Dyl Salamon is not your stereotypical yoga teacher he was a competitive rugby player and is also a Personal Trainer trained in both CrossFit and Powerlifting. In his interview with us, Dyl tells us how he brings all of his experience together to deliver a unique type of yoga. We are so stoked to welcome him to the Warrior Addict tribe as a Brand Warrior so check out the interview below!
Competitive rugby player to yoga teacher - a very unlikely transition, can you tell us how that came about?
Well, I finished my very short lived rugby career after university, where I'd spent the majority of that time as 120 kilogram prop, trundling between rucks, and mainly at that point living for the post-game socials, unfortunately. I then turned all my attention to power-lifting and bodybuilding. The bigger, the heavier weight, the better.
Then a strange turn of fate led me to contracting Dengue fever on a trip to Thailand. In five days I lost 20 kilograms through profuse sweating. Turned out all the muscle that was sitting underneath all that fat left me with a six pack, and I promptly became a personal trainer. If anyone ever asks you diet advice, just go contract a horrific tropical disease. (Don't tell my clients that, ha ha)
From that point, I spent a few years strictly personal training, CrossFit, very much the yang side, the go, go, go. And it was eventually years of small injuries that took me towards the odd yoga class. A bit of Vinyasa, small stint in Bikram, no real idea what I was actually getting myself into.
Then in early 2016 unfortunately my father became quite ill, and something told me that yoga might have something to help me with all the strange feelings that were now coming up. I signed up to a 20 day unlimited access setup at Yotopia in Covent Garden. Fell head over heels in love with yoga. Signed up to do Vinyasa teacher training two weeks later... I just really needed to know more about what was going on. When I signed up, I didn't even know what the word Vinyasa meant. So that is the quick yet convoluted trip from rugby, power lifting to my attempt at a Zen master.
So since your rugby journey has come to an end, how do you feed your competitive appetite?
I've always been competitive, and rugby was definitely the way I took that out, because I'm pretty terrible at all other sports. Just a big lump. So, that's where it all came, from scrummaging onwards. First I then turned to powerlifting. That's just the next step. You can be big, you can be kind of fat, and you can shift heavy objects a very small distance. It's all simple, it's primal.
And then as I became a young PT, early twenties, spent so many hours in the gym that I moved towards CrossFit. I adore CrossFit, even to this day. You have so many modalities, so many things you can compete with. You can compete with yourself, against yourself, against others. It really is epic. But your body starts breaking down. So then I moved towards obstacle courses, triathlons, the odd half marathon. But now the majority of my competitive side actually comes through competing in yoga, for my Father's country, Hungary.
Yeah. So you've taken part in the Yoga Sports World Champions. What is this? I've never even heard of it. What is it, and what does it entail?
I was going to say, most people don't realize that there's a World Championships, because people don't realize you can actually compete in yoga. It is the Asana side. It's not who can be the most peaceful and well-rounded human being. Contestants have three minutes to perform and hold a certain amount of poses. You get difficulty multipliers, options. Started with the UK championships, where a load of my friends were doing it. I moved to Europeans in 2017 and then through qualification suddenly found myself in Beijing 2018 for the Yoga Sports World Championships.
Wow. How did you go, with that?
I managed a powerful 23rd place, but don't tell people that there were 27 competitors, ha ha.
So tell us, how does yoga contribute towards competitive success?
The first one. Why most guys usually get into yoga. It is a case of your muscles, your joints, they start hurting and we ignore that, and then suddenly you get to the point where you can't do what you previously did. If it's lifting weights, if it's playing your sports. So from the simple side of stretching, balancing on one foot to strengthen your glutes, that's the obvious way that yoga is going to help the physical body.
The second bit is the mental, and through that it's a completely different way of using... Wait, everyone knows, yin and yang. We believe that the more you push, the harder you train, the more you do, the better you'll be. And that's simply not the fact. As soon as I started practicing yoga continuously, suddenly my lifts got heavier, even though I was training less. I stopped freaking out about things. You stop putting pressure on yourself, because you understand the bigger picture.
Finally, the last one: breath. You know, as a yoga teacher, the amount of times you repeat the words, inhale, exhale, breathe in, breathe out. My God, if you are trying to run or swim or tackle people, that's really damn important. But you don't figure that out until someone really teaches it to you.
So tell us, with personal training and CrossFit and power lifting. How did, how did those activities influence your yoga teaching style?
Well, pretty damn extensively. Actually before I started teaching, a few days before I qualified, a gym chain called Gymbox asked me to make a yoga style called yoga for lifting, which is still around, two and a half years later. From my background, everything is anatomical, everything is functional. You do this stretch for a reason. You do that strengthener for a reason. And it's something that really attracts a different demographic. I continue this yoga for lifting concept with my training and my online training, everything, which is now under the name 'Yobility'. Because if you're in the gym world, people love that word 'mobility'. But a little yoga spin. Even now with personal training, instead of just using barbells, using machines, you really do understand the calisthenics side. The use of your body. That's really, really difficult. So if you find it hard to just hold a Crescent Lunge or a Warrior Two, then maybe you should start that way before you start trying to shift massive weights and grow big muscles.
Yoga is largely considered a feminine pursuit. What would you say to encourage more guys onto the mat?
Of course. This argument, this conversation (yogis don't argue of course!). Every week, yoga is feminine, it's for pussies, it's too slow. Go try a hot rocket class and try say that. Try 90 minutes of Bikram and say that. It's because men are too scared to look stupid and weak. I had the exact same thing. They rather continue doing manly things like bicep curls and drinking pints, as opposed to actually taking themselves out of their comfort zone... Everyone knows it's good for you, but nobody wants to look stupid.
I think more men will continue to drip into the practice, especially as there are more large athletic teachers showing up. I think that's a big important one. Teachers that are relatable. Weightlifters, martial arts, as opposed to the skinny noodle who was a dancer as a child. Super, hyper mobile. They're amazing. I'm incredibly envious of them. But if you have never done yoga before and that is your teacher, there's a huge chance you'll just say no from the beginning. But honestly, the final thing I'd say is, people need to know exactly what class they're going for.
With words like Forrest Yoga, you'll sign up because yoga is yoga. And then Kundalini. If I show up, and I remember doing my first one. I danced, I chanted and I left thinking, "what the hell just happened?" Names were slightly different. Stretch Yoga, Yoga For Lifting. That's likely to get people, because there's nothing hiding there. You can't trick me into one of these spiritual awakenings.
So what's next on the agenda for Dyl Salamon?
Summer of 2019 brought my first yoga retreat. Hosted that, and from this point on, many, many more. Especially, I believe the style of yoga that I enjoy teaching, the Yobility, that is going to move slowly around the world, either through personal training, online training, or in retreats. The second part is, I'm the master trainer for a company called Broga Fitness Yoga. And it is what it says. Again, it is for guys and girls, but people know what to expect. We are expanding out beyond London, through England, and through Europe, and every month we believe we're getting bigger, and exceptionally excited for that. Then finally, at the end of the year, the European Yoga Cup in Bordeaux.
So finally, can you leave us with some words of wisdom?
Well, my favorite phrase. I enjoy telling people quite simply, "Go do more yoga, asshole." When your physical body is happy, when you can do whatever you want and when you are fit and healthy, this directly reflects onto your mental and spiritual state. People think of quality of life. You've got lots of money, so you can do lots of stuff, that's quality of life. If your body does exactly what you ask it to, and you can now climb Everest or you can do a pistol squat, that again is quality of life. So why not put the A word on the end of it, because that's going to get attention, and I want people to truly just get on the mat.
The final bit is very different to all the words I've been saying, but if you love someone, or even if you just like them, you tell them every damn day, because life is too short. And if one thing yoga has taught me, it's to be a bit more open. Don't live through WhatsApp, go and talk to the person or see them.
To watch the video interview with Dyl, click below:
You can find more about Dyl at his Brand Warrior page, or on instagram: @flexidyl. Dyl teaches throughout London: LEVEL6 studios in Peckham, Gymbox, Evolve 353 in Parsons Green, and More Yoga in Brixton and Soho. He would absolutely love for anyone and everyone to join him for a class.