Back in August I wrote about ‘Manly Yoga’ and Bro-Culture. But, having been in the UK for a couple of months now, it seems that yoga for boys is also a thing.
According to The Telegraph, we’ve seen the launches of Broga, a version of the practice adapted to suit our “macho” sensibilities, and, yes, Dirty Yoga, a US-based programme which claims to appeal to men as it allows them to do it “in the privacy of their own home, without the need for mats or gurus.” Both prioritize “rugged” strength and physicality over spirituality.
There are others, and one company is Boys of Yoga.
And here is its mantra:
Some guys think that yoga makes you less of a man, the truth is it makes you a better one.
Yoga isn’t just for your mom, your sister or your girlfriend anymore
It’s time to smash the stereotype
They call themselves a “crew” and there’s a section of the website titled “Spiritual Gangster.” The guys are tattooed, bearded, and give off a Vice-like vibe. Similar to “surf, skate and snow sport cultures,” the Boys’ argue, “yoga creates a community of the like-minded. The deeper you go, the more it pulls you in.” This language reminds me of The Godfather. The Boys of Yoga are clearly not the Mafia. But they certainly use a marketing campaign that conjures up such images…
The website features profiles of all the various members of the crew.
Take Kyle Gray, from Scotland:
Here’s an excerpt from his bio, where he refers to himself as ANGEL GUY . BOOK SCRIBBLER . CHEEKY BASTARD . YOGI.
Is there anything you preach but don’t practice? Fuck, no. I often say at the end of my yoga classes, “eat lots of chocolate and drink lots of wine” – oops!
We’ve all done a few things we aren’t too proud of, care to share one? I recently lost my shit at a parking attendant who gave me a ticket while I was helping an 80 year old lady into her car. My ego felt bruised that he could do that while I was being of service. I swore lots and lost my mind for a moment. I got into trouble for it but, more, it was a real lesson for me to stop being so self-important. I’ve since written an apology letter.
What was the biggest challenge when you first started practicing? Strength – my arms were like jello – I could barely hold myself up.
Why did you keep coming back? The rejuvenating feeling that swirled around me when it was over. That was a triiiip!
What would make you skip practice? Not waking up in time… I have slept in so many times through morning Ashtanga Mysore class – OOPS!
A few years back Justin Hakuta asked if yoga had lost its mystique. “Gone are the days,” he wrote, “of the loin clothed yogi meditating alone on a mountaintop, unless of course said loin cloth is made of wickable polyester blend, fits your body like a glove and retails for $100 a pop and the yogi in question has worldwide appearances and a DVD series purchasable on Amazon.com. Oh, and don’t forget to check their Twitter feed.”
Pretty cynical. But there’s truth there, too. It’s a roughly $7 billlion dollar business and we’ve now got ample styles, options, and brands to choose from, including Antigravity Aerial Yoga,laughter yoga, chair yoga, acro yoga, partner yoga, hiking yoga, dog yoga, and, yup, Boys of Yoga.
Yoga has achieved, in short, a level of infamous popularity, mainstream accessibility and frantic commercialization in the West.
Is this a negative? Is this selling out? Or, as Justin Hakuta asked, has yoga lost its soul? That’s up to you.
With the Boys of Yoga, well, they seem pretty soulful to me.
Here’s an entirely different crew of soulful Boys: