Father’s day is special at the Jenni Earle ranch. We don’t have any fathers on the team, but it was Jenni’s grandfather Earl that inspired her to create her first bandanas. These days families take all shapes and sizes—the role of a father can be filled by anyone. This year we’ve decided to think about men and male-identifying persons in terms of their authentic truth, and emotional vulnerability.
Jeremy Grace teaches yoga in Winston-Salem, NC. He offers a class that focuses specifically on masculinity and how it relates to authenticity and issues of ego or imbalance. We were able to learn a bit more about this work from Jeremy himself:
What led you to offer this class? What are the benefits?
The intention for this class was an extension of the Empowered Masculine Workshop that was created for men. The main benefits of this yoga class are yogic in nature with increased strength, increased flexibility, improved balance, and improved body awareness but more importantly; non-judgement, vulnerability, acceptance, and inclusion.
This practice also helps with breathing, breath awareness, and mindfulness. There are countless other proven benefits as well, including weight loss, improved sleep, improved posture, relief of back pain, relief of joint pain, recovery from back injury or surgery, injury-prevention, as well as mental benefits of yoga such as stress relief, decreased anxiety, and inviting an opportunity for more calm.
These practices also offer a chance to build community: Men connecting with men without ego, competition, or imbalance.
(we’ve written about yoga before! Check out our mantra inspired yoga poses)
Why do you think this specific type of work is important and necessary for men?
Men are more confused now than ever: "What is my role?" "What makes me a man?" There is a need to connect inwards in a safe, nurturing environment that includes other men journying on their own path for self-discovery.
Men are intimidated by yoga practices because there can be a level of uncertainty of not knowing what to do that causes some men to react with a fight or flight mode. I know personally as this was my first feeling from yoga. I have been drawn to the practice ever since!
How does the class help you, or instruct you further in your practice and your journey?
Personally, being around people who have shown up for themselves and see that others have done the same is very empowering. My hope is that men doing this kind of work begins to open both me and them to a whole new way of serving in the world.
I've been that only guy in a class. I work to make each and every class a space where all are welcome, come as you are, just show up, and trust this process. As an ex-college athlete, corporate executive, business owner, entrepreneur, father, yoga student, survivor, recoverer, and human, I believe my life experiences offer an unique experience of relatability to a lot of men searching for new ways to feel, be, and live.
I guide men to get out of their own way to live a life of physical awareness, sacred reverence, and intentional connection. It is a lot of work. It is work we must all do.
Since father's day is coming up, do you have any words or stories related to this holiday that perhaps connect with this work?
Men have a tendency to go into autopilot with their children. Sometimes they are not present. Sometimes they are overprotective. Sometimes dads are just trying to figure it out day by day. As a father, my advice is that the more our children see our authentic truth, our unconditional love, our ability to try and learn more about what makes our children tick, who they are, and what they strive to be, versus only teach from the limited experience each of us has - we will have a greater chance of balance, and connect with our children, and grow together.
Do you have any personal mantras in your life? Tell us about one!
"Show up and see what happens from there."
"I am wildly enough."
"I see you. I hear you. I love you."
"Focus on how it feels, not how you think you look in a pose."
Speaking of mantras, do you have a favorite Jenni Earle mantra if so, which one? why?
"love is the wildness" which is in the center design of the Jenni Earle ‘love wild’ bandana (sorry no longer offered in our online store folks). Owning a space centered around being in your "wild" that bandana, given to me as a gift, has a grounded duty and reminder. We must find our wild in order to know who we truly are - ready to meet every experience, adversity, obstacle, and life event.
Thanks for the words, and the important work you are doing, Jeremy!
Happy Father’s Day!