Texas is not the place you would expect to find a man talking openly about his yoga practice. But lately, there has been an influx of nontraditional yoga practices emerging around the country to meet the needs of historically traditional yogaphobes. Broga for example, is a yoga practice targeted at men, whom comprise less than 1/3 of yoga’s practitioners. Often put off from traditional, spiritually based yoga practices, the Broga spinoff made an enthusiastic entrance into the Hollywood scene last year, and has since gained a heavy male following in areas as conservative as Texas.
“For most men, the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word ‘yoga’ is an impossibly flexible young woman with her limbs twisted into knots, balancing on one foot. And men could not see themselves doing that,” says longtime Dallas yogi Tony Stewart, an energy consultant and former corporate attorney, in an article appearing this month in the Dallas News.
Unorthodox yoga practices like Broga signify a shift in the diversification of traditional yoga to meet the needs of targeted groups. In other words, the diversification of yoga is evolving to become more accessible for groups who may not traditionally access it for various reasons.
“We’ve noticed that in spaces where the conventional yoga culture is not as pervasive, people have less preconceived notions about what yoga ‘should be’ and as a result are very open to a yoga practice that makes it easier for them to actually practice.” Says Susi Rajah, a former creative director and founder of a premium online yoga company, Dirty Yoga Co.
A former volleyball player who left the sport to go on and conquer a prestigious international advertising career, Rajah felt her physical fitness dwindling as she balanced her demanding, always-on job. Working through lunch hours, late nights, and even weekends, she had little time to get in the quality workouts that she wanted through the traditional gym route, which required time she didn’t have. It wasn’t until after she felt her body hit rock bottom that she decided to pursue an entrepreneurial endeavor that would empower other athletic, career go-getters with an elite fitness tool to enhance their busy lifestyles.
Enter the Dirty Yoga Co., a Brooklyn-based, online yoga company targeted at untraditional yogis who need yoga the most — athletes, entrepreneurs, and the urban go-getters who are both athletes and business tycoons with lots to do and little time to do it.
Dirty Yoga is yoga without the Oms. Yoga without the expensive overhead. Yoga without the commute. This is yoga for athletes, the formerly athletic and the athletic minded, on demand, whenever they need it, at the level they choose, for the amount of time they choose. Unlike other online yoga courses where users often don’t know the quality of the workout until after they’ve gone through the video, Dirty Yoga is taught by one of the nation’s top yoga instructors and can be used as a complete yoga program, or as a tool to enhance targeted areas of the body. It’s also a brand of yoga known for replacing the spiritual aspect of yoga with a sense of sharp wit and humor.
“We aren’t for everybody.” says Rajah, “We started Dirty Yoga because we saw many people had too many personal and professional responsibilities to be able to prioritize yoga in (the traditional) way.”
Rajah is referring to traditional 90-minute yoga classes, which often come clad in timely commutes, on the studio’s schedule, with instructors whose level of experience and expertise fluctuate greatly.
As a yoga company aimed at meeting the needs of the world’s most driven and focused individuals who don’t have time to fully adopt the yoga lifestyle, frequent yoga classes, or need something supplemental between studio sessions, Dirty Yoga seeks to bypass these pain points and provide its users with a sense of lifestyle agency, while also providing access to top-notch, quality yoga sessions.
Dirty Yoga’s premium workouts are designed and produced by Rajah and former Crunch Fitness National Yoga Director, Jess Gronholm. Gronholm built his career through groundbreaking innovative yoga workouts — which have been implemented at over 32 gyms across the country.
Gronholm utilized his background as a director within a gym setting, as well as his traditional yoga teacher trainings, to give way to the Dirty Yoga program. Interjecting an athlete’s perspective into workouts that target certain objectives (including deep stretching, stamina, balance, weights, abs, glutes and high intensity), Gronholm and Rajah’s style has made Dirty Yoga a multidimensional, one-stop fitness shop, comprised of over 17 kinds of different yoga classes, with all new workouts each week. The best part is that workouts vary in length (from 5-60 minutes) as well as focus areas, so users can choose if they want a quick warm up (upper), cool down (downer), high intensity (dirty ‘HIIT’), or a wide range of other, full body workouts.
For athletes, it presents the ability to get multiple targeted stretching and strength training workouts in each week, preventing injury, as well as wear and tear on the body.
“As with all exercise, 30 minutes of yoga, three times a week is better for you than 90 minutes, once a week.’ Rajah says. “The message that should be out there is that we should all be doing yoga whenever we can, in any way we can.”
In sum, if you’re looking to elevate your athletic performance, get Dirty anywhere and often.