When Kilted Yoga hit YouTube in February this year, life changed for Finlay Wilson, the 30-year-old yoga teacher whose idea it was, and whose tartan-clad buttocks it stars.
Besides almost instant internet fame – views hit 17million within a day, and are currently over 52million – the video has spawned some exciting new developments for Wilson. He was featured on the TV programme The Today Show in the US, made the news in China, Australia as well as in New Zealand. And following an
invitation to New York to participate in the Tartan Day Parade – a procession celebrating Scottish culture all the way down Sixth Avenue in Manhattan, he discussed male mental health with the Health Secretary of the United Nations. Next up is the publication of his first book, Kilted Yoga: Yoga Laid Bare.
The book is consistent with the irreverent tone of the viral video, but also has an instructive function. “It’s a manual for how to get started,” Wilson explained. It has detailed asana and pranayama instructions and plenty of images of Wilson surveying the rugged peace of the Scottish wilds.
The playful feel of Kilted Yoga seems central to this yogi’s attitude to practice and life – the end to the viral video famously features a handstand from Wilson and a student, the inevitable result being the flapping down of their kilts over their heads. “It turns out everyone loves ass,” Wilson quipped.
But yoga also has a deeper resonance for him. He started doing yoga aged 19, after needing surgery on both of his legs. “Recovery was pretty rough — I struggled to walk without my legs buckling. I was told yoga would be easy. It wasn’t but I’m pretty stubborn.”
After a decade of study, however, he’s become a passionate advocate of yoga’s positive effects on mental health: “Yoga is self-care,” he says. He explains going yoga before you leave the house in the mornings is a great way to start the day – “You’ve achieved something, you’re leaving on a high” as you embark on your day.
He’s also highly motivated to get the next generation onto their mats, as well as to work on making yoga appeal to all genders. When his video went viral, his pupils were first to start sharing it and showing their friends. Considering its positive impact, he concludes “I should have got my bum out sooner.”
Read the full story at The Evening Standard.