryan Kest's Power Yoga in Santa Monica, which I didn't know was a world renowned. I walked into a room with about 150 people, and an hour and a half later I was miserable, drenched with sweat and didn't know what had hit me! That began my journey into yoga.
Telling my family about it was difficult, but now most of them do yoga too. I got my mom a great mat for Christmas.
Your profound and unusual assignment working on a reality TV show with actor Tom Sizemore helped to shape you and give you strength. Can you tell us more about this experience?
I was approached with this idea to live with Tom Sizemore, the Hollywood actor. Next thing I know I'm visiting him in rehab, forming a friendship with him. VH1 called me, and that was the beginning of the nightmare!
The show was called Shooting Sizemore. I travelled round the world, shooting movies with Mr Sizemore, trying to keep this man out of trouble. A man who is impossible to keep out of trouble.
I grew up so much in those few months. It was one of the best experiences - and I'd never do it again!
What makes your yoga teaching style unique?
It's a compilation of all the things I've learned, that I try to do my way - that makes it authentic.
Power yoga was my foundation - then I got into Budokon, martial arts yoga. That elevated my thinking, and then I started to apply a more mathematical approach. I'm quite technical with my teaching, but it's also very much about checking your ego. It's a healing practice.
Do many men come to your classes?
Yes, now they do. When I first started, getting men to come to my classes was like pulling teeth. Guys who come now often want the masculine part of the class - they want to sweat, they don't want to put their leg behind their head. The guys who come regularly like the mindfulness side of it, too. There may be a movement starting to happen, and I like it.
What advice would you give to guys who are thinking about taking up yoga, but haven't taken that first step?
Go by yourself. You can go with your friend or girlfriend, but eventually go by yourself. Allow yourself a little vulnerability that's not shielded by the people you have around you. The first couple of times are going to be a struggle. But when you start going alone, you'll start to get hooked.
Can you leave us with some profound words of wisdom for our followers out there?
We have to open ourselves to the possibility of growing from the unexpected. Don't discriminate against the teacher. If you're new to yoga, go for the experience with open eyes. Actually, that's the same for teachers too - sometimes they won't try something new, and will only go to really famous or popular teachers with a big following. But growth is going to come from somewhere else - not from Instagram.
Find out more about Byron and his classes at www.byron-yoga.com/