Real Men Do Yoga

Ha! Now that I got your attention with that title, let me tell you about Kevin, a much-loved yoga instructor at Mind the Mat. Kevin is the kind of guy that just gets it. He’ll post Instagram reminders about other instructors’ classes. He knows we are all in this together and we need to lift each other up. Just the other day he posted an Instagram video of himself jumping up and down when one of his students got into a challenging pose. He truly empathizes and connects with his students and their successes are his too.


Sara: How did you first get into yoga?

Kevin: Years ago, I was ‘lucky’ enough to get injured playing rugby. At that time, I was at the peak of my performance and could do anything. Then one day I took a bad tackle and my back got injured. I went to a specialist and he told me to do yoga three times a week for two weeks. Instead I went eight times a week, because I wanted so badly to get back on the rugby field.

After two weeks I was able to run, lift, and practice with my rugby team again, but things had changed. On the rugby field I was able to do movements I wasn’t able to do before. I could find balance in positions that seemed impossible. I could push much bigger people out of the way. I was calmer during critical stages of the match. Being the fly-half of the team, similar to the quarterback, staying calm and grounded was really important. My teammates asked me what I was doing differently, and I told them it was yoga that was making me stronger, physically and mentally.



Sara: What do you love most about yoga?

Kevin: There is nothing like the feeling of practicing yoga with other people. When I’m in a room and we’re all breathing together, moving together, and working together, there’s an energy that uplifts and transforms everyone. It becomes so much easier to be more receptive and understanding in my daily life with other people off the mat because I remember how positive my experience can be when I keep the mindset that we’re in it together.



Sara: What is an important lesson yoga has taught you?

Kevin: Whenever I start a yoga practice, I try to remember that there is no perfect pose. When I begin with that mindset, I’m able to explore what the perfect alignment is for my body, not what I see in pictures or what other people are doing. Yoga strengthens my relationship to myself, my body and my mind.



Sara: What kind of yoga do you practice?

Kevin: Rocket Yoga. The reason I love Rocket Yoga is because it encourages me to explore new possibilities in my practice. Sometimes I don’t know what I’m capable of until someone says, “Hey, you can do it!” Even if I don’t get it that day, at least I know that it is possible if I keep working at it. When I practice Rocket Yoga, I am reminded constantly about the possibilities that exist. The most important part of class isn’t getting the posture, it’s finding out how I respond to challenges in my life. Do I look at them and say, “I got this” or do I look at challenges and see them as roadblocks to where I want to go and then give up. I want the first option.



Learn from Kevin:

1.) Weekly classes and free post class clinics (where he takes extra time to work individually with his students on specific poses)

2.) Yoga for Men workshop on Saturday, January 25 from 3:30pm – 5pm to be held at Mind the Mat’s Alexandria location. Tell a man in your life about this one!

3.) Rocket Yoga Weekend Immersion February 28 – March 1st to be held at Mind the Mat’s Arlington location.





Mind the Mat Community Event:



You’re Invited! Because we adore you…

We love connecting with you and we hope you feel the same! Join us for drinks, bites, and entertainment at Mind the Mat Del Rey (2214 Mount Vernon Ave) on Saturday, February 1, 7pm – 10pm to celebrate the community we’ve created together. Mingle with our front desk crew, instructors, and your MtM buddies. Bring a friend. Giveaways, raffles, and more from local partner businesses. Dress: Fun casual, you do you!

Click here to RSVP


  • The latest from Sara
co-owner, CMT, e-RYT 200, RYT 500 | Mind the Mat
Sara VanderGoot, CMT, e-RYT 200, RYT 500, is Co-founder of Mind the Mat Pilates and Yoga and Director of Mind the Mat Yoga Alliance certified teacher training program. Sara is an experienced Registered Yoga instructor with Yoga Alliance. She studied Interdisciplinary Yoga with Don and Amba Stapleton in Nosara, Costa Rica and at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. Sara is Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, licensed by the Virginia Board of Nursing. Sara has been practicing massage therapy, including specialties Prenatal Massage, Postpartum Massage, Deep Tissue Massage and Thai Yoga Massage, in Del Ray, Alexandria for over 15 years and a yoga instructor for 7 years. At Mind the Mat she specializes in Prenatal Yoga, Postpartum Core Yoga, Mommy and Me Core Yoga, Partners Yoga, and Hot Flow Yoga. Sara frequently acts as a birth companion for many of her clients, doing massage and yoga during labor and delivery to facilitate comfort during both medicated and unmedicated births. Before becoming a massage therapist and yoga instructor, she was a lawyer in the Washington D.C. area and found that the healing practices of massage and yoga brought a balance to her life that she had been searching for.

Mind the Mat Pilates & Yoga was founded in 2008 by Megan Brown, Doctor of Physical Therapy and Polestar Certified Practitioner of Pilates for Rehabilitation and Sara VanderGoot, Nationally Certified Massage Therapist and Registered Yoga Teacher (e-RYT 200, RYT 500). In their private practices as physical therapist and massage therapist respectively Megan and Sara observed that many of their clients were coming in with similar needs: relief for neck and shoulder tension and low back pain as well as a desire for more flexibility in hips and legs, stability in joints, and core strength.

Together Megan and Sara carefully crafted a curriculum of Pilates and yoga classes to address needs for clients who are pregnant, postpartum, have injuries or limitations, who are new to Pilates and yoga, and for those who are advanced students and are looking for an extra challenge.     

2214 Mount Vernon Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22301


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