Thursday, February 10, 2011

Would this picture make a man want to do yoga (Probably not, but why does it matter?)

I read with great interest Loo's recent post/field report about Jois Yoga, and I was planning on writing a long post about the whole Ashtanga Matrix concept (see Loo's post for more details). But it's been a long day, and I need to go eat (yes, man does not live on yoga alone), so this will have to wait.

In the meantime, I'll write something shorter and more plebeian. So for those of you who no longer subscribe to Yoga Journal, this is how the cover of the latest issue of YJ looks like:

Before you try to sue my pants off for copyright infringement, allow me to cover my ass first (no pun intended): I got this picture from the latest post on YogaDork.

Would this picture make a man want to do yoga? As a guy (who does yoga), I would say: Probably not. I don't know many guys out there who would be attracted to yoga by the sight of some guy in Lotus pose with his hands in God-knows-what mudra. And speaking of his hands: What's he doing with his hands, anyway? Is this a scene from one of those old-school samurai movies where the guy has just plunged a knife into his chest, and the blood is about to, like, spurt out of his mouth? Sorry, morbid thought...

But seriously, I think the whole recent series of posts on YogaDork about whether yoga is dude-friendly enough (and whether we should try to make it more dude or bro-friendly) is, uh, lame. Why? Well, here's my take on the whole thing in concise argument form:

1.      There are men in this world today. (duh!)
2.      Some men do yoga, some men don’t.(duh!)
3.      The men who do yoga today may do yoga tomorrow, or they may not. (duh!)
4.      The men who do not do yoga today may do yoga tomorrow, or they may not. (duh!)
5.      Dude-friendly yoga/Broga (whatever that means) may get some men who do not do yoga today to do yoga tomorrow, but it probably will not get all men who do not do yoga today to do yoga tomorrow.
6.      And that’s totally cool.:-)
7.      Why?
8.      Because just as we do not expect all women to do yoga, we also should not expect all men to do yoga. If we do, we would be setting a double standard, and we would probably be sexist.
9.      Being sexist is bad/no good.
10.  So therefore, it really doesn’t matter if the men who do not do yoga today still do not do yoga tomorrow.
11.  Need I say more? :-)  

I apologize if this post is not very deep/profound, and is a bit ranty (is this even a word?). But it is what it is.

May the Force be with you.


  1. I would like the cover better if blood was spurting out of his mouth.

  2. "Broga" hahahaha, have you patented it yet? Would be a great new 'school' of yoga with tons of marketing potential: Broga mats, Broga shorts, Broga water

    As someone who goes to a shala with more men than women, I think all the buzz around trying to make yoga more dude-friendly is bogus. Just introduce them to Ashtanga!

  3. His lotus pose is prettier than mine... mine still feels pretty uncomfortable.

  4. My comment is going to be even less deep than your post. But I did not interpret that cover as a cover to attract men to yoga. I felt that cover was meant to attract women... to the magazine.

    I.e.... He is a fiiiiiiiiiiine-looking man. :).

    I even forgive the mudra... I think it is a gesture of "look at me, I'm handsome AND my heart is -this- big!"

  5. Hee hee! I loved this: "yes, man does not live on yoga alone" :)

    As a teacher who frequently has as many male students practicing as female students, your post made me laugh! There's a branding opportunity here... I agree with savasanaaddict, "just introduce them to Ashtanga".

  6. @Loo, I agree! But YJ is too PC to ever put anything with blood on its cover.

    @savasanaaddict, I actually came up with the term Broga several years ago, before the term "bro" even became popular! But it was for a different purpose. One of my first yoga teachers in grad school was this guy named Bruno (Christine, you might know him, he used to teach at Sanctuary too). A few of us who were his regular students jokingly referred to his "style" of yoga as Broga.

    Unfortunately, in the present context, Broga has already been appropriated by YogaDork. I saw them using the term in one of their previous posts.

  7. @Yyogini, hmm... let me just say this: There are lots of people who can look pretty in a pose yet not be very uncomfortable in it. I'll say no more; again, I'm venturing dangerously close to talking-shit-about-others territory.

    @Stephanie, yes, you might very well be right. It has not occurred to me that this cover's purpose might be to attract women, not men. I loved what you said: 'I think it is a gesture of "look at me, I'm handsome AND my heart is -this- big!"' :-)

    @Christine, glad you like that line :-) Yes, I think many dudes/bros will totally dig ashtanga. It's a bit unfortunate that for whatever reason, Ashtanga's popularity seems to have waned in recent years.

  8. @Yyogini, I meant to say: "There are lots of people who can look pretty in a pose yet be very uncomfortable in it." But you probably figured this out already.

  9. @Everybody who has posted thus far, if YJ continues to put males on its cover, I might seriously reconsider my general no-posting-asana-pictures-of-myself policy (my girlfriend and a couple of other people have advised me against this, because of professional concerns): I might take pictures of myself in every asana I can do, send it to YJ, and see if they'll pay me to put me on their cover :-) I wonder how much they pay cover models?

  10. If they are anything like the fashion industry, probably not a lot and the models just do it to raise their profile.

  11. Did you look INSIDE the magazine?? I was going to post about it, they are having a model contest! You send in a photo of you in your pose and maybe you get to be on the cover, so put your money where you're mouth is Nobel! let's see you rock a pose or two! hahaha

    I wanted to send in the one of me and my dog in savasana but then I figured they wouldn't find it so charming.

    Are we all getting free copies of YJ? I get them because of my manduka mat.

  12. in my opinion this photo of YJ would not appeal to straight men and entice them to do yoga. it appeals to women and gay men. i questioned the mudra also. but i like the picture and his happy buddha-like expression. i think the website showing dudes doing yoga will do more to entice men to practice yoga. there is a picture there today of a somewhat chubby dude on the beach doing sun salutation against the sunrise that is pure art and really inspirational. i may reblog it.

  13. @V, thanks for the info :-)

    @Loo, hmm... a model contest? Well, I need to get over my brittle ego first. Since I rarely photograph myself in yoga postures, I tend to think that I look perfect in every posture. Which means that seeing myself on film may be quite a shock!

    I wonder what their reward is for being on the cover of YJ, besides the obvious honor of being on the cover of YJ and attaining instant yoga stardom? Or do they think that attaining instant yoga stardom is reward enough in and of itself? :-)

    Maybe you should send in a picture of you and your dog both doing downward facing dog at the same time :-)

    No, I don't have free copies of YJ. I don't have a Manduka.

  14. @Arturo, interesting thought. I haven't thought about the possibility of the picture appealing to gay men as well as to women.