Name: Davin Jones
What city/country are you reppin’? Doha, Qatar.
Hometown: Llandrindod Wells, Wales
Instagram: @davjonesyoga

What are you most proud of about your country? Llandrindod Wells is a small town in the centre of Wales. The local area is known for its sport in Rugby, especially Builth Wells the next town. The social scene tends to orientate around going for a drink in the local bars. So the stereotypes can often be classed as people who are into sport and people who aren’t. As a youngster growing up, you would be classed as a ‘towney’ or a ‘druggie.’ A towney being someone who would love to go out on a weekend watch sport, drink a lot of alcohol and basically look for fight. A ‘druggie’ being someone who wasn’t into sport so much and would go in search of a party in the hills.

I love Wales as its where I grew up, scenically the country is beautiful. With the friends you grow up it’s a very close community due to the the small local towns. The best friends I have from back home are friends for life. 

What is your story? I’ve always had a thirst to be the best I can be. As a boy growing up I loved football. From an early age you would hardly see me without a football at my feet. As I grew into my teenage years, I represented the county and Wales on a couple of occasions in football. On a physical level I was always very active and would compete in most sports as a teenager. Towards my later teens, the level I reached in football was getting very competitive. I’ll always remember the amount of pressure each game would entail. The notion that someone important was watching would always present that apprehension.

Overtime, this pressure started to increase. The competitiveness between other teams and individuals for me started to become very unattractive, to which I started to shy away from. The party kid in me started to show itself. As my interest in competitive sport started to diminish, my excitement for going out and enjoying myself started to grow. Around this time is where I developed close bonds to friends that I consider to this day as almost family. Although I enjoyed myself in my later teens, I always felt this guilt about giving up on football. There was certainly an element of guilt - for not using the capabilities I have to the best of my ability. It’s why when I came across Yoga in 2013 that I saw an opportunity to set this straight.

How would you describe yourself? Particularly driven. Very motivated and persistent at working towards my goals. I guess this stems from being the oldest of 3 brothers as a kid. My mother would ask for my support a lot of the time so have always wanted to be strong for my family. I have quite a motivational desire in being able to share some of my travelling experiences with my mum one day.

How would your mother describe you? Me and my mum have always got on very well. I was born on the 21st of November and my mothers birthday is the 22nd. With me being her first born of three boys our relationship has always been very strong. We will literally speak about anything and there is no boundary on what we will discuss – from relationships to discussion on decision making I feel no restriction on speaking to my mother. On this I see her as one of my best friends. My mother is mentions of how proud she is of me which I am aware of to which my response is – ‘you brought me up mum, so this is because of you!’

 What did you want to be growing up? Growing up I had the aspiration to play professional football. I enjoyed the intensity of the game and the enjoyment of playing.

What do characteristic do you value most in others? Being truthful and honest is really something which I look for in a person. If I can see this the relationship goes well. These traits are important as they develop trust. Without trust friendship becomes difficult to work.

When did you last cry? I often cry after a dramatic film. This isn’t something I struggle to express. Since adopting the practice of yoga I’ve found that the conditioned inhibitions of western culture to withhold emotional release has really softened. Its important to express these emotions and be honest with yourself.

Is there anything you preach but don’t practice, or practice but don’t preach? Moderation has always been a practice which tests me. On occasion I am not the moderator, which has its strengths and of course its weaknesses. One mantra that will stick with me – ‘do things in moderation – even the moderator’

We’ve all done a few things we’re not proud of, care to share one? Show us you’re not perfect. Which occasion to choose from? If you could see the grin on my face now. Honestly, there has been plenty of occasions which can be classed as a little embarrassing which has all been in the name of fun.

On multiple occasions in my early 20’s would be known for falling asleep at a bar in a club with people unable to wake me up.

OK, Let’s talk about Yoga

What are the biggest stereotypes about guys who do yoga? That we are gay. That we have a dance or gymnastics background which is the reason we are flexible or quite strong.

What was the biggest challenge when you started the practice? From a conscious perspective, to develop confidence within my body and verbal clarity to teach. From a physical perspective I was actually very tight. Opening my hips and hamstrings took a lot of study and prolonged holds in poses.

Why do you keep coming back? I love the movement with breath, can I keep this controlled in a regular breath whilst in a handstand, one arm balance? Currently this area inspires me. I know as my journey grows I’ll favour the subtler aspects.  

What was the biggest challenge when you started teaching? I never thought I’d have the confidence to speak verbally in front of a group of people with certainty and good direction. Developing this skill came from the support and encouragement of my teachers. 

What is your best advice for a guy who wants to try yoga for the first time? Enjoy the practice, don’t feel as if every pose must be done. Notice where your limitations lie.

Tell us a story when your Yoga practice came into play off the mat? The Niyama of Tapas continually has reference in my life. To do my best in whatever task I take on has been a big drive in motivating me to where I am now. We draw upon this aspiration in the practice on the mat to work toward a specific pose. The beginning stages we tend to have this ‘thirst’ for this, its only discipline that allows us to prevail in achieving these postures. This is relevant in so many of my experiences of the mat.  

What challenges have you experienced being a guy who teaches yoga? As mentioned earlier in the interview, prior to teaching yoga I worked on building sites as an electrician. Least to say the perception of ‘yoga’ from a tradesmen’s point of view isn’t something which applauds respect. Initially, through my earlier years of starting to practice yoga and then teaching I found myself in many a conversation with past work colleagues over why, and even narrow minded points on my sexuality. I’m thankful to say that perception has changed. I am happy that I have changed the view point of the ‘yoga stereotype’ with quite a few narrow minded people.

Let’s play favourites?
Breakfast lunch or dinner? Which one?
Favorite book? Untethered Soul, The Journey Beyond Yourself, by Michael A. Singer
Sport? Football
Activity to play? Bungee Jumping (Does this count?)
Sport/activity to watch? Football
Favourite place you’ve been too? Mazunte, Mexico
Favourite drink? Cold pressed Juice – ginger, lime, celery, tonic
Favourite drink at the pub? Gin & Tonic
Tea or Coffee? Coffee
Boxers or briefs? Boxers
Dad’s son or Momma’s boy? Mum’s boy
Heartbreaker or hopeless romantic? Hopeless romantic
Favourite Song? Fleetwood Mac - Dreams
Favourite Movie? Forrest Gump
Best dance Move? Front splits

What does the next 5 years of yoga look like for you? This year I have focused more on my own international retreats. They have been a great success with the retreats being received very well. The next 5 years I’ll look at expanding and perfecting my retreats with the addition of more collaborations. My deep interests are the biomechanics of functional anatomy, so I’ll look to teaching anatomy and Physiology of yoga on teacher training courses around the world.

Things seem to be changing, what does the future of yoga look like in the western world? I’ve noticed how yoga over the past 5 years has started to be more applicable to functional rather than aesthetics. To which I couldn’t be happier about. The traditions of Ashtanga, and Bikram for example are less revered than that of the vinyasa practice.  The integration of functional movement within the linear yoga practice is exciting and making the vinyasa practice more creative and biomechanically functional.

Other than yoga, what else keeps you busy? I have a big urge to travel, I love it. Amongst my time away teaching I love to explore when I visit new countries. Experiencing the culture as well as seeing how people live fascinates me. The past year though, an attraction to spending more time with family has become primary.

In your own words, what is BOYS OF YOGA? I see BOYS as a community to inspire, motivate and encourage to get people on the mat to move and enjoy their bodies. To be part of a collective which promotes this is something that really motivates me. The connection that BOYS has created on a global level is really quite inspiring but at the same time its reach far extends that of practicing on a mat.  

And what does the project mean to you? To me yoga changed my life, from a place where I wasn’t living my potential. I feel BOYS in many ways is also promoting this message.

What does it mean in your city/country? Yoga in Qatar is still in its infancy. The increase of male yogi’s in classes is growing slightly. On a cultural level I think this will be a few years before Qatari men are more involved and the stigma has been diluted.

Why do you want to share your story? I believe yoga is a guide into understanding one’s self. Yes, we get stronger, more flexible but from an emotional perspective I’ve learnt about my habitual patterns. Acknowledging this and working on them has allowed personal psychological growth. To which I believe this has made me a better human. This insight has come to me through the practice of yoga and the people I have met through yoga. If I can share this and make a difference to someone’s life, then for me it all becomes worthwhile.

If you could spend time with hanging out, practice and chillin’ with some of the other BOYS, who would it be, and why? 

Jambo Truong – Apart from just being a great guy, he is real. I resonate with people who just say it how it is. Jambo certainly is this in a nutshell.

Jake Paul White – Having only met Jake once. It would be great to get to know him a little better. Me and him have a lot of similar interests in regards to rock climbing and outdoor activities as well as the liking to be inverted so i’m sure we’d have a good laugh.

 Johnny VasilJ – Having followed Johnny on IG and knowing of his story, this guy is quite an inspiration. Also with having a similar movement into yoga from a work ethic background as a plumber I’m sure we’d have a right fucking laugh.

 What is your go to yoga pose? My trademark pose you could say – Visvamitrasana.

I find this posture is the perfect state between strength and flexibility. I feel secure and open in this posture. Both with equal measure.

What pose do you f*cking hate? Kapatasana – this pose is a deep backbend, I don’t know why but I have never been able to find ease in this pose. I guess by the time my body is ready to attempt the posture after sufficient sequence, my mental cognition is reminded of the previous time I visited the pose. Which wasn’t comfortable.

Yoga is... freedom.

The experiences lived so far through the practice has led me to the evaluation of accessing freedom. To be free from the constraints of stereotype, of other people’s opinions. To be content with your own identity. To accept this and explore experiences with freedom and love.

 What is your favourite quote, or personal mantra? Motivation, Inspiration, Patience……

Instagram: @davjonesyoga
Website: www.davjonesyoga.com

Interviewed: May 5, 2017

Photos by @michaeljameswong and property of BOYS OF YOGA LLC