I am a back country snowboard guide, wildlife worker, medicinal herbalist, occasional restorative yoga teacher and PhD student. I embrace the notion that yoga is union, union with all life! Yoga is surfing on sunset, yoga is snowboarding deep powder, yoga is wildcrafting your own medicine, yoga is deep ecology, yoga is a one pointed mind, yoga is stillness, yoga is movement. My PhD research explores New Zealand men’s experiences with yoga. I have had a fascination with yoga since the mid 1990’s, after attending a gold coin donation yoga class in Collingwood in Golden Bay. The teacher with his long dreadlocks and beard flowed through a series of poses with an ease and grace that inspired! My partner and I have been ‘doing’ yoga, traveling to ‘do’ yoga for over twenty years now, India, Bali, the US, Canada… The West Coast of the South Island! I am fascinated by the different ways yoga is embodied and performed, the fluid nature of modern yoga, the meaningful ways yoga contributes to peoples lives.
Title (Session 1) - Yoga Experience: A New Zealand Males Perspective
This session shares findings from my University of Otago PhD, Yoga Experience: A New Zealand Males perspective. Intrigued by the growing number of men doing yoga (Gorell, 2016) and also by significant gaps in the academic literature relating to men’s yoga experiences this PhD aims to shed light on malleable nature of modern yoga and the diversity of yoga experiences. The PhD adopts an interpretive narrative framework using narrative inquiry, autoethnography, creative writing and life history methodologies to make sense of the modern yoga experience. I will share life histories from a range of New Zealand male yoga teachers, highlighting modern yoga as a form of deep ecology, yoga as a form of neo liberal resistance, yoga as a form of mindfulness, yoga as a form of active ageing, yoga as a path of personal transformation and healing. Join me as I share some of the inner and outer journeys of New Zealand men that practice ‘yoga’.
- Gain insights into a range of different ways modern yoga is performed and embodied by New Zealand men.
- Yoga as a form of deep ecology (case studies from two Golden Bay yoga teachers).
- Yoga as a form of Eudaimonia, becoming the best person you can be.
- Yoga as a way of challenging rural constructs of masculinity in rural New Zealand.