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Sit Down, Be Quiet: A modern guide to yoga and mindful living


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  • Текст добавлен: 10 января 2019, 04:24

Текст бизнес-книги "Sit Down, Be Quiet: A modern guide to yoga and mindful living"

Автор книги: Michael James

Раздел: Здоровье, Дом и Семья

Текущая страница: 1 (всего у книги 2 страниц)



An imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers

1 London Bridge Street

London SE1 9GF


First published by Thorsons 2018


Text and photography (except where indicated) © Michael James Wong 2018

Cover design by Sim Greenaway © HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd 2018

Cover photograph © Nicola Peters

A catalogue record of this book is available from the British Library

Michael James Wong asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the nonexclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins e-books.

Find out about HarperCollins and the environment at www.harpercollins.co.uk/green

Source ISBN: 9780008249656

Ebook Edition © March 2018 ISBN: 9780008249649

Version 2018-02-01


This book is dedicated to you, your brother,your dad, your boyfriend, your grandpa,your teacher, your mate, your homie, yourBOYS and any guy ready to step into a moremindful way of living.

Now is the time to begin.












What Is Yoga All About?


You’re One Breath Away From Calm


Learning The Basics And How To Get Started


It’s Not A Work Out, It’s A Work In


Kindness Has No Enemies


Redefining Manly


Turn The Volume Down


What Is An Action?


Not Right And Wrong


Get Them Straight


If Not Now, When?






To my son, and all the boys out there.

When you were younger you were a joy to be around. As you got older there were times your mother and I thought otherwise. But it didn’t mean we ever stopped loving you. You were just growing up and figuring out who you wanted to be.

In the years that followed you were eager to learn more: about yourself, your family, your home, your community and how life worked when you had a little more time to experience it. There were good times, and times that didn’t go exactly to plan. And that’s ok, it’s how life is supposed to be.

Parenting in any form is not an easy job and, like life, there is no roadmap. But I think we did alright. Our approach was simple; we encouraged you to have an open mind and a big heart and to understand that the world is a far nicer place when it’s greeted with a hug or a high five. As your parents, we showed you life through the lens of our family, but allowed you the freedom to choose how you wanted to live and who you wanted to become.

We raised you to know that you are always more than enough.

We are from a different generation, and our greatest fear was that you would end up too much like us – outdated, behind the times and with an unwillingness to learn and grow with the ever-changing world.

Always remember to take risks, tell people you love them and say it like you mean it. You’ve only got one shot at this thing called life – make sure you live it to the fullest.

My wish is that this book opens the minds of more men of all ages to take to the mat, to become yogis of the future, for their own good and wellbeing. Since you started yoga, I’ve learned that it’s not a casual pastime and it’s not just something to make you more flexible, or calm your temper; it’s the full package – a lifestyle and a wonderful, fulfilling and healthy way of living.

It’s something I wish I had known more about when I was younger and I’m sure your mother would agree.

I’m extremely inspired by what you do, who you have become and your willingness to always stay true to your intentions. Never compromise on the things that make you happy, just keep smiling and enjoy the ride.

Lots of love


P.S. Don’t forget to call your mum.

(Graham C. Wong, Santa Monica, California)

Yancy Scott Schwartz

About Boys Of Yoga

To most guys yoga is pink Lycra and vegan chicks. It’s breathing deeply while doing poses named after animals and feelings. It’s done in dimly lit rooms with candles and incense, followed by gluten-free cupcakes and kale smoothies. And if that’s your mentality, then you’re not alone.

But it doesn’t mean you’re right. The real practice of yoga is working in, not working out. There is a lot more to it than just making shapes on the mat, and over time the body will get stronger and more flexible, the mind calmer and daily life will feel a little less chaotic. Yoga can give you the physical workout you want, but go deeper and you’ll realise it’s so much more.


Unfortunately, these days the perception is still one-dimensional. Magazine pages and Instagram feeds are flooded with bikini-clad girls on the beach in all kinds of acrobatic poses reminiscent of the circus. Is this yoga? Yes, but it’s not the full picture. Take one step back and widen your perspective and you’ll see there is a whole other breed of yogi out there, the BOYS, inspiring, teaching and living yoga in their communities all around the world.

This is BOYS OF YOGA, the uncelebrated minority. A project aimed at sharing a different side of the yoga community in an authentic and unfiltered way.

What started as a casual conversation about guys being under-represented in the modern yoga community has turned into a movement to challenge the way we view and practise yoga in the Western world today.

The aim is simple: smash the stereotypes of yoga for guys and share the benefits that the practice offers both on and off the mat.

With inspiring stories and experiences shared by male yogis from around the world, this is a movement to change the world for the better. It’s pretty simple: yoga is good for everyone and the benefits are undeniable.

Now is the time to get involved.

Find out more at boysofyoga.com @boysofyoga


Hi, I’m Michael James Wong. Global Yogi, Wellness Warrior and founder of BOYS OF YOGA.

But before all of this, I was just a boy who was born in New Zealand and grew up on the beaches of Santa Monica, California. I was from a place no one had heard of until the Lord of the Rings movies and, growing up as an immigrant, I just wanted to fit in and belong.

In those days most of the other kids thought New Zealand and Madagascar were the same country (remember, this was before wifi and Facebook). On a good day, they assumed New Zealand was part of Australia. Growing up in LA, some kids looked at me as if I was from a distant planet and teased me because I had a ‘resident alien’ card in my wallet that my mom made me carry around to prove I was allowed to live in the US.

At the time, I lacked confidence and identity. I wasn’t American (I didn’t get my citizenship until I was 16) and I didn’t feel Kiwi (I didn’t have the accent and only visited once a year during the holidays). I’m also Chinese-Asian, something that I battled with growing up because it made life more confusing. I had the surname, but no ties to the culture or country other than weekend dinners and select colloquialisms. I was a bit from everywhere, and at the time I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere. As a kid that was tough. But looking back I can see that it made me who I am today, and has allowed me to live the life I have now. And for that I’m forever grateful.

I had a pretty typical childhood in a liberal progressive city … playing sports, being the drummer in a band, becoming a Boy Scout and living life in shorts and a t-shirt. I’m lucky to have an amazing family with supportive parents who have always been there for me, no matter what. My parents moved us to LA early in the 1980s because of work (my dad was the general manager of Canterbury of New Zealand back then) and in those early days when we had just moved to town I didn’t have a lot of friends, so family life was everything.

My dad coached soccer and he never missed a game or school function and to this day is still a pillar in the Santa Monica social and sports community. My mom is the family rock – kind, thoughtful and compassionate. She taught me how to cook, be a gentleman, respect everyone and see the good in people. I don’t think she has ever taken a night off, she really is the best mom in the world (in my humble opinion).

I am the middle child of three. I have an older brother, Andrew; he was the guy you always wanted on your side, not because he was a tough guy (though he frequently reminded me growing up who was in charge), but because he’s loyal, trustworthy, honest and kind. I give a lot of credit to him for me turning out an ok human being. My little sister, Nicole, is the family superstar; straight-A student, artist, creative and Daddy’s little princess. Even to this day she still puts her older brothers to shame and we expect nothing less.

After high school, I went to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) on a music scholarship, but later gave it up and instead graduated with a degree in Sociology and the study of human behaviour. It was clear even back then that I enjoyed immersing myself in the study of real life, rather than notes on a page.

My journey with yoga started around 2005 and it changed my life for ever. Despite growing up in LA, yoga wasn’t part of my vocabulary until my early 20s. When I started, I started reluctantly. A few friends dragged me to that first class and it felt awkward and intimidating. I just wasn’t any good at yoga, and the problem was I thought I was supposed to be. Touching my toes is an ability that comes and goes daily and I’m certain my foot will never reach behind my head, but that’s not really the point. Yoga has always been great to keep me fit and flexible, but the benefits are far greater than just this. Yoga changed, and saved, my life.


Yoga gave me passion and perspective, something I’d never had growing up. I lived in a bubble; parties, late nights, all the glitzy superficiality that comes with growing up in LA. My reality was skewed and my ego over-inflated. I can honestly say I’m not sure how I would have turned out if I hadn’t stumbled into that first class at City Yoga on Fairfax Avenue.

Yoga cleansed me, shaped me and gave me something to be inspired by. The asana (the physical practice) committed me to a daily dose of strength, flexibility and mobility; it gave me a challenge that I couldn’t talk my way out of. These days, this part of the practice reminds me how lucky I am to be able to tie my own shoes, pick up and play with my niece, Koa, and walk away from things that don’t serve my life.

Michael James Wong © Niki Priest

Yoga gave me peace in a way I didn’t even know I needed, the kind that helped me battle my daily insecurities. Even more, yoga helped to calm the chaos in my mind, manage my personal anxiety and perceive the world from a kinder point of view, one day at a time.

Through the practice, I’ve started to slow down. I’m quieter now than I used to be. I enjoy the silence. Beyond anything else, yoga has given me space, something I never knew was lacking in my life. Yoga helped me to find confidence in myself on and off the mat. Those first few years of dedicated practice allowed me to realise that life wasn’t all about being cool.


At the age of 25 I left the US to travel the world and experience a little more of what life had to offer (to the anguish of my mother, I’ve yet to move back home). Since leaving, I’ve split my time between Sydney and London, getting my passport stamped in as many places as possible on the way.

And I’m still going. I’ve been teaching yoga, modern mindfulness and meditation for the past ten years and I am blessed to have an amazing community of yogis, teachers, students and friends all over the world.

Michael James Wong © Niki Priest

I give credit to my parents for my diverse upbringing and the trust and freedom they allowed me to continue exploring the world.

I’m grateful for all the choices I have made to get me to this point in my life. I always thank my parents for showing me the world through their eyes. I’ve been lucky enough to be an immigrant my whole life. I was raised to respect everyone from everywhere, because I was welcomed everywhere. Home has always been where friends and family are, and these days, no matter where I go I’m home.

This is me living my Yoga.

The Beginning

BOYS OF YOGA is a project inspired by the global community that exists and thrives all over the world.

The aim is to share and connect with male yogis around the world to help widen the common perception of the practice, and ultimately make yoga more accessible to the male massive. It’s about starting a new conversation about yoga, and to change the way guys see it today in the Western world.

The goal is simple: smash the stereotype and get more guys on the mat.

Even today, yoga is stigmatised. It is still seen as something for the girls – your sister, your girlfriend, your mum and their friends. It’s easy to see on social media and in Western media that yoga is a feminine pastime. But did you know that yoga was originally just for men?

Regardless of the old ways or the new stereotypes the truth is, yoga is great for everybody and every body. Its benefits are undeniable, and it has no gender, colour, race, age or physical requirement.

Yoga gives you whatever you need. It can make you sweat and challenge your body; it can alleviate pain, tension or tightness; it can calm the mind, ease anxiety and change the way you see the world around you. Yoga isn’t just a thing you do on the mat for an hour a day; it’s a lifestyle, a philosophy and a way to connect to ourselves, to each other and the world we live in.

When I started BOYS OF YOGA, I never thought it would turn into a global movement of this magnitude. It has been an amazing journey and one I’m continually inspired by every single day.


This book, like my teachings, is simply to share my own experiences in a way I believe to be true and to translate the wisdom of the practice I have learned over the years in a way that is easy to digest. I hope this speaks to you, just like the practice did to me when I started yoga. There is nothing in this book that says what is right and wrong. It is merely ideas, considerations and my experiences. All the photos and words are my own and all the stories belong to the BOYS that have joined me in helping to smash the stereotype of yoga that persists in the Western world. From pro-surfers to DJs, stay-at-home fathers to industry executives, graphic designers to plumbers, all the BOYS in this book, and so many more, come from all walks of life and from all around the world. Yoga doesn’t have a type – it just is.

Left to right: Dustin Brown, Michael James Wong, Benny Gould

This is a book with purpose: to get more guys onto the mat through education and communicating the value of yoga. In these pages you’ll find techniques about where to start and how to get going, and keep going.

We all know a guy who needs to start yoga. Or maybe you are that guy. The biggest issue we have with yoga today isn’t the practice, but the word itself. For those just starting out, or those not quite ready to start, know that yoga will benefit your life, you just have to be ready and willing to give it a try. And if you’ve made it this far by picking up this book, you’ve already done the hardest part: you’ve started. Taking the first step is always the toughest part of doing anything new.

My biggest wish is that this book helps get you or your brother, boyfriend, dad, work colleague, sceptic or whoever onto the mat for the first time.

The yoga will do the rest.


Front Row: Johnny Vasilj, Adam Whiting

Back Row: Benny Gould, Anwar Gilbert

What Is Yoga All About?

We live in a world that is always on – online, on loud, on show, on high alert. In today’s society, we’re overloaded with things to do, meetings to be had, calls to be made and coffees to be shared. We thrive on busy schedules, busy lives and just the idea itself of being busy. We talk more than listen. We speed up without ever thinking about slowing down. We’ve become accustomed to thinking that this is how life is meant to be.

But a growing number of us are starting to see that maybe it’s time to turn the volume down and step into something less chaotic.

Over the past decade yoga has become increasingly popular in the Western world. These days it feels like there is a yoga studio popping up on every street corner and pretty soon there will be more of them than Starbucks branches in America alone (we can only hope). Look around and you’ll see that yoga is now in the mainstream, helping lead the wellness revolution, and it’s about time. The world is starting to wake up to the benefits of the practice and a more mindful way of living. But don’t be fooled into thinking that yoga is some new fad. Yoga has been around for thousands of years, and it’ll be around for thousands more to come. Right now, as yoga enjoys its place in the zeitgeist, it’s a great time to pay attention and get started.

It’s hard to miss the conversation because it is everywhere: yoga is mindful movement; it is functional mobility for our bodies; it is calming for our minds; it is everything we want and need it to be. This all might sound too good to be true, or come cloaked in language you find unfamiliar, but getting started is much easier than you might think.

You might not realise it, but you’re probably already doing it.

Scott Schwenk

So You Say I’m Already Doing Yoga?

As children, most of us spent our time playing, running around and getting dirty in the outdoors. We didn’t take life too seriously. We acted the fool and liked to have a good time, no matter the consequences. It’s also likely that when we got angry or frustrated our parents taught us to take a few deep breaths to calm down (usually after being sent to our rooms).

This is yoga. You just might have been calling it by a different name.

Think back to when you were younger. You played football, basketball, hockey, rugby or some other sport. You’d wake up on game day and head to the field ready to play. But when you got there, you didn’t just run on the field and jump straight in. It’s likely you started with a team talk, a moment when you aligned your focus and talked about intentions, such as trying your best and working together. You did a few stretches, nothing too vigorous; just a few minutes to warm up the entire body, become aware of the moment and move simply.

This is yoga. You just might have been calling it by a different name.

Davin Jones


Or when you wake up at home, ready for the day ahead, you don’t just pop up from the mattress and run out the door. It’s likely you take a moment to stretch the arms, move the body gently, roll out the neck a few times and ease yourself into the day.

This is yoga. You just might have been calling it by a different name.

Try to remember a time recently when you’ve been angry or frustrated. It might be when someone cut you off on the road or you didn’t get the job you wanted or your next-door neighbour decided to throw a party on a week night. You may have wanted to scream out a few choice words or throw your middle finger in the air in protest. But you stopped, took a breath, chose to be the bigger person and just let it go.

This is yoga. You just might have been calling it by a different name.

Physically, yoga is a dynamic stretching of the body. Off the mat, it’s not taking life too seriously; it’s slowing down, taking deep breaths, fighting frustration, keeping a level head, calming the mind, easing social tension, living in the moment, strengthening your focus, enhancing your relationships, learning to communicate, dealing with stress, overcoming challenges, living in the now, paying attention to what you’re doing, caring deeply and taking the time to breathe.

If you can relate to any of the above, then you’re already doing yoga. You just might have been calling it by a different name.

What Does Yoga Actually Mean?

Specifically, yoga means ‘union’. It is translated from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit as ‘yuj’, or ‘yoke’, like that which is used to connect an ox to a cart. In Western translation, yoga is a connection: to our bodies, minds and breath; to each other and the world around us.

So to practise yoga is to connect, on all levels. If you’re on the mat, connect with what you’re doing and how you’re breathing: every action and pose. Don’t just ‘do’ the poses. Feel them. Notice the details – push, pull, ground and lift – feel the muscles engage, feel the floor, feel it all. Connect to every bit of the body in action. It’s often said that yoga on the mat is meditation in motion.

If you’re off the mat, connect with the conversation you’re in, put your phone down and pay attention, be mindful in your actions, acknowledge your feelings and emotions, be nice to others, listen like you mean it, stop talking so much and treat everyone you meet with kindness.

This is yoga.

Travis Eliot, Los Angeles

‘Yoga is freedom. Every human being is looking for freedom. Some do it through negative means and others do it through positive means. But we all want to be free. And yoga helps us achieve this.’

Josh Blau, Melbourne

‘Yoga is union. Pure bliss. Happiness. A way to be at peace with everything that is happening around you. Calm in the eye of the storm.’

Ude Okoye, London

‘Yoga is the thing that brings me to the present, into a place of appreciation for that moment. For me, it’s a cure-all. If you haven’t done it, you should try it.’

Victor Chau, Hong Kong

‘Yoga is living, being 100 per cent aware.’

Kyle Gray, Glasgow

‘Yoga is the practice of knowing yourself.’

Eric Ernerstedt, Sweden

‘Yoga is taking responsibility for your happiness.’

Octavio Salvado, Bali

‘Yoga is the greatest way to refine my authenticity and discover who I am. It is the ultimate battleground. It is not a place for the weak of heart; it’s far too confrontational for that.’

Adam Husler, London

‘Yoga is the practice of self-enquiry, through the control of movement and breath. It is an entirely subjective experience.’

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Представленный фрагмент книги размещен по согласованию с распространителем легального контента ООО "ЛитРес" (не более 20% исходного текста). Если вы считаете, что размещение материала нарушает ваши или чьи-либо права, то сообщите нам об этом.


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