Bro-Dudes Can Practice Yoga, Too!
Alright, let’s get off the spiritual high horse for just a minute. Just because they aren’t rallying for the left while drinking kombucha and reading texts published by Shambhala Publications with one eye while checking the Huffington Post with the other (or maybe, come to think of it, they are) it doesn’t mean a bro-dude has to embody the spiritually devoid stereo-type I’m sure plenty of us in “yoga-culture” feed into.
As it turns out just because you’re a bro-dude it doesn’t mean you can’t practice yoga. What do I mean by “bro-dude?” As my friend Eric Leven writes, “A "bro" is your quintessential all American frat boy. You know the guy, (they pretty much all live in Murray Hill and get drinks at Tonic bar/lounge) button-down shirts, works in financial, loves to talk about his frat days and how much he'd drink, get stoned, get laid and listen to heady music (Grateful Dead, Phish, Bob Marley.) These are the characteristics which make up a true bro.” Let me be honest. I’ve often caught myself looking down on these frat-kids and investment bankers from high up on the cushion. Having lived in Boulder, CO for roughly six years I was surrounded by fraternities and snowboarders. I don’t generally think of myself as the type to judge, however, I’m now realizing that my time spent there involved a lot of time learning how to judge.
So I was surprised when I came across an article on the NPR website titled “From Togas to Yoga: Fraternities Try to Alter Image.” Chana Joffe-Walt writes, “Over at George Washington University's Sigma Phi Epsilon chapter, the brothers are on the basement floor, concentrating on their breathing. That's right: The frat boys are doing yoga. They are sweaty, red-faced, earnest and incredibly inflexible. But the downward dog, the talk about manly virtue, it's all almost too much. Where's the fun?”
So they’re practicing. Why, then, ask “Where’s the fun?” Perhaps it’s not the “bro-dudes” creating the image of binge drinking with a touch of elitist snobbery set to the tune of a Jack Johnson song. Rather, maybe the spiritual academic community should soften a little more and take a look at our own spiritual elitism. Svadhyaya , or self study, is something we are taught to practice not so we can judge others but so that in releasing judgments upon ourselves we can in turn do the same for all of those around us.
So come on down, bro-dudes, and bring your sick tunes with you. Let’s practice!