MYSTICAL MAN. LIKEABLE IDIOT. GRAND MASTER-IN-TRAINING. YOGI.
Name: Jang-Ho Kim
Yoga Practice Style: Hatha Vinyasa
Where were you born? in Pusan (at the sea side of South Korea)
Where is home now? Wiesbaden (Germany, near Frankfurt)
Twitter: don't have...should have right? =)
What’s your story? Son of a Korean special marine soldier and the most cutest-korean-always-worrying mum, i had a good and crazy childhood as a martial artist. Spent most of my adolescence in training Tae Kwon Do, breaking boards with the former Taekwondo demonstration team Taepoong, and working in a karaoke bar as a dude for everything. My older brother was my first teacher in Teakwondo and in Yoga. My deeper impact to yoga was with David Swenson in 2005 in cologne. His way of teaching with humour and ease was so inspiring to me that i knew: this shall be my way! My yoga story started and since 2007 i have opened several studios. After a deep family incident in 2014 i left everything behind and moved from Frankfurt to Wiesbaden where i started a new life with new friends and family and a new studio called Now Yoga. As a father of two daughters and owner of a heart based studio i have learned a lot about responsibility and communication in my life. The most important part of my story is that i love my life, even though there was/is a big chaos like everybody's story.
What did you want to be growing up? My childhood wish was to become a great master of martial art and to create a dojo. As time goes my "wish of becoming“ changed several times like a river flows. The main point has always been to work with people to help people.
How would you describe yourself? A chaotic guy who loves everything about humour and self irony. Sometimes selfish, sometimes too careless but try to be a gentleman especially for my two princess.
How would others describe you? Some haters would say: "He is an idiot“. And the rest would say: "He is an idiot but i like him because he is sometimes charming and kind.“
How would your mother describe you? A fake korean guy because he cannot eat spicy food.
What do you most value in others? Their stories. All the individual stories are inspiring to me. Sometimes we don't even have to know their story but we can feel their story what they have been through. Just to spent time with them it can help to inspire the heart.
When did you last cry? I cry when i see movies. And yes, the last time when i cried was when i saw the movie "Warrior“. A damn good movie.
Is there anything you preach but don’t practice? Yes, i preach to enjoy every action through slowing down our actions. In fact there is no one who is faster in eating than this little Korean guy.
We’ve all done a few things we aren’t too proud of, care to share one? Several times in my life, few "big“ and important decisions were made just by myself without talking to others who were involved in the certain incidents. Yep, that was NOT cool.
Favourite meal? Rice and dryed and salted seaweed because it was my lunch when i went to primary school and i can eat it all day long and everyday.
Favourite drink? Red wine. The best way to have a nice chat with my girlfriend, and if there is no woman the glass of wine could be your best friend.
Favourite book? Explain... "Siddharta“ from Herman Hesse. Everybody's story could be found in this little book.
Ok, let’s talk about yoga, how’d you get into it? My older brother tried to make yoga attractive to me, but his yoga was not that attractive to me. But he gave me the money to attend David Swenson's teacher training. That was my deep impact!
What was the biggest challenge when you first started practicing? I was to eager in every posture how i was used to be in martial art. Every asana was like an opponent to defeat. So i was blind and did not see all the joy and the progress of my practice. It was only about the "perfect asana“. It was really hard to break out of this mind prison which was so deep in my mind for a very long time.
Why do you keep coming back? What would make you skip practice? The practice makes me feel the very present moment and remembers me that all my problems are not that dramatic how it is in my mind. My asana and pranayama practice is not my first priority recently. To spent time with my daughters and to run the studio is more important to me at this chapter of my life. But yes, a nice evening with glass of wine with my girlfriend is a good reason to skip the practice.
Do you teach? I teach more than i practice for myself. Teaching yoga gives me more inspiration and energy than my own practice recently. It is not about doing nice and fancy asanas, it is more about connecting with other people in a very gentle way which i really like.
Other than yoga, what keeps you busy? All the events i am planning and the ice cream i share with my two daughters.
What advice would you give to someone stepping onto the mat for the first time? Don't take yourself to seriously. Then you will have a lot of opportunities to laugh!
Tell us about a time your yoga practice came into play off the mat? When i stopped to be the "Yes-man“. Yoga helped me to find more confidence in my fate and in my own way and so i stopped to say "yes“ to everything. That was a hard time but after that a great fertile heart was born and ready to experience life than ever before.
What challenges or issues have you experienced being a guy who teaches/practices yoga? In fact there was no challenge or issue for me. It was and still is very helpful to be a man and an asian. People have prejudices, so they think like because he is an asian there must be something mystical about this guy. In fact there is not but it helps that people come to my class =).
What does the BOYS OF YOGA project mean to you? I like this idea of spreading yoga to make yoga more attractive to men. In fact men need yoga to find more peace and harmony in their heart. Most of the woman has always been more open to the spiritual way and yoga is a great way also for men to „find“ the true self. That is the reason why i want to be part of this movement.
If you could spend some time hanging out with some of the other BOYS, who would it be? Kyle, Marc Law II and Michael James Wong. I met them in Bulgaria for several days and we had a good time together. I would like to know them better to create a deeper connection. I just have a good feeling about these guys.
What’s your favourite pose? Just standing or sitting with anjali mudra. In this posture it is easier for me to "see“ me and to feel „what's going on inside of my inner universe?“ Stand tall and put your hands together in front of your heart =)
What pose do you fucking hate? Too many of them. Because they are fucking hard!
Yoga is ass kicking and heart touching! Yoga wakes you up from all the illusions we have been living and makes us feel alive through awakening the heart energy.
Your quote or mantra: "Cramp comes and goes like everything else“
Interviewed: January, 2016
Photos by @michaeljameswong and property of BOYS OF YOGA LLC