Yesterday we sent sweet guy Kevin “Dot Com” Brown to endure grueling, awesome yoga taught by Barbara Purcell (she’s also very nice). The hypothesis: that yoga is manly, if you dispense with the lavender-misting, New Age-spinning hippie aspect. Men! These are the findings:
MCD: What are some problems men have doing yoga that women don’t? What’s easier for men?
Men often have much less range of motion than women. I often say that women naturally bring flexibility to the mat, while men bring their physical strength. The goal is to even out these two components for both sexes in order to enhance the overall practice. Men also have a much higher center of gravity (chest and shoulders) while women have their center of gravity in their pelvic area. So inversions (headstands, handstands, etc.) tend to be easier for dudes. Guys love being one of the few yogis able to stand on their head with ease and confidence in a class where women are doing splits like they’re in the Bolshoi Ballet.
MCD: And what should we focus on developing? Say, core rather than balance? Stronger glutes? We’re still thinking of what moves we’re going to need in bed—or, if it’s our birthday, the sofa while we keep playing X-Box Live.
It all really comes from the core: Balance, power, breath, both grounding and lifting tendencies. In Pilates (a contemporary offshoot of yoga), it’s called the “power center.” The more you can build up the girdle of muscles wrapping from your mid and lower back around to your six pack, the more energy and strength you’ll have in sustaining certain repetitive movements. Add in more open hips, and things can get pretty creative and exciting. As for the sofa approach, try timing those regal Kegel exercises with your X-Box, er… achievement.
MCD: Finding your center is nice, but we want a challenge! What’s the most excruciating yoga workout, and what are its benefits?
There are so many styles of yoga being offered these days–everything from Vinyasa to Bikram to Broga–and each one presents its own challenging aspects. In my opinion, Hatha is the most intense yoga workout. It doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles (no heated room, or quick-paced flow sequence, or aerial partner tricks), but the slower pace tends to create an incredible burn. Holding a Warrior pose for five full breaths, or staying in a deep backbend for the same amount of time creates this unavoidable dependence on breath, mental focus, and strength. By doing away with quick-paced yoga sequencing and funky props, there’s nowhere to run and nowhere to hide!
MCD: You, um…taught Tyra Banks how to suck chi. Can you point us to some better parts than the forehead to tap that hot energy?
Well, you can always try to locate your girl’s ever elusive chi spot! When it comes to tapping into your partner’s energy awareness and presence is key. Listen to her body, how she’s responding to certain touch. Maybe a gentle scalp massage, or just sensuously running your fingers through her hair, will put her in a calm, relaxed, and *open* state. Stroking her arms or gently massaging her lower back could inspire her to feel more sensual and, in turn, invite her to tap into your own chi spot.
MCD: How often do guys actually land a date with their classmates? Or…say, their instructor?
In a place like New York, where single guys far outweigh single women, landing a date with one of the many single chicks sweating and stretching in a packed steamy room shouldn’t be too much of an issue. However, it’s important for guys not to come across as the creepy yoga dude who’s made it his mission to stay in the back of the room, snapping shots with his Iphone while the class collectively lifts their bottoms into air for downward dog. Being respectful of one’s yoga practice is really important, but a subtle introduction after class or a friendly smile before it begins would be the right approach. As for being hot for teacher, just remember that certain boundaries should most likely be maintained. A teacher is there to help guide you through your practice, and even more so in a one-on-one private session…putting our hands on your lumbar is one thing, but personally offering up our mula bandha services in the privacy of your Om is another!
MCD: Have you ever dated a student? Or another instructor?
I haven’t dated a student of another instructor, though I had a serious crush on a fellow I met while on a retreat in Morocco a few years back. I prefer to date investment bankers.
See? We should have been updating our portfolio before our abs. Okay, good talk, team! Now to check with our proxy yogi, Kevin.
Kevin “Dot Com” Brown
MCD: How long have you been doing yoga now? Why did you go with yoga instead of other activities?
I’ve been doing yoga a year and a half. It seemed like the next step since I grew up in Martial Arts, felt like I could use more flexibility.
MCD: Have you gotten anyone else to start doing it?
Yes, a couple of the crew from 30 Rock and some friends.
MCD: Why are guys reluctant to do yoga? Why should they anyway? Besides pointing out it’s a room full of fit, sweating women in tight pants.
There are different types of Yoga. Hot Yoga (Bikram) is what I recommend which has little or nothing to do with meditation. You are very active and conscious as you push your body in ways that you may have never done before.
MCD: Has it brought you any non-physical benefits, like helping you focus before a comedy show?
Yes, it has. I seem to be more patient and more in control of my emotions. Yoga has helped with me binging on junk food, however if I do binge, I know I can sweat it out by taking a couple of extra classes.
MCD: But you do make a point to eat right. What’s a typical meal for you?
I drink a lot of water. Heated Yoga makes you sweat so you have to drink gallons of water to stay hydrated. I stay away from red meat and try not to eat a lot of sweets.
MCD: What’s the sexiest yoga position name? Does it live up to its title?
I am not at the point that I remember names and positions but when I start getting tired, I glance around and see some of the women in class lying around and stretching, and I get inspired.