No. 8 Greg Cawley - Yoga for Blokes
The Mortal Yogi Podcast: Episode No. 8 with Greg Cawley - Yoga for Blokes
This episode I meet Aussie men's yoga pioneer Greg Cawley who has transformed from high achieving businessman to getting stretchy and bendy. Greg is passionate about getting men involved in Yoga, something I also feel strongly about.
Why don't men come and what do we have to do in yoga to get their beery bums on mats? Come join us.
Greg Cawley Yoga
Greg on social media: @brikmanyoga
3 VALUE BOMBS
Yoga helped save Greg from something that’s a lot worse.
Yoga gives guys a physical activity and an opportunity to quiet themselves.
Greg’s creating a community for guys so they feel really comfortable going to a Yoga class. A class where they can do some physical exercise, have quiet mindfulness, and also connect with other guys.
[2.09] – Dhugal explains that he invited Greg to his Podcast to talk about ‘men in Yoga’ and ‘Yoga for men,’ which is a chunky topic to take a big bite out of.
[2.31] – Greg shares his story.
Born in New Zealand in the 60s.
He had a normal upbringing where he played a lot of sports, including soccer/football right through into his 30s.
He moved around a lot within New Zealand because of his dad’s job as a Public Servant.
He was fast and athletic as a teenager and even played competitive soccer. He slowed down a bit when he discovered females and alcohol.
His football team had a strong competitive culture of “win at all costs.” They were very successful but this [culture] created a very aggressive dynamic within the team.
It wasn’t until 15 years later that Greg realized that this ‘aggressive’ way of operating affected him.
He operated in the same manner in his professional life, which was counterproductive.
He worked as a Chartered Accountant in New Zealand then moved to the U.K. in London, England.
He also lived in Australia for a couple of years.
In his 30s, he and his then-wife moved back home to New Zealand and bought a manufacturing business that he knew nothing about.
He lived in Tauranga, New Zealand for around 24 years and ran different manufacturing businesses. He made decent money and also became a father to two children, a son and a daughter.
Between 2009 and 2010, the GFC happened. By this point in Greg’s life, his business had 32 staff and was stretched to the max. His marriage was also in the rocks. At 49 years old at the time, he was two months from a breakdown.,
His friend recommended a Business Development/Leadership course in Nepal. Greg didn’t think it was appropriate for him to go, given his financial and personal states at the time. But his friend kept calling every day and insisting that he should do it.
Through the generosity of Secondbase.org, a huge discount for the leadership course was offered to Greg.
Yoga was part of the course. When Greg went back home, he decided that Yoga was something he wanted to keep doing. A fellow course attendee recommended Bikram Yoga, which appealed to Greg’s competitive side.
He did Bikram Yoga three times a week for three years.
Yoga gave him fuel for the next day. It was his quiet time for one hour a day. It helped him survive his whole ordeal.
Greg was still drinking too much though, and not really looking after himself. But Yoga was the one thing that gave him fuel to keep going.
Greg eventually sold one of his businesses and left his marriage behind.
A year and a half later, he had enough of his business altogether.
He now lives in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia with his partner Michelle.
[12.37] - Dhugal asks Greg what is the difference between Yoga and professional sports like soccer or football.
Greg explains that when you’re coming out of a game, your adrenaline is high.
When you’re coming out of a Bikram (session), you’re depleted. But you’re also kind of calm.
For Greg, Bikram’s a competitive form of Yoga--you’re competing with yourself.
Greg mentions a list of different sports teams that actually practice Yoga.
Dhugal agrees and says that there’s at least one Yoga teacher for these sports teams.
Greg says that Yoga gives you balance.
[15.47] - Greg’s passionate about bringing Yoga to guys. Guys tend to go down the competitive path, a generalisation shared by Greg.
[16.00] - For Greg, Yoga exposes a different path you can take, if not, have better results.
[17.00] - Greg’s partner, Michelle, was the one who told him that he would be a really good Yoga teacher. Greg couldn’t see it at first, especially since he was built like a truck. He did a Zenthai Shiatsu Bodywork course for 9 months and he was able to break down some of the barriers he had.
[18.13] - While lying down like a ‘brick’ during the Bodywork course, Greg came up with the name ‘BrikMan’ for his Yoga school/Yoga business, as a play on the word Bikram Yoga.
[18.47] - Meditation helped Greg attain clarity that this was the path that he had to go on.
[21.19] - Amy McDonald, Dhugal’s guest in Episode 4, helped Greg grow his Yoga business.
[21.48] - Dhugal asks Greg if he only teaches Yoga to men.
Three times a weeka week, Greg’s BrikMan Yoga classes are for men only, with a mixed Yin class on Sundays.
His passion is teaching Yoga to men, especially football teams (players) and young school athletes.
Greg shares that these athletes usually walk into his Yoga class with smirks on their faces but after each class, they exclaim, “Jeez, that was hard!”
[23.52] - Dhugal asks Greg, “Why Yoga and men? Why is it the centerpiece of your business?”
Greg admits that it’s a hard gig and that he has to keep on promoting [his business] and finding niches.
But the big reason for the ‘why’ is because of Greg’s personal experiences--Yoga helped save him from something that’s a lot worse.
Yoga wasn’t even part of his horizon before. But it has changed the course of his future.
[27.02] - Greg says that guys don’t naturally talk to others about certain things (i.e. problems). Yoga gives them a physical activity and an opportunity to quiet themselves.
[28.14] - Greg’s creating a community for guys so they feel really comfortable going to a Yoga class. A class where they can do some physical exercise, have quiet mindfulness, and also connect with other guys.
[52.54] - He loves introducing [a Yoga move] that’s outside their [his students] paradigm. It gets them out of their comfort zone.
[54.22] - For Greg, Yoga is a very freeing practice. He’s also stronger now than he has ever been.