Kilted Yoga star, Finlay Wilson, tells us about his new book, Wild Kilted Yoga

note-0This is the yogi’s second book – a follow up to Kilted Yoga: Yoga Laid Bare

When looking at the photos in the new book, Wild Kilted Yoga, by internet sensation Finlay Wilson, 34, you get a real sense of tranquility.

Here’s this experienced yogi, clad in nothing but a kilt and boots, striking a bendy pose on a forest, beach or whatever Scottish location fits into the book’s elemental themes of Fire, Earth, Water and Air.

He reclines on a slab of rock, eyes closed in savasana, does a dead bug pose by a river, or half splits on a mossy bank.

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    WILD KILTED YOGA by Finlay Wilson. Hodder & Stoughton Publishers 2021.

    On every page, he looks so blissfully Zen. “Well, that’s testament to my acting talent!” says Dundee-based Wilson, who went viral back in 2017, with over 300 million views of his original Kilted Yoga YouTube videos that were filmed for BBC’s The Social. In fact, Wilson spent a week freezing his sporran off, when it came to the shoot for this book, which is a follow-up to 2017’s Kilted Yoga: Yoga Laid Bare.

    His twin brother, Alastair, was the photographer, and they hit the road in his yellow camper van to scout for locations.

    This was back in May, and the weather wasn’t playing ball. Wilson had to have a big scarf and puffer coat on standby.

    “It was quite a nice adventure, but we were frustrated with the weather. It was May and we had snow almost every single day, gale force winds or hailstones”, says Wilson. “In a lot of photos, I was being told to try not to look as cold. The Water sequence is right next to a river. I was blue, shaking and freezing, because it was torrential rain and wind. In the Earth chapter, I’m lying on moss and it was so wet that when I got up there was water running down the back of my head, so we had to shoot the sequence in reverse”.

    WILD KILTED YOGA by Finlay Wilson. Hodder & Stoughton Publishers 2021.

    The brothers, who were reunited for the shoot after being separated for months during lockdown, shot the yoga poses in various locations. As much as the book offers instructions for asanas, from the flowing ones in the Water section to the grounded poses in Earth, it’s also an advert for Scotland and the outdoors.

    “It was a lockdown idea, as I was encouraging people to get outside and take their yoga practise away from a screen. I know even our regular clients were getting a bit of cabin fever,” says Wilson, who has a huge following on Instagram and TikTok.

    For the Air chapter, they drove to the white sandy beach that is Sanna Bay at Ardnamurchan. “Even from Fort William it’s a two and a half hour drive down a single track road but it was so worth it”, says Wilson. The pair also shot in Glencoe and Ballachulish.

    In the final chapter, Wilson poses with his new husband, co-founder of their studio Heart Space Yoga & Bodyworks and fellow yogi, Alan Lambie. This is rather impressive and acrobatic, with poses including front bird and black fly, which involve balancing a second person on your outstretched legs.

    WILD KILTED YOGA by Finlay Wilson. Hodder & Stoughton Publishers 2021.

    While the rest of the book is pitched at beginners, this is for the slightly more advanced, like Wilson, who has been practising for 14 years. They shot this section in The Hermitage in Dunkeld.

    “A lot of these local walking spots in Scotland went wild over lockdown with visitors”, says Wilson, whose favourite pose of all time is half pigeon. “That was a particularly busy day, with so many people walking past, gawking and heckling. Dogs were coming right up to my face”.

    Again, it was raining when they shot this chapter. Thankfully, the kilts were sturdy enough to withstand all the wet weather.

    Wilson used various tartans for the shoot, mainly to match the elements, so there’s a red plaid in the Fire chapter, for example, and an Isle of Skye tartan in the Earth section.

    WILD KILTED YOGA by Finlay Wilson. Hodder & Stoughton Publishers 2021.

    “They’re not clan tartans, I tried to avoid putting on other family’s colours if they’re not mine,” he says. “When we went to try to pick up kilts for the book, shops were still shut so I was phoning around asking if anyone could help me. The local kilt shop in Dundee changed hands during lockdown and I was like, give me whatever you can”.

    Hopefully, the book will satisfy Wilson’s fan base. It seems that not all of them are there purely for the yoga poses. They might want to flick straight to the back of the book, where there’s a photo of this yogi doing a handstand, thus proving that he’s a ‘true Scotsman’. Ahem.

    “If you look at the comments section on any of the photos I post, there’s a cross section of the female population who are very happy to ignore the fact that I’m gay and married,” says Wilson, who also cycles, does weights and aerial yoga to remain buff. “Occasionally, I get a text from my mum to say ‘the comments are out today’. I think she always wanted me to become a doctor so now it’s like, why did you become famous for this?”

    Still, Wilson has obviously found his niche. He’s been hugely successful in the world of yoga, and his studio, where he does online classes for a global clientele, with followers from as far away as the US and even Svalbard, has managed to survive Covid.

    As he says, “A lot of the places I’ve taught at are shut forever, so we’re happy that we’re still here. We’re planning to weather the recovery and hoping in January to see a resurgence”.

    However, if you’re not ready to return to your indoor yoga class, the book is an alternative. Maybe try some of those poses indoors first.

    WILD KILTED YOGA by Finlay Wilson. Hodder & Stoughton Publishers 2021.

    Wild Kilted Yoga: Flow and Feel Free is out now, Yellow Kite, £14.99

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