Former congressman finds new cause as yogi

Congressman Alan Steelman is to speak at the FitWell Expo on his book "Yoga on the Yellow Brick Road." Shae Koharski | Multimedia Journalist

By Cameron Stuart | Radio Director

Baylor alumnus and former Texas congressman Alan Steelman will be the keynote speaker for Baylor Wellness’ FitWell Expo this Saturday, teaching students about safe solutions to mental health issues through his new career as a yogi and from his best-selling book “Yoga on the Yellow Brick Road.”

The speech Steelman will give on Saturday will focus on his book as well as safe practices for students to attain better mental health, avoiding self-medications like drugs and alcohol. The speech will be nestled in between morning and afternoon health and exercise sessions between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Feb. 2.

“Like the ‘Wizard of Oz’, it is the story of all of our lives,” Steelman said about his book. “Through yoga and meditation, we can find our own path to our very own Emerald City, a calm mind.”

Steelman came to Baylor on a baseball scholarship in 1960 and served as a Republican Congressman from 1973 to 1977. Not only was Steelman the youngest sitting member of Congress when he was elected, but he also now jokes that he is the only former congressman to be a certified yoga instructor. Steelman also credits his yoga career to the stress of his political and business career.

“Politics today is certainly a blood sport, if not a contact sport,” Steelman said. “The reason I have taken on this new cause is not to contribute to the toxicity by running for office again, but to try to bring people together.”

Now, over 40 years removed from Congress, Steelman travels the world speaking to companies and students about his book. He also informs people of his new cause about the dangers of stress and how they can be combatted safely and effectively. According to his website, he has worked with world leaders and over 1,000 CEOs to date.

When Steelman came to Baylor nearly six decades ago, however, he was in no position to be the one consulting others on mental health.

“When I got here [to Baylor], I was damaged goods,” Steelman said. “I was popular here, but things were dark.”

Van Smith-Davis, the assistant director of Wellness at Baylor, thinks Steelman is the perfect voice for students struggling with mental health issues to hear today.

“I think Alan [Steelman] is an extraordinary man with a wonderful story to share,” Smith-Davis said. “I think our students and our faculty and staff can come and be inspired by what he has to say.”

For the students themselves, Steelman’s message still resonates even after decades out of the public eye.

“I think it is really cool that he wants to come back to Baylor and talk about such an important issue,” Baytown junior Brooke Heckel said. “It seems so many people struggle with these kinds of problems today, but there isn’t much education on solutions.”

To register for the FitWell expo and see Steeleman’s speech, you can sign up at The expo will be held at the Foster Campus for Business and Innovation, and lunch will be included for the first 150 registrants.