A Chat about 'Men Who Yoga' with Jace on Koh Phangan

8 Oct 2017

Phanganist’s friend Jace came to Phangan four years ago to expand himself in the diving industry and of course to live on a beautiful island.

“I never thought that I would stick around so long but as fate had it, I fell in love with the diversity and balance that makes Koh Phangan so special”.

We have covered a lot of women who practice yoga and although the stereotypes do not so much exist on Phangan concerning yoga being a ‘girls thing’ we thought it would be nice to address it from a male's perspective just in case any of you blokey boys are interested or need that extra last bit of inspiration.

So we thought Jace was a great person to ask!

Hi Jace, so when did you begin yoga and why?
I began yoga when I was around 12 years old with my mom. It was a way for us to connect and relax together. I enjoyed the breath work and physical activity immediately.

Yoga used to be a 'girls game' was this the case when you started?
Yoga has a mysterious history with the respect to its beginnings, some say it is almost 5000 years old. Woman have only been practicing yoga since around the 1920s or 1930s, with Indra Devi leading the charge. But before this it was completely male dominated.

But in today’s day and age it is definitely female dominated, but by no means is it a ‘woman’s game’ but a lifestyle that can be adopted by all that are willing.

Why do you think this is?
Yoga means union in Sanskrit and for me is a tool that unifies body, mind, emotion and spirit. But also implies a strong union of oneness with the divine. In plain, it connects you to yourself and the world while acknowledging that there is a piece of god that resides in all of us.

What benefits do you feel as a man from yoga?
The benefits from yoga include all round physical health, improved stamina, concentration, empathy, patience and it’s a great stress reliever. The list goes on forever, but my personal favorite is the harmony it creates within the practitioner and that harmony and peacefulness starts rippling out into everyday life. I always like to teach that yoga doesn't stop when we leave the mat, but it's something we take with us every where and all the time.

Is it a good way to pick up chicks?
I’ve never used it as a pick up tool... On a personal level, it’s a sacred journey that is so much more profound than the everyday physical experience but it’s definitely is a very social activity where like minded people can create meaningful connections. Absolutely!!

Do you feel a good male yogi community on Phangan?
There is a decent amount of male yogis on the island. All with completely unique reasons for being here…

What would be your words of encouragement for other males to do yoga?
Forget about the definitions, male, female, possible or impossible, can and can't... You are defined by the very restrictions that YOU put on yourself.

You are born into this life to explore the formless through form. Stay true to yourself, honor your temple and stay persistent, great things await you.

Do you ever feel stigma for being a man doing yoga?
I don’t really feel the stigma for yoga anymore but it’s something that I have worked on for some time. It does exist, especially among men but when you see the benefits of your practice, you stop giving a shit and then it stops being present in your world.

What do you enjoy about being on Phangan and practicing yoga?
I love practicing on Koh Phangan, because of the opportunities you can have to expand your yourself. I do most of my practice at Anahata yoga shala in Srithanu under the guidance of two incredible instructors Anton and Vanessa. I also love the natural beauty of the island, you can literally do yoga anywhere!!

What else do you do here on the island?
I am a yoga instructor, dive instructor, freediver and fire dancer. Variety is the spice of life right! I also love to dance especially to psychedelic sound.

And leave us with your Yogic Philosophy...
Show love, compassion and gratitude each day to yourself.

Projecting peace, happiness and joy everywhere you go. Everything in moderation, including moderation...

You are sometimes a teacher but ALWAYS a student.

Accept duality, light and shadow... Surrender and trust.

You are in exactly the right place at exactly the right time. Namaste

Thank you Jace. If you are interested in trying out a yoga class or two before you commit to a course, whether male or female then get in touch and we can help.