mmyogasuperheroes

Yoga Dudes: Interview with Dan Abramson, Founder of Brogamats

I'm pretty stoked to bring you today's interview with Yoga Dude supreme, Dan Abramson.

Dan Abramson and the Lumberjack yoga bag - brogamats

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.

Fave pose?

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?

Bloke yoga, virabradrasana 2, and the burrito yoga bag.

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:


mmYoga Superheroes: We're not so serious about yoga.

I've never done well with the 'serene' image of yoga. Serene isn't something that comes naturally to me; I do yoga to become more like that. Naturally, I am in equal parts anxious and silly. The happier I am, the sillier I get.

Which is not a bad thing, in my (cough) humble opinion. In same opinion, I think the yoga world has a slight tendency to take itself too seriously.

It's not necessary.

You can be plenty spiritual and still be happy/silly/have fun.

In fact, I'd be suspicious of someone who claims to be spiritual, but lacks a sense of humour. If you've ever seen the Dalai Lama speak (and nobody's going to argue about his spiritual cred) you will know that he's got a great sense of humour.

If you find someone taking themselves too seriously - or trying to get you to - you may need to call on a mmYoga Superhero to save the day...

Captain Sneaky (street name Karen Chow) 

captain sneaky.jpg

Superpowers: Sneakily getting you to work much harder than you expected by being cute and giggly. Helping people feel great again by means of Yoga. Dressing like a hipster & not being mocked for it.

Karen says:

Yoga is about finding balance, right?  So if we're serious 50% of the time, the other 50% should be not so serious. I like to teach that way too. Anatomy and alignment cues, I'm dead serious. All the lame jokes and terrible metaphors I use, not so serious. 

 

Ms. Awesome (street name Suzy Taylor)

Ms awesome.jpg

Superpowers: Reminding people how awesome they already are by means of Science. Helping people be more awesome by means of Yoga. Wearing knee socks and getting away with it.

Suzy says:

Once, I farted while teaching a class. OMG! Embarrassing?  I chose to laugh and say ‘well, sometimes that happens when we twist’, and just carry on with the class. From that moment on, I stopped trying to be such a serious yoga teacher. Yoga is a break from the hard grind of our daily lives; it's not about being rigid, or perfect or doing exactly the same thing as the person on the mat next to you. It’s about stepping out of what you think might be expected of you, and just doing what feels right for you right now (hopefully that won't usually be farting!)

Together they are: mm…Yoga Superheroes: the Retreat Crusaders.

mmyogasuperheroes.jpg

You will have so much fun with them on our Bali Yoga Retreat in November - it's still early bird pricing till Aug 31, and there are still a few rooms left - hop to it!

These two are definitely up to something...

These two are definitely up to something...

 

PS We'd love if you post your #mmyogsuperheroes pics on instagram. Not just Karen and Suzy, but other team members and students - join us? You are a super-hero too!