If you have ever stepped foot in a Yoga class in America you have probably noticed the low attendance of men in class. The most recent “Yoga Journal” survey found that only 18.4% of the 20.4 million people who practice yoga in the United States are dudes! I am a steadfast believer in the benefits of yoga for all people. Yoga lowers the heart rate and blood pressure; helps relieve anxiety, depression, and insomnia; increases your sex drive; and improves your overall physical fitness, strength and mobility. Despite the countless life-changing benefits that apply to both men and women, the question I ask is: why aren’t more men stepping onto their mats? Many myths, misconceptions and stereotypes stand between a man and his yoga mat: yoga is for girls; I’m not flexible enough for yoga; I already exercise/play another sport, just to name a few.
Yoga is for girls
For all of you tough guys, lets take a moment to get on the same page – practicing yoga does not make you feminine or a pansy! This 5,000 year old practice was designed by Indian men and was originally intended for men. Just the other week, a US Marine came up to me after one of my classes and said “That is one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. Thank you.” Come to any of our Hot Power Vinyasa classes and try to tell me yoga is still for girls. Real men practice yoga.
The misconception that yoga is for girls stems from the fact that the yoga industry has forever-chosen to represent yoga in the mainstream media with images of thin, white, often photoshopped goddesses twisting themselves into pretzel shapes. Of course, us dudes tend to associate yoga as a girly practice because that is how it’s portrayed in the media.
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Saying “I’m not flexible enough for yoga,” is like saying “I’m too dirty to take a shower.” It makes no sense at all. Yoga isn’t about tying yourself in knots. It’s about understanding how your body works and allowing it to function in the most efficient way. The less flexible you are, the less you have to stretch to feel the benefits from the practice. With patience and practice you will become more flexible than you ever imagined. Yoga is not easy, by any means, but with a consistent practice your life will become easier.
This physical practice (asana) is just one limb on the eight-limbed path of yoga. The asanas we practice are used as a tool to help you gain access to your mind. The lessons that yoga imparts stretch way past your tight hamstring, permeating your life off of the mat. Yoga challenges you day in and day out to be the best man you can be when it matters most so you can better serve the people that you love. Wise men do yoga.
I already exercise/ play sports
Strength, mental control, flexibility, injury prevention, pain alleviation, and better sleep are just a few of the benefits athletes receive from yoga. Yoga is the perfect compliment to any activity/sport that you participate in. The best athletes in the world practice yoga. Lebron James and Andy Murray have jumped on the yoga bandwagon. Professional franchises such as the LA Lakers and the German World Cup Soccer Champions are hip to the benefits of yoga. If you’re interested in a yoga for athletes, check out my class on Mondays at 7:30pm. Yoga will prepare you for every sport and every activity, but nothing will prepare you for yoga.
I saved this for last! If you’re a single guy, there is no better place to meet a woman than your yoga mat. Odds are that the women who might join you in a class are in shape, genuine, smart, healthy and are practicing yoga to live up to their utmost potential. A lot better than meeting them at a bar, if you ask me.
I challenge all of you macho men out there to become a real man and step onto your mats with me in any of our classes here at the Wilmington Yoga Center. Drop the tough guy act and open up your mind to the infinite possibilities this life changing practice has to offer.View schedule