BOYS OF YOGA is a global project created in 2015 by Michael James Wong, a London-based, Los Angeles native yogi and photographer. The aim? To smash the stereotypes and misconceptions of guys who yoga. Michael shares his story, and his advice for men curious about getting their downward dog on.
I started yoga pretty early on, considerably. I was about 20 years old (this was almost 15 years ago). At the time, I was living in Santa Monica, California. I was at university, and I had a few friends who did yoga, but I wasn’t that common in the circles I hung out in – and if asked, I was beyond reluctant to go.
I grew up playing sports. Soccer was my main thing and as I got older I transitioned to the gym, because that’s what you do when you’re that age, and a guy. As for yoga, I was the typical ‘it’s not for me’ kind of guy.
Whether by luck, fate or force, I was dragged into a yoga class by some friends. I went almost as a dare, or to prove that it was easy and a waste of time for me. Little did I know as I walked into that that first practice, it would smack me upside the head harder than anything I’d done before physically in sport.
It turned my world upside down. From that first practice I was hooked, so much so that I went back that afternoon for a second practice by myself.
In those initial days I was hooked on the physical practice – what it did for my body, how it made me feel, how it energised my everyday life. It was something like I had never experienced before.
Slowly, over time it became more than that. Yoga gave me the space I didn’t know I wanted, the perspective I didn’t know I needed, and the calm and ease in both my body and mind.