July 5, 2021
Men and Yoga
Why has yoga attracted more women to their mats than men over the years? After all, history points to it being a male dominated practice when it was first introduced. It’s high time we give all men a fair chance and honest introduction into something that could potentially change their lives. One man at a time we could even bring much needed balance into the world.
Yoga has proven to be the missing magic ingredient in so many lives and it’s far too common that someone we love rejects it for reasons that seem simple but I believe run much deeper.
“I’m not flexible enough.” “It’s too feminine and for women.” “It’s boring.” “I’d rather work out.” These are some of the most common excuses used to avoid exploring a relationship with yoga and ultimately oneself.
If you look around in any yoga class the ratio of women to men averages about 4:1 and from my experience as a male yoga teacher, I’ve taught numerous classes with only women. This isn’t bad or good but does leave many of us that have devoted our lives to this practice scratching our heads.
Personally, I feel most honored when a man takes my class. Especially if I feel how green he is yet he chooses to come back again and again. It’s these golden moments that make this profession that much sweeter. Part of this is because I can relate so much to his journey of caring more about himself than what others may think of him.
Social conditioning combined with stigmas associated with yoga have confronted almost every man at some point on their journey to shy away from committing to a consistent practice.
It seems obvious why women would be attracted to the physical aspects of yoga for the same reason that more men gravitate towards weight training. Flexibility, patience, and receptivity are generally more abundant in females just like strength, power, and stability tend to favor males.
But why is it so taboo for a man to love yoga? We must look at the underlying causes of how we raise our children. Boys are supposed to be tough and able to ignore emotions if needed. We are taught to be the anchors, the support, and the supplier from day one.
Then we must also study the marketing of yoga and how the rise in popularity in recent years has watered down the message of what yoga truly is. Therefore, too many men think yoga will make them less valuable in their role by taking away time from their manly routine. By not redefining yoga and the skill set that men think they need to be most optimal in their role, they lose interest.
It’s a complicated problem with a simple solution. Share your passion. Share your love of yoga. Spread how the practice has helped you to every man you see. Shout it from mountain tops and whisper it under the rocks but most importantly, live it. Man or woman, be the example that you want to set for future generations. Take them to a non-heated class and don’t pay any attention to them. Let them have a moment to digest the experience without feeling judged. Try male and female teachers to show them the vast diversity of an experience that can be had. Compliment them afterwards no matter how much they struggled. The male ego needs this to feel worthy of trying again.
We owe it to our species to arm our men with the ammo to hold space in ways that women fantasize about. Who’s with me?
Below are some recommended beginner practices you might want to try with the men in your life.