It takes courage to go back to study as an adult, and more courage to talk about the hard parts. Here's an honest account of what it's like to do yoga teacher training.
When I first trained to teach yoga, I wanted to be a yoga teacher so badly it made me feel physically ill. Which sounds like a bad thing but kinda wasn't. You see, until that point, I'd never felt particularly passionate about anything. But when I qualified, I found out things I hadn't expected.
I'm pretty stoked to bring you today's interview with Yoga Dude supreme, Dan Abramson.
Dan is the founder of Brogamats, and has created numerous popular yoga products for men. Most notably, the Burrito Yoga Bag which has been featured in Cosmopolitan, InStyle for Men, TheWeek, Fox News, and is sold with Urban Outfitters' new activewear brand, Without Walls.
I like that a dude is making yoga less chick-centric - so many guys go to yoga class and just feel, well, overwhelmed by all the oestrogen. At least now they can have manly bags eh?
How long have you been practicing? What got you into it? What kept you in it?
I technically started yoga for the first time in New Zealand, when I was studying abroad there in Dunedin 8 years ago. So officially been 8 years - but I really got into it about 5 years ago, when it was offered for free at the ad agency I was working at in San Francisco, and my back was hurting me.
Most awkward moment at a yoga class?
The most awkward moment, was in fact that first yoga class in Dunedin! I walked into an advanced class with no knowledge whatsoever, and of course, I disrupted a class that was already in progress. So I sat down, and the first yoga position that I was asked to do was a headstand, and everyone around me gracefully sat on their heads! I could not do this obviously. And the instructor took pity on me and moved me to a spot against a wall. I just remember kicking and kicking against that wall, awkwardly flailing my legs every which way.
Twists really hits the exact spot where my back hurts. Its the most glorious feeling in the world, stretching my back EXACTLY where it hurts. I think that reason alone is why more people should give yoga a shot.
Why did you start your business?
I started my business because I took the big step from going to free yoga at work, to taking the bus across San Francisco to my first yoga class on my own. And I was carrying my girlfriend's hot pink yoga mat. I realized that I wanted to look more tough while traveling to yoga. And so I joked with my friends that I should make manly yoga products with Medieval weapons and Burritos on them. I made a few prototypes and plopped them on the internet, and got such a huge response of support from community, that I started making more and more products.
As the idea deepened and grew in popularity, a lot of dudes would email and tweet me that they were now going to give yoga a try. I took a lot of satisfaction that I was getting more dudes in the door of yoga class, and so I've continued to evangelize the sport with my unusual yoga products. It feels like I'm saving the world, one burrito bag at a time. :)
Dan's got a Kickstarter running right now to help him fund production on a range of Yoga Joes - army figurines doing yoga. They are AWESOME - checkit: