I hope my friend and coach, Steve Ilg, won’t mind a story. I’d been involved in fitness and athletics for years when I saw a cover of Outside magazine with a picture of Coach Steve in striped tights and the headline reading; “This man will break you…….” It was quite an article. He charged an arm and two legs for a six week program, had a list of professional athletes as clients, and a 6 month waiting list to go and train with him. I was really intrigued but he was in New Mexico and I was in Southern California so that’s as far as that went.

But then years later (and I’m talkin’ like 10 years, give or take), I’m training clients in a Powerhouse Gym in SoCal and there’s an announcement of a new Yoga class & instructor. I had never really paid much attention to Yoga, other than seeing the occasional spot on TV with a Yogi folding himself up into a tiny plexiglass cube or something. But then I read the announcement of the new Yoga classes at Powerhouse Gym and the instructor is ‘Steve Ilg.’ I’m thinkin’, “No way, he’s in New Mexico and has way too much going to be here. But if it is him, well here’s a cheap way to meet this Ilg guy and see what he’s got.”

One Yoga class and one meditation session later and I was hooked. Yoga, and my friend Yogi Steve are legit! I’d also been training with a mountain bicycling race team and introduced Coach Steve to the team owner. Steve joined us for a few training rides and I remember thinking I was doing okay with making a bike go fast on dirt trails in general, and one ride in particular I was really pushing hard. Then in the middle of a fairly technical corner, here comes Coach pulling up right beside me and saying real softly…..”relax Ross, breath….breath….breath” as he effortlessly pulled away exiting the corner.

Coach, correct me if I’m wrong but that was around ’95 or ’96, making it about 17 years ago? I haven’t been as good about keeping up my Yoga training as I could be, but the impression you made on me is indelible. You mentioned my ‘Metta’ but if there’s any Metta I have with Yoga, it started with and grew from you Coach.”

Ross Burke

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