Peace, elegance and grace meet strength, power and control in these portraits of male yoga practitioners. Last year, when Los Angeles-based photographer Amy Goalen started practicing power yoga, she also started photographing her male yoga teacher. It soon became a larger project, and as more male yogis volunteered to hold their poses for the camera, Goalen realized how rarely yoga photography features men. “The current mainstream view of yoga is that it's for women,” she writes. “The majority of magazines and advertisements for the yoga industry feature women in beautiful, elegant poses.”
To show the mindful beauty of male-practised yoga, Goalen is creating a book titled Inside the Warrior – The Masculine Side of Yoga with writer Julian DeVoe. “One of the reasons we practice yoga is to embrace our present moment and to practice patience and self acceptance,” she reminds us. “Getting to interview and photograph as many different men as possible will allow us to create a book that will speak to all men.”
Framing each yogic pose as a heroic stance, Goalen shoots from floor-level. Her photography technique, she says, has strengthened with her own personal yoga practice.
We got in contact with Amy and asked her a few questions. Read our interview with her, below.
What inspired you to start photographing men practicing yoga?
After photographing several yogis, I was looking at tons of yoga photography to find out what's been done, who's been doing it, and trying to see if there's something that hasn't been done yet. What started to become really obvious after a while was that most professional yoga photography was of women doing yoga. The magazines, the ads, the clothes…most of these things are geared towards women. So I decided to focus on yoga men.
Over the past year and a half I've gotten very involved in the yoga men community – the Yoga for Men FB page and group is over 100,000 members strong and many of them have offered a lot of perspective on what it feels like to begin and sustain a yoga practice even though many people still think “yoga is for chicks and hippies.”