Marble Falls yoga instructor credits practice with shaping his life

Yoga instructor Brad Offutt regularly leads power yoga sessions at Sana Vida, 507 RR 1431 in Marble Falls. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR

MARBLE FALLS — It was a simple question Brad Offutt’s wife, Amy, posed to him probably 20 or more years ago.

“I was 23 or 25, and she asked what I wanted to do with my life,” he said. “I said, ‘I don’t know but when I find out I’m going to be good at it.'”

It only took him about 20 years to find the answer. After spending roughly two decades in the real estate business, Brad Offutt began rewriting his life in 2006. A life that now involves power yoga. It was a comment by a friend  who he hadn’t seen in awhile — as well as a downturn in the real estate market — that helped spur the change.

While he always considered himself an active person, in 2003, Offutt basically sunk into a very non-active regime. A few years later, his friend made a remark about him putting on weight.

“I laughed it off and told him, ‘No, I’m still the same as I’d always been,'” Offut recalled. Only he wasn’t. It would take a little while longer before he really looked at what had become of the fit young man. He was bending over to tie his shoe one day when the size of his stomach finally caught his attention. That lean, young man he saw himself was now 55 pounds heavier than ever before, and a physical exam revealed his blood pressure was borderline high while all his other statistics were creeping into the bad ranges.

“I was becoming the picture of somebody about to be 40 years old,” Offutt said. He was 38.

So Offutt began the road to physical recovery. Only it wasn’t just his physical fitness that ailed him.

By 2007-2008, the real estate market was tanking, and Offutt began looking for a way out. Though he had spent about two decades in the profession, he admitted he never quite found it personally fulfilling. It left him empty inside.

But his physical fitness was returning, and he jumped into become a personal trainer. It seemed like a good match. He began creating programs for other people, including his wife. One day, however, Amy just didn’t want to “work out” and posed another question, one that would really begin leading into a new world.

Amy told Brad she just wanted to do yoga.

“I thought that’s OK, but you still need strength training and cardio,” he said. After all, wasn’t yoga just some “bendy” thing you did on a mat. Then Amy asked him to join her.

So he did. And it was one of the most intense workouts he’d ever enjoyed. It opened his eyes to what yoga was and could do for a person. Soon, Offutt was taking three to five classes a week. Then, he was leading classes in yoga. But he still felt there was a little piece missing, so he approached his mentor about leading a class in what he defined as “power yoga.” She challenged him by saying he didn’t even know what power yoga was. She encouraged him to explore a form of yoga developed and taught by Baron Baptiste. As things would have it, there was a class in Austin the next day, so off Offutt went.

“I came out of that and thought, ‘Wow, what was that?'” he said.

Offutt found his calling. He pursued a 500-hour certification in Baptiste’s form of yoga. He leads classes three times a week at Sana Vida, 507 RR 1431 in Marble Falls, at 6 a.m. He also leads classes at Bodhi Yoga in Bee Cave.

Yoga, he explained, is much more than bending. Since he took up yoga, Offutt has seen his life change on so many levels. He has become a physically fit man with all those high health stats fading away. After more than 20 years of being a regular smokeless tobacco user, he doesn’t touch the stuff any more. He doesn’t need it.

And his gambling addiction? Well, it also became a thing of the past.

“Power yoga is a term,” Offutt said. “It’s a term to becoming a more powerful person. It’s about becoming a better person physically and inside as well.”

It also has become a tool used by many professional athletic teams, including the Seattle Seahawks.

Offutt can list the benefits of power yoga, but the best way to understand them is by experiencing it. Unlike other forms of yoga, which seem to be about the position, Offutt explained he doesn’t demonstrate the positions during a class but talks to the participants. And it’s not abut getting into a position, but doing the best you can where you are at.

Regardless of how advanced or how much of a beginner you are, Offutt promised it’s a workout and practice that can change your life on numerous levels. Just like it did his.

He recalled the first time his wife attended a yoga class he was leading. Afterwards she told him, “I think you found your calling.”

Go to www.sanavida.info for classes or more on power yoga.

daniel@thepicayune.com