yoga mat

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:


DIY Yoga Mat Bag, Mat Spray & Post-Yoga Coverup

We yogis (yes, you too) tend to be quite eco-conscious. It's something about the whole yoga-is-connection thing. Makes us want to do good in the world. Or at least, make ethical choices (which can still be stylish) & do as little harm as possible.

To help you with your rather admirable eco goals, here are three great DIY's - you can use fabric you already have, or source ethically made fabric and the mat cleaner is chemical free. Win! 

DIY Yoga Mat Bag:

Free People DIY Yoga Mat Bag

Free People DIY Yoga Mat Bag

Keep you bag nicely protected on the tram/train and when it's lurking under your desk waiting to be used. This is a really simple tutorial with step-by-step photos  - find the whole thing here.

DIY Yoga Mat Spray:

Fitnessista DIY Yoga Mat Spray

Fitnessista DIY Yoga Mat Spray

Nobody wants a stinky yoga mat. Or a germy one. Keep yours nice & fresh (and free of nasty chemical cleaners) with this easy-peasy mat spray tutorial from the Fitnessista.

DIY Post-Yoga Top:

Peppermint Magazine box-cut tee. Perfect for after yoga. Also perfect for restorative or yin yoga.

Peppermint Magazine box-cut tee. Perfect for after yoga. Also perfect for restorative or yin yoga.

Such a great tee, and so easy to make. This is just perfect for a bit of warmth and modesty on the way to and from yoga, and it'd be great to stop you from getting too cold during a restorative or yin yoga session too. It's from Peppermint Magazine and you can even download and print the pattern! See it at their Sewing School.

If you are the DIY type, check out our MAKE board on Pinterest. Also, do you really need a yoga mat

 

Do you need a yoga mat to do yoga on?

The short answer is 'no'. A towel will do just fine, or, if you are ok with being on the floor, the floor is fine too. At least to start with.

Nobody needs to be buying fancy sporting equipment until they've decided they are really into the activity, right?

I can't think of anything sadder than a yoga mat joining the elliptical glider that's now used as a drying rack, in the junk room. Or worse, the garage.

But if you DO decide you are into yoga, and you want a mat to practice on, or as a barrier between you and the daggy carpet at work, here a are a few suggestions:

My favourite all-time mat is the lululemon Un-Mat. It, and its bigger cousin The Mat, have the best grip of any mats I've ever used. I've been using my un-mat since January 2010, and although it's a bit marked, the surface is still completely intact. As someone who shredded a Jade Mat to unusability within two years, this is a BIG selling point for me. The Un-Mat has the advantage of being very thin and light so you can easily carry it around with you or even leave it at work.

If you want more choice, the good people over at Design*Sponge put together a whole selection of yoga mats. I actually had no idea there was so much choice. See, down there, number 8? It's the Mat again. And number 6 is a yoga towel from Target, which is both easy on the wallet and easy to transport. Not sure if the Australian stores carry it, but it's worth a look. Pop over & see the rest of their picks here.

Also from D*S, once you HAVE the mat, you could indulge in a little DIY and sew yourself a yoga mat bag, or get someone to sew it for you, of course.

Enjoy x