I go to a yoga class every week and each time, there are a few more men. Not a lot, maybe five out of twenty but not bad. I ran across this article today called “Men strike a pose in yoga classes just for them” and thought it was kind of interesting:
On a perfect November Saturday afternoon when they could have been pumping iron at the gym or hanging out with friends over a couple of pale ales, half a dozen men slipped through the back entrance to a spartan yoga studio on the main drag of Westmont in Camden County.
They were there, bravely and voluntarily, to spend two hours doing yoga.
Never mind that the ancient Indian practice linking breath, body, and spirit was developed and taught by men. In America, yoga is a woman’s domain.
A 2012 study by the Yoga Journal found that 82 percent of yoga practitioners were women.
Walk into most classes and if any men can be found, they are in the back corners, where they can fumble through poses without attracting much notice.
Anatomically, women are no better equipped than men to do yoga, said Larry H. Chou, a physiatrist at Premier Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine in Havertown.
“The resistance has been psychosocial. There was this perception that yoga was less manly,” said Chou, who has consulted with professional sports teams and was a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania’s Sports Medicine Center.
This reluctance to do yoga reminded me of a book I am currently reading (that is very good!) by a retired Navy Seal called The Way of the SEAL: Think Like an Elite Warrior to Lead and Succeed. The author has a section on “mental traps” and one of his points is that we have a tendency to avoid things we doubt, rather than investigate them:
A good example is yoga. For years, most American men thought yoga was only for women, wimps or odd people who wore towels on their heads. In reality it is an incredibly advanced personal-development program that will kick your ass and change your life. I have helped break this myth by teaching SEALFIT yoga to thousands, including many Navy Seals.
I must admit, though a woman, I felt the same way–that yoga was too slow and not “hardcore” enough–until recently. I started doing yoga consistently and my balance and flexibility have improved greatly and it is hard. I don’t know how some of the women (or men) in the class do some of the poses. I even invested in a Manduka Yoga Mat suggested by several yoga practitioners and it is terrific at keeping my knees and wrists comfortable.
Do you practice yoga if male? Do you find it intimidating or bothersome being one of the few men or maybe just the opposite?
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