Lose the stress, embrace the healthy with yoga

Michael Corrie’s life journey has taken him all over the world as an international businessman but it’s the journey he’s taken since leaving it all behind that has made him a picture of health at age 65.

Now living in Indialantic and teaching yoga privately, Corrie is a trim version of his former self, down about 50 pounds since he turned the corner on the stress that had propelled him to the top levels of business.

His resumé from his “former” self begins in the mid 1970s as a field construction manager for three air fields in the Sahara Desert in Africa looking for oil. After that, he transitioned from a manager position with 400 employees in Saudi Arabia, a three-year stint in Jordan, to serving as an offshore oil consultant in Norway and later a manager of packaging firms in Ukraine and finally Moscow, ending in 2005.

“I realized I could die a rich man because I was 50 pounds heavier than I am now, smoking cigarettes and not in the greatest health. I was about 280 pounds. I went to an American doctor and he said, “You have high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. Here, take these pills for the rest of your life.” That irritated me,’’ he said.

He remembered back to the days he took yoga classes and decided to make the change.

“My first yoga class was in 1974 but then I went to the desert. I really liked yoga but I couldn’t do it through my international career. I liked the meditation and I liked the poses. I started weight training, rowing three times a week and walking on the beach at the Chesapeake Bay every day. Instead of snacking on popcorn and Coca-Cola I would have one apple. I dropped my first 25 pounds,’’ he said.

“In 2008 I threw away all my pills. I don’t take any pills. I don’t need them. I don’t use anything but food,” he said.

He moved to Norway, where he has family but changes in the law made him move and he chose India to study yoga, ending with a 500-hour advanced certificate.

“I was just teaching young people but it wasn’t interesting to me. This April 2014 I decided to come to Florida to teach to seniors because Americans have a great misconception that yoga is only for young people and is only poses. There are so many old people that are in so much trouble mentally and physically and yoga can help them, not because we’re going to get down on the mat and twist ourselves into pretzels but we’re going to learn how to breathe. If you learn how to breathe properly, that’s going to improve your immunity, energy levels and give you some more good years of your life.

“The bottom line on yoga is getting you to meditate. You can’t get to meditation unless you can breathe correctly. You can’t breathe correctly unless your body is working well so that’s the purpose of poses. You do the poses to be able to breathe to be able to meditate.”

Corrie is teaching yoga lessons independently now, either individually or in small groups, doing business as Gaia Yoga.

For more information, call 772-240-8215.