Mike Peck: Yoga is a Gift to Myself

Mike Peck, the USA Yoga Federation West Coast Regionals Adult 50+ Gold Medalist, began practicing yoga on a regular basis in 1977, using Richard Hittleman's Introduction to Yoga.  Just before his 59th birthday six years ago, he stopped by the local Hot Yoga studio in Scottsdale, Arizona as “a gift to myself.  I had been curious about hot yoga, stopped in, and have been going ever since,” he reminisced.

Mike practices at The Foundry Yoga in Paradise Valley and Old Town Scottsdale, Arizona, training with coach Heidi-Jo Klingman. Despite his very demanding full-time job as a burn surgeon, he prepares for competition in three ways: practicing the classic 90-minute class at least three times a week; taking advantage of other classes (Pilates, HIIT, barre, power yoga) to help build strength and endurance; and taking private lessons with teachers and working on the homework they give him.

Mike has been competing for three years. Why did he first get interested? “I did it the first time because I appreciated the challenge and also because I got a lot of encouragement from my teachers,” he explains. “I went to my first regional competition about three years ago.  I fell out of standing bow but found the preparation for the event really helped my focus and my practice.”

Other benefits of training? “Not only was I now more focused on the postures in my routine, but I was also conscious of more attention to form and detail on the rest of the 90-minute sequence,” he says.  “Plus, it's a great group of people who compete!”

To stay fit, he starts most days with a cup of hot water and lemon juice followed by a Jamba Juice large Greens and Ginger.  He eats a light salad for lunch, and “then I come home and eat whatever my wife puts on the table for dinner.” He has mostly eliminated caffeine and reduced his intake of starches.  He drinks 3 liters of water a day.

Other hobbies include hiking and skiing. Mike has worked at burn centers all over the country, including Seattle, Cincinnati, Miami, and Chapel Hill, and have been in Phoenix for the last 10 years. He and his wife have three adult children.

“My daughter practices Hot Yoga off and on,” Mike says.  “My youngest son (who is 27) came once.  Unfortunately, I neglected to prepare him for class, and he had a cheeseburger for lunch -- that didn't go so well!”  

His advice for yogis considering competition in the 50+ Division? “Try it--there is nothing to lose, and it's a great experience!”

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