I can't begin to express how rewarding I'm finding it, talking to these amazingly smart yoga dudes. I really think the world would evolve into a better place if we could get more men to practice yoga and meditation. And to talk about their emotions. To have the courage to cry in front of another human being.
I'm super-happy to introduce you to Javier, whom I've had the great pleasure of following throughout his yoga journey. When you see him practice, it's hard to believe it's only been 4 years. And when you hear him speak, you kind of wish he was planning to teach ...
Javier Logares, 40
Lives in Berlin but hails from Oviedo, Asturias, Spain
When and how did you start practicing yoga?
I started practicing yoga when I started coming to yellow yoga, a little more than four years ago, in January 2014. I had started flirted with it via some videos online, like one of a man doing stretches before going to bed. And I had spent a long time sitting in the studio, and just that little thing made me feel good. For example, straight away I was sleeping better, not much but still. And then Polly (Javier’s girlfriend) went away for a long travel, but before that she bought me a pack of classes at yellow yoga. So I went once, and then I went crazy.
And at that time, and during the first three years, I was able to go a lot, because I was only doing office/studio work in the daytime.
I still do it, but I find it much harder now that I have a physical work.
So you have already mentioned sleeping better, but what other benefits you have enjoyed?
Yeah, and that was just from stretching a little bit! But in general yoga became this thing that kept the balance between everything, in my life anyway. This sounds very serious, but working in the studio, playing in clubs, I didn’t have a very healthy life, but with the practice I saw how I could have a central bit with some actual health. And I felt more balanced in general, I was being able to think and see things a bit clearer. I don’t know how much of that is due to some sort of placebo effect. It’s implicit. You walk into a gym and you start competing with the person next to you. And then you walk into a yoga studio, where people are nice, and it’s already in the air in a way.
I guess it doesn’t matter if it’s the placebo effect or not, as long as it works.
Absolutely. But anyway, the placebo effect is just a tiny little bit of everything. Physically I found out that I was able to feel so much better than I had, almost my whole life. One kind of gets used to living with those little pains and aches all the time. But definitely I felt life in general more balanced.
I don’t know. I used to really like Reverse Warrior. Right now … hm … because in the last three months I have been practicing less. I have been struggling to keep up with the practice, but now I’m getting back into it again, I think that’s why I don’t have a current favourite ...
What about least favorite?
Shoulder stand. I hate it less now, because I have more strength and I can handle it better. But I still hate it.
Me too. But for other reasons. I never teach it, as you might now.
Yeah, I’ve noticed that.
What are some of your struggles related to the practice of yoga?
When I practice yoga a lot I smoke less. Cigarettes don’t even taste good. But if I've smoked a lot, I really feel it in class ...
And then there’s another thing that I struggle with a lot. I don’t know if this is something everyone deals with, or just men, but I struggle with competing. I don’t really compete with anyone in particular but there’s this thing, I want to be brilliant. I want to get over that, but it’s like a ghost that’s always there, in different formats. When I do get that out of the way I have a lot of fun in class.
I have been on stage a lot, performing as a DJ, playing in bands, but when practicing, I love to be in that more passive position. And being told what to do. I think that’s why I would never become a teacher, in this area of my life, because in yoga I love not being on stage, instead being at the back.
Why do you think so few men practice yoga?
It’s very clear to me. It's due to the (assigned) roles and the system we live in. The attitudes we grow up with, in school and so on. There are things that are for men and things that are for women. I want to believe that things are different now.
For example, when I went to school, boys had a thousand square meters to play football and compete, while girls were walking around the school yard talking about their things. You know, they are already interacting in a different way by talking more. And men are already competing. These roles. What’s meant for men, what’s for women. Certain comments I got from male friends (about yoga) were absolutely disappointing. Like; Do you want to wear leggings now?
I do actually.
I think this is what it boils down to. Men go to the gym and they compete. Openly. There’s no attitude of no, I don’t want to compete, they go two together and very openly compete about how many kilos they can lift, and that competing validates what they are doing, I think.