Think Yoga is just for girls?


Think again.  New research from Roy Morgan Research reveals that the fastest growing group of yogis is men aged 25-34, with one in ten now hitting the mat on a regular basis.

This will come as little surprise to anyone practicing at BodyMindLife – where you can always find a healthy mix of genders in any class.

But men aren’t just practicing; they’re teaching….& they’re are doing a mighty fine job!

BodyMindLife’s line-up of male teaching talent are regular crowd-pullers, their stronger, athletic-style classes attracting both men and women alike.

The rising popularity of teachers such as Ari Levanael, Christian Ralston, David Coulibaly and Eric Yatar  has led to the launch of a new program at the Potts Point studio – ‘Saturday Afternoons with The Boys of BodyMindLife’ 

Each week, until 27th May a  different member of the BodyMindLife teaching crew will take centre-stage to warm up the weekend.

We caught up with ‘BodyMindLife Boy’ Ari Levanael to discover, just what’s in store on Saturday Afternoons.


What’s the story behind the Boys of BodyMindLife?

The boys of BML was created to showcase some of the great male teachers that BML has to offer, and also to encourage more men into the practice!

As male teachers I think we can relate to a lot of guys that come into the room that don’t necessarily come from a background of flexibility based movement.


Have you noticed more men attending Yoga in recent years/months?  Why do you think this is?

Absolutely! I think men are starting to realise that yoga is not just about touching your toes. Men are discovering that the benefits of Yoga are not only based on physicality and flexibility. Yoga is about calming the breath and therefore the mind, and alot of people are now looking for a more well rounded approach to wellbeing.

There are so many more great ways to strengthen the body than by just lifting weights, so perhaps bringing various physical and mental disciplines like Yoga into an exercise routine is more appealing these days for a more wholistic approach to health.


What do most men find surprising when they do a Yoga class?

I think men are surprised by how difficult a class can be and the upper body strength and focus that is required in a Yoga class. Learning to breathe in a way that calms the mind and eases the body through a sequence of postures is both challenging and exhilarating.

I also think men are surprised to see a lot of other guys in the studio, and see a guy like me teaching the class as someone that perhaps they can relate to.


How can Yoga benefit men?

As well as all the amazing health benefits that everyone receives, I think Yoga can help men open up the areas of body that generally men feel tightest in. With me for example, not necessarily being of slight build, I find that it helps me open my shoulders and spine and this is something Im still working with.  Also, a lot of guys have very tight hamstrings and hips, so Yoga, through patience and persistence, really helps with opening those areas.

When we start to unlock the body, we also start to unlock the mind, finding space in both to then be able to move through life with a quality of ease. Every time we step on the mat, we release whatever has come before that moment, and be a more engaged version of ourselves.


What can people expect in your classes?

My regular students at BML know that I teach quite strong classes also with an undercurrent of fun! I tend to teach a lot of interesting arm balances and definitely give students plenty of opportunity to go upside down! I teach a slow flow in a calm and comforting manner but certainly get people sweating and exploring their edge.

I like to weave elements of my own personal experience and knowledge through the practice and always bring it back to the breath and my personal mantra “no force, no strain”.

Ari is leading The Boys of BodyMindLife this Saturday, 6th May.  Check the timetable for the full line-up  


Christian Ralston Christian first yoga class was underwhelming. It involved a teacher in baggy pants asking him to do strange, impossible things with his body. He put the experience on the shelf and left it there until… VIEW PROFILE
David Coulibaly Vinyasa / Hatha / Budokon Yoga Teacher

Growing up in France, David’s athletic background started from a young age; playing high level soccer for many years, training as a mixed martial artist and more recently professional boxing. However, it was here in Australia that David found his passion for yoga, a daily practice that offered him not only a physical challenge, but also integrated spirituality. Having had a meditation practice since the age of 7, David is now able to holistically combine his love of unique movement and mindfulness.

David shares his love of the arts by exploring and delving deeper into the union of his passions through Budokon Yoga (a fusion of Martial Arts and Yoga). Mixed movement builds a new level of skills, strength and body awareness that take athleticism to new heights and invokes the warrior spirit within.

David's classes are dynamic and creative but he also brings a lightness to his teaching which allows you to relax and have FUN.
He is here to share, inspire and push boundaries, leaving you with a deeper message far beyond the security of your yoga mat.

Eric Yatar Eric believes that we all possess a deep and brilliant inner wisdom which we can access by building our strength, stamina and flexibilty. His invigorating flow classes give each student the… VIEW PROFILE