Yoga Joe Spins Traditional Male Stereotype On Its Head (Literally)

These tiny soldier figurines are breaking down gender norms and downward dog-ing their way into our hearts.

Who says tough guys can’t do yoga?

Yoga in the United States, originally a counter-culture practice observed by a fringe element with a “hippy-dippy” bent, is now largely a mainstream movement. Children do it, adults do it, businessmen do it, even prisoners do it—yet, it’s still seen as effete (and maybe even embarrassing). But what if yoga got a macho makeover?

Recently inventor Dan Abramson created “Yoga Joes,” a series of green (and pink) plastic army men based on the beloved children’s toy. The only difference is that these soldier figures are able to pull off the downward dog and the lotus position probably better than most of the people in your class. “I made Yoga Joes because I thought that it would be a fun way to get more people into yoga – especially dudes…” the creator says on his website. “Beyond that, I wanted to make a violent toy become peaceful.”

The results are a juxtaposition between traditional Western masculine signifiers—like guns and fatigues—with the gentler, more inward-leaning practices of Eastern philosophy. I think I speak for all of us when I say “Namaste!” to this shifting in the dominant paradigm!

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