Emile Sorger: ParKOUR YOGA DAD
Yoga Conditioning with Emile Sorger is every Tuesday evening at UMA!
We know there’s a million places to take Yoga in downtown Philadelphia. We also think our teachers offer something special. Not only in their physical ability and teaching experience, but also in their perspective on fitness, training, practice, and life in general. Instructor Emile Sorger has been teaching Yoga for nearly a decade. Emile’s experience allows him to meet students wherever they are in their Yoga journey. He has worked with everyone from total beginners to professional Parkour athletes. A Philadelphia area native, he's also a dad and a business owner. He’s co-owner of Yoga Movement Arts up in Brewerytown.
Emile started teaching Yoga to the Parkour athletes at Pinnacle Parkour in East Falls when the gym opened two years ago. Emile has always loved running, jumping, and climbing trees. His Parkour and free running training allows him to sprint through trees branches. At times, when he’s reached a new branch or while trying to achieve a new route, he sits still and meditates. Don’t believe us? Check out his Instagram: @mysticalphysical.
Here are Emile’s thoughts on teaching yoga to parkour athletes:
There is an aspect of teaching yoga that has to do with bringing one's students to a more neutral and balanced state of being. Often students show up early in the morning barely awake or after a long day at work, when teaching Parkour athletes however it is usually directly after flying through the air, flipping, twisting and climbing. Therefore the first half and sometimes the majority of class is spent meeting them at a level of intense focus and physical exertion and slowly scaling their energy, breath and state of mind to one that is more calm. The most challenging area of practice across the board for Parkour athletes is quality of transitions. Attending not only to the posture that is directed but to the way in which the body moves into and out of it. The most challenging part of my job is to keep them focused on an exercise which doesn't involve explosiveness.
Emile’s social media is also full of the #yogadad hashtag. Emile and his wife Jess LaBarca (a Yogi and Art Therapist!) had their first child Max this past May. Emile and Max are always up to acro-yoga hijinx, balancing and making ridiculous faces together. We asked Emile how he has maintained his Yoga practice during this first year of being a father.
The most important tool I have in maintaining my yoga practice as a father is the attitude of "just do it." This often relates to the morning when instead of getting a precious 60 minutes more of sleep I decide to wake up and spend the time on my mat (and drinking coffee). It also has to do with practicing at odd times, potentially after eating, when I have low energy etc... The value of this willingness is hard to appreciate until during and after practicing at which point it is abundantly clear, it is the knowledge that circumstances, even those of a screaming baby who is covered in his own poop, do not determine one's state of mind. And for me it is through the "just do it" approach to practicing that I am able to rediscover that knowledge daily.
Damn. Someone call Nike!
Emile is also known for his epic hand-standing and hand-balancing skills. Be sure not to miss his next inversion series. If you don’t understand how Yoga can improve your upper body strength, you better take Emile’s yoga class! If you want to handstand, but it feels a million miles away, Emile’s yoga class is a great place to start. In Emile's Yoga classes you will learn healthy alignment in order to build capacity to transfer force and carry greater load without injury. His class will bring you back to healthy alignment while building strength and flexibility so that you can jump, punch, throw, thrust, or kick in a more explosive manner.
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