“Outlaw Yoga”: Class Review #1

[You never know when and how something will be set in motion. Back in June of this year we did a profile on a YouTube video by a man promoting something called "Outlaw Yoga," a quasi-(but not really)-movement which hopes to 

"bring yoga to the people—all people—young and old, short and tall, skinny and fat, veggie loving vegans and carnivorous couch potatoes, hardcore bikers and hard charging cyclists, gals and dudes, fighters and lovers, soldiers and tree huggers! Everyone!"

That's right, jerk-offs. You're all included in the great pantheon of Outlaw Yoga demigods. Of course, we had no idea we would ever get the chance of actually meeting the man behind the mission, and in truth we have yet to do so. BUT! The very great, CHAZ MAGNUM, one of the most adventurous professional yogis saw a chance to get rocked, and jumped head first into the Outlaw Yoga soup. Thank you, Chaz for your bravery and enthusiasm for the practice.]

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“BUCKLE UP FOR THE RIDE OF YOUR LIFE” by Chaz Magnum

The above title is the advice I would give anyone planning on attending an Outlaw Yoga class (trademarked w/optional t-shirts and emblazoned yoga mats) with none other than the man himself…Justin Outlaw.

justin

First, I think it’s important you realize that the video featured in your “This Guy Has Got to Fuck the Universe on the Daily” article is, in many ways, a completely accurate portrayal of the experience.

http://vimeo.com/62663724

In other ways, however, it’s utterly misleading. For instance, if six-pack abs and shirtless instructors are you’re thing, you will be sorely disappointed. Let’s just say that in the intervening time between last night and whenever the promo video was shot, Justin has managed to loose his “amateur cage fighting” physique and has adopted a more “sattvic” beer-belly approach to bad-assness. For real. The dude has got to be 30-40 lbs heavier, and it’s all front loaded, brother.

Man, I so wish you had been there! Other highlights included:

  • Realizing how liberating it was to scream “FUCK!” in a yoga studio
  • Crossing my eyes and sticking out my tongue like some dysfunctional sort of Simba
  • The standard lightly-veiled sexual innuendos regarding how “large” and “thick” Justin’s “mat” is
  • Justin’s knuckle tattoos which spell out santosha (with the second “a” emblazoned in an Ⓐ symbol)
  • The mini-therapy session for the “large” girl who revealed her inner insecurities of talking to strangers and how Justin’s program has helped her conquer these demons
  • The subsequent commentary by a hipster girl decked out in a full florescent leotard/sweat-band (wrist and head) ensemble who let us know that at one point in time she wanted to kill herself, and that choosing not to was an example of fearlessness

Really. The list could go on and on.

As for the class…. I have to admit I was a bit nervous entering the dragon’s lair as I’m just beginning to recover from a freak lower back injury. As it turns out, those bandhas are kind of crucial when it comes to practice. However, the toastiness of the room helped warm things up. That and the fact that during the two hour class there was probably only a solid forty-five minutes of actual asana. I mean, if you take out the opening verbal “share-fest” there really isn’t that much time left for the making of poses. But rest assured, despite Justin’s apparent penchant for the “bud” (see Facebook page)…

kindness

kindness

…he makes up for lost time by essentially running you through an assortment of variations on sun salutations at crack-paced speed with “inspirational” music loud enough to make the young at heart feel old. And then, just when you think it’s about to get as hard as everyone around told you it’s going to be, we take a break to explore handstands, or as I like to refer to it, the King of Ego pose.

In my experience people spend way too much time working on handstands to the neglect of far more fundamental asanas. But hey, I was along for the ride, so I ponied up and went for it. We worked on the handstands in pairs with our partners ensuring that we didn’t come tumbling down to the ground by placing a fist firmly between our legs, being careful to always enter from the butt-side and not the crotch-side. This went on for “a while,” long enough for people to begin standing around and chatting before Justin pulled the reins back in to bring us down the home stretch.

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Unfortunately, the finale lacked the luster of the beginning, ending more with a whimper than a trumpet blast. Although, the final communal clapping of the hands was a nice send off, because, as you may not know, the only rule in Outlaw Yoga is that when one person claps…everyone claps. Apparently, this is done so no one is left clapping by themselves, which I’m not sure why a legit Outlaw would give a shit if s/he were the only one clapping. But, it was yet another highlight of the evening.

Needless to say, it was an entertaining Thursday night. And, with the studio being sauna hot, I got a good sweat on.

In the end, I will say this: I think Justin is a really, really nice guy who is super happy to be doing what he is doing, and is completely and totally sincere when he gives you a bro-hug and says he hopes to see you again soon.

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Maybe you should think about moving, and we can make it a regular part of our week.

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23 comments

  1. The use of the term “front loaded” gets me every time.

  2. Greenpoint

    dragon’s “lair”, not “layer”…nit-picking yes, but I can’t unsee…

  3. Zodiyack

    Group therapy with some music and asana. Seems more representative of a typical class these days than anything outlaw.

  4. Itstrue

    I definitely want to take this class. And the clapping comment was so fucking funny!!! More reviews! More reviews!, more reviews! (Said while pumping fist in the air)

  5. Maha Garuda

    What the hell are we Outlaw Yoga Renegade Raiders supposed to do? I mean we can only show the world so many times the Way, then , like Qui Chang Cain, we must turn the Grasshoppers loose on an unsuspecting public. I guess we can better prepare these white belt yoga ninjas with a weekend teacher training at premium prices, but I must keep my shirt on from here on out. The copycat set is stealing my concept ink of Shiva doing a keg stand.

  6. the moment already came

    Umm, second to last pic of the post: Justin screams words of encouragement to a woman in class laying on her back…texting on her iPhone.

    Well played, Rebels. No laws can bind you.

    • I thought the Outlaw was encouraging someone else to go beyond the max, while totally ignoring/posing for a person snapping a pic of him. Or maybe she was taking a selfie. Someone better check instagram.

  7. Thaddeus

    It’s official…I hereby award Justin Outlaw the first (and hopefully last) “Bob Marley Yoga Lifetime Achievement Award.” Blaze on outlaws! “Me belly fully…”

  8. John Friend has left the building … and along came Justin Outlaw to fill his shoes …
    Thanks for this review …

    Wonder what his mentor, Michelle Marchildon, must think of this development …

    [Uh... so NOT my bag ... no, even good old Sadie Nardini seems to have more class...]

    • The P

      Actually John Friend has not left building (maybe for a short pee break). He was in Brooklyn just this past weekend – Google it. He’s been one busy beaver if you check his world tour schedule, quietly rebuilding. Yoga people have short memories, fairly fluid ethical principles and a penchant for rationalization; within 2 years he’ll be back on top.

  9. What’s so badass about classes which sound like personal therapy sessions, tattoos and loud music aside? Justin does seem like a nice guy and all and I’ll give him marks for his sincerity in trying to bring something unique to yoga and to the practice but, maybe it’s just me, if I want therapy, I go to therapy. I don’t think the yoga studio group class is the space to hear about other people’s brokenness nor share my own.
    I dunno, personally I think the spectre of “branding” has reared it’s ugly head again. Everyone is trying too damn hard to come up with their own brand or unique version of yoga and in doing so miss seeing the forest for the trees.

    • The P

      “if I want therapy, I go to therapy” .. precisely. And with real therapy you have the assurance of proper education, training, experience and skill in the mental health field as well as the security of a legally enforceable obligation to adhere to a clearly defined ethical code of conduct.

  10. Joanie Baloney

    It’s a sad day in yogaland when liberation comes from yelling fuck in the safe confines of the studio at the encouragement of Mr. Outlaw!

    • Maha Garuda

      Perhaps ’tis better to yell “FUCK” directly at Sri Mr. Outlaw. Expedient means and all. I do believe he can take all the ” Fuck” he can get.

  11. jorge

    first off, where the f were you babs??? you just walked out on us with out a peep or explanation, and now you want to slip in through the back door when its dark out and you’re hungry again??? did dana flynn finally talk you in to doing yoga nation? i bet you’d do anything to be on stage with raghunath.

    secondly, that first pick of trav- i mean justin is actually looking a little more outlaw and its bout time. grey that goatee up a bit more, wash that shirt out a few hundred more times, and add a face scar and he will look like the kind of dude you keep your eyes to the ground for when you walk by…. people should be SCARED to go to outlaw yoga..

  12. jorge

    not to derail this thread, but i was trying to explain the shiva rea to someone and was looking for references. how amazing is this???? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i31gGh9KcAo

    at the 1:20 mark it really gets off the hook, brace yourself.

  13. Pooja

    Go back to sleep, Babadizzy. You are more amusing that way.

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