Adam Bolton has 12 years of experience teaching yoga and is one-third of Men’s Retreats, a company specializing in yoga and surfing getaways for gay men. We’re excited to announce this charming yogi will be joining us on our Big Gay Cottage Getaway to help wake up your chakras and improve your pranayama.
Scroll down to learn about Adam, his personal practice and its specific benefits for gay men.
Out Adventures (OA): What makes your yoga practice different or unique?
Adam (A): The tools I use in sessions range from pilates to the barre method. I come from a dance background, so I love music and sets and reps, the same as you would do in a barre class.
For every movement I choose to teach, I like to ask the biomechanical ‘why?’ and ‘for what benefit?’. When we break down traditional yoga poses with modern study, we focus on what the benefits to the body are. If there’s a better pose to achieve the same benefit, than I’ll go that route. I won’t do a traditional pose just because it is tradition.
This isn’t to say I don’t respect traditional yoga practice. There’s some great teachers out there who stick to more traditional approaches and do wonderful biomechanically sound work.
OA: Tell us about your transition from professional dancer to yogi.
A: I was in musicals and musical theatre. I worked for Mirvish for a number of years and performed in their productions downtown Toronto. The grind of doing eight shows a week caused me to injure everything you can injure. I’ve had an ACL replacement and significant shoulder injuries. That wear and tear forced me to seek a movement practice that could help me sustain the intensity of what I wanted to do.
I realized I didn’t want to be in show business anymore and I needed to shift. I was always drawn to meditation and philosophy. So I took a few years off to immerse myself in yoga.
OA: How did Men’s Retreats get started?
A: My best friend Andrew Bathory and I were hired to do a men’s retreat about six years ago in Mexico. It was the first time I’d ever been in an exclusively gay male intensive environment. I guess I had anxieties and apprehensions but it was so profoundly healing to be in community that way.
There was a lot of joy and playfulness there. There was also solidarity. It really felt like a celebration. It was apparent this was work we needed to do more of. Every year it grew and the amount of interest and the community built.
About two years ago Antonio Lennert got on-board and introduced a surfing component.
Internationally, we’ve now hosted tours in Mexico and Brazil. In Canada we often host in Prince Edward County, Algonquin and Muskoka. Currently, I’m looking to visit Sri Lanka and scout new locations.
OA: Why is yoga important for gay men?
A: There’s a few reasons. From a mental and emotional perspective, men have been conditioned to avoid feeling. In our patriarchy we’re conditioned to appear strong and not show our feelings. Yoga teaches men to allow themselves to feel and process emotion.
Further, yoga allows us time to reflect on past traumas. I’m studying relationship somatic psychotherapy. The somatic processing is a sensory based processing that helps us to be present to and identify how our bodies are reacting to and holding trauma. In the yoga practice, specifically in the more meditative stuff, our own anxieties and fears prevent us from reaching that relaxation. On retreats we have time to address those anxieties. A lot of stress and tension is habit patterns, and retreats help us break patterns.
Finally, there’s a huge need for gay men today to be in community in a way that’s healthy. I believe yoga can provide healthy community for LGBT people.
OA: What are you most looking forward to on our Big Gay Cottage Getaway?
A: You know what, just nature time. Just time to be able to sit, have a cocktail and watch the sunset.
Out Adventures’ Big Gay Cottage Getaway runs June 30th to July 6th. Click here for more information.