Trailblazer: Sid McNairy
We all have a journey of what led us to our first encounter with yoga. Sid McNairy first got into yoga in 1996 when coaching football at Northern Illinois University. His players, including Justin McCareins, former NFL player of the Jets and Titans, had injured his hamstrings, so Justin began doing yoga to find a way to heal. Yoga thereafter also became part of Sid's life in order to understand his player’s journey. The journey has taken many steps and you will find that each has aided Sid along the way.
Many yogis have also inspired Sid, among them Rodney Yee. The biggest influence on Sid's yoga practice and his growth as an individual, however, has been by Baron Baptiste. Baron helped in allowing Sid to connect to his truth and live an authentic life. The Sequence that Baron teaches has helped to guide Sid in developing the foundation of the flow at Sid Yoga (open since 2004), from where Sid went on to build a teacher training program that has since birthed several hundred new Yoga instructors each year. In addition, Sid has developed his Empowerment and Beyond Book and Series of Yoga retreats, including his renowned “Empowerment and Beyond” program, "Elite Athlete Training”. We are psyched to sit down with Sid and find out how he started blazing trails:
WL - What aspects of yoga / meditation / spirituality do you bring into your work?
SM - I love a powerful practice. Having been a competitive athlete and coach for most of my life it is my nature to open up into a powerful practice. It is that up bringing that has landed me in power yoga and my coaching career that continues to help me to inspire others to go beyond their wildest dream. Combining my spiritual practice of my Native American heritage, allows me to keep balance in my life. It is this part of my life that has allowed me the space to be a peaceful warrior. I know that it is the combination of power and peace that has allowed others to open to their fullest potential in my classes. I enjoy seeing others light up and find freedom on the mat. The balance of power and grace all in one!
WL - How did you get involved with yoga?
SM - Yoga found me early in my life. I had coaches throughout my sports that taught us meditation from 8 years of age on. But it wasn't until I was coaching college football when the stress of my life caught me. A friend suggested I give yoga a try to relieve the tension in my back. Yoga did that and more. Yoga became my best friend as it was there for me whenever I needed it. When my life hit walls I turned to yoga. When I hit a spiritual bankruptcy I turned to yoga. When I needed to find myself I turned to yoga. My practice has been there for me waiting for me to open my heart and let it in.
WL - What's your favorite pose?
SM - Trikonasana (Triangle Pose): It is the posture that gives me space to remember the human experience I am living in now. To walk my feet apart and access the freedom in my foundation to ground deep into the earth. To be supported from my foundation in a powerful and peaceful way. Then within the same posture reaching up to the heavens and accepting all the gift that pour down. It is in the balance between the grounding and opening up that allows us to experience the human experience we are here to live.
WL - What's feeding your wanderlust today?
SM - My wanderlust is being fed by the love that is growing from everyone involved. I can feel how through everyone I speak to how we are all coming together to join in a common thread. That thread is peace and love. It is the work we do now that will affect the next seven generations to come. My wanderlust is being fed by the possibility of what we can do to impact the next seven generations to come. We are the change.
WL - If you could leave one legacy for your community what would it be?
SM - The legacy that I am leaving for our community is expansion of peace. We are coming together and healing the world through peace within. As each of us opens up to a deeper vibration of peace we are shifting the world through our own hearts.