This is the second article in a new series called Amazing Tall People.
In this series I interview a wide range of tall people that are embracing their height and not letting it stop them from achieving incredible things.
Last time I interviewed a tall body builder, larger than life UK.
This time I had the pleasure of interviewing Brandon, a 6 foot 8 yogi, that is not only strong but incredibly flexible and is able to put his body into truly impressive poses.
Follow his Instagram page @6foot8yoga to see what I mean – you’ll be blown away.
In addition to being an amazing tall yogi, Brandon is also the owner of Giraffe Athletic: Extra-large 85″ x 36″, high-density, high-quality yoga mats!
You can see these yoga mats in action in all of Brandon’s photos below as well as on his Instagram page.
And now, without further ado, here is my interview with Brandon.
Brandon, congratulations on achieving such an amazing level of flexibility and strength. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself including your height?
I am 6 foot 8 and about 265 lbs. I live in San Diego, CA, USA. I am married and my daughter is a year and a half.
What’s the most common question you get asked all the time because of your height?
I think we are all used to the same questions. How tall are you? Did you play basketball? I usually respond with 4’3” and I’m a professional horse jockey. If they keep pressing I tell them I race Clydesdales and you have to be tall to control them. Gotta have fun otherwise the same questions would get old.
Growing up, were you always practicing yoga? If not, at what point did you decide to start training and what was (and still is) your motivation?
I’ve been practicing yoga for about 3-4 years now. Growing up I played basketball and volleyball through junior college. In my early to mid 20s I would lift weights and go for short jogs of 3-4 miles. Yoga always intrigued me but I just never did it. My first time doing yoga was P90x. When I was done I was dripping in sweat. A short time later I went to my first official class.
Yoga really appealed to me because it seemed to accomplish so much at one time. It has builds both strength and flexibility. It does these things while being low impact. Like most tall people I have had joint issues including bad ankles and Osgood-Schlatter (jumper’s knee). High impact exercise such as running or playing basketball can really inflame my knee so I’ve basically retired from those things.
How long did it take for you to reach the level you are at now?
A true yoga practice is always improving. I am always finding new found flexibility or strength allowing me to do poses I could do before or improve on other.
People sometimes want to know how long certain poses took for me to do. I was able to do crow pose early on. The strength I had from lifting gave me a base to use in yoga. Headstand took some work. I don’t remember exactly how long till I felt comfortable in headstand (without using the wall) but I’ve been able to do it for maybe 3 years now. I’ve been able to do pincha mayurasana (forearm stand) for a year and a half or so. Now I’m working on my handstand and I’m seeing good progress.
How often do you practice yoga? and do you do any additional (non-yoga) training?
I practice yoga 4-5 days a week depending on my schedule I also mix in different body weight exercises when I am at home.
Can you describe for me a typical training session.
My workouts usually start with some light stretching and gentle movement in an effort to get warm and loose. I really prefer starting to downward facing dog and then doing a variety of moves from there. Things such as moving into low lunge or knee to elbow and then back to down dog. These moves help warm up the entire body.
After that I may do some more stretching before going into body weight exercises. These exercises include things such as squats, lunges, pushups and planks with a multitude of variations of those base exercises.
I then usually finish with inversions. Lately it has been a lot of handstand work but it may also include forearm stand or anything else I feel like.
Are there any moves you find harder to perform because of your height? If so, how do you get around it?
I feel most inversions are more difficult for taller people. Take handstand for instance. My feet are 8 feet in the air. My center of balance is a lot higher than it is for most people.
What is your current training goal?
I’ve got 2 current goals. 1 has been to improve my handstand. I’m currently at a max hold of 15-20 seconds. I would like to get more consistent with it.
The second goal is more self-centered. We just booked a trip to Maui next May for our 5 year anniversary. I would like to drop some weight and add more definition specifically in my abs before that time. I will really reign in the diet after the gluttony of the holidays.
What impacts has this this level of flexibility and strength had on both you and your life?
It amazing how strength and flexibility can make our daily lives easier. I’m sure we’ve all seen someone struggle to bend over to pick up something they dropped. Or maybe they have difficulty getting in and out of a car. Now add some height and extra size to that equation and things can seem almost impossible.
Do you have any advice for tall people that want to start yoga but aren’t sure where to start and for tall people that don’t feel confident about their height?
A yoga class can be very intimidating the first few times. If this is an issue for you I would practice along with some YouTube videos. This will give a good ideas of the different poses so you won’t be completely lost. Eventually you should attend a class. Look for a class aimed at beginners. These teachers usually give more verbal cues and take a little more time between poses to make sure everyone is following. If you liked the teachers make sure to go back to their class again. You will get used to their style and they will be aware of your progress and any areas you may need help in.
What’s the best part about being tall?
There are the obvious advantage to being tall such as being able to reach the top shelves or being able to see over a crowd of people but I think the best part is you will always stand out. This can be a good or bad depending on your outlook. I obviously could never be a bank robber because I would get picked out of a line up real easy. When you are tall people notice you and remember you. Use that to your advantage. Be the bright spot in someone’s day.
As I mentioned above, Brandon is the owner of Giraffe Athletic (@giraffeathletic).
Giraffe Athletic makes extra-large 85″ x 36″, high-density, high-quality yoga mats!
Made by a tall (6 foot 8) yogi for other tall yogi’s.
If you have any questions or comments be sure to leave them below.
Stand tall, be proud of your height and strive for greatness.
Other Posts In: Amazing Tall People Series
02. Tall, Strong and Flexible: My Interview With A 6 Foot 8 Yogi