The Yoga Dude’s Manifesto ~ Chris Kourtinatos
It seems we yoga dudes are constantly being defined by yoginis (the dominant class in American yoga), and by men who don’t do yoga and aren’t sure what to make of us.
Its about time we defined ourselves—so here is one yoga dude’s manifesto:
Yes, I love women with nose piercings and tattoos who are addicted to kombucha and coconut water. But if I’m your teacher, we’re staying in the friend zone.
Of course I Om loudly and my ujjayi breath sounds like a freight train, these are some big lungs I’m carrying around! You want me to turn the volume down then tell me to feel expansive? Now I’m confused.
Yes, there is a place for masculine energy in yoga…and yoga studios. If it’s not welcome in yours, we pick up on it right away—and seldom return. And when I say that, my arms are locked with people of color and women who feel their bodies aren’t perfect enough for your studio. Sure, 20 million people in this country do yoga, but if everyone feels welcome, we can make it 50 million.
Yes, according to the Vatican’s chief exorcist, I am going to hell (if there was one). But then again, so are you!
If we teach yoga, it’s not because we want to pick up on our students (gee, thanks all you lecherous yoga “dudes” out there), or because we’re gay (funny, neither of my two gay brothers are into yoga). Yoga makes us happier people and thus, we want to share it. Of course no worries if you are gay (rock on brother!), but to those lecherous guys picking up on their students—sorry, I can’t call you my yoga bro.
Yes, it hurts my feelings when you show up for class and look disappointed that the teacher is a man, thinking the name Chris meant it was a woman. Don’t worry though, I get over it fast.
When I’m a student, please, please, please, don’t ask me to roll my dhanurasana (bow pose) frontwards and backwards. At least leave a bag of ice on my mat afterwards, OK?
Yes, I’ll smile and nod along as you explain how the new moon/Mercury retrograde/dasha is affecting you this week. Just know that I have no idea what you’re talking about. And while this will get me in trouble with my wife, I still have a hard time seeing how the gravity from planets and stars millions of miles away can overpower free will. (Edit: Hi, Maya here. Let me explain how vedic astrology works… Hi Chris here, I love you baby but get out of my manifesto!)
Okay, I’ll watch Eat, Pray, Love with you, but please understand if I nod off once they get to Bali.
I realize that I’m just a humble second-class citizen to the yoga industry and its big players, but that also means I am free from being targeted by marketing directors trying to sell me crap I don’t need.
Ladies, we often overhear your conversations and gossip from the ladies-only changing room as we wait outside for a chance to change in the bathroom which is often the only changing space we have. (Kudos to those studios with men’s and women’s changing rooms!)
After more than 30 years, my foot still doesn’t wrap around behind my opposite ankle in Garudasana (Eagle pose), and I’m OK with that.
Just because I fill out a bracket for March Madness and follow it with my friends does not mean I’m a less spiritual person. But if Kali wants to wreak havoc on Kentucky’s chances this year, I won’t complain (since I definitely don’t want to piss her off)!
Originally Published in May 2011, slightly updated for 2016. 🙂