These past few weeks I have been consumed by one question: How can I get more men into yoga? Hell, I would be satisfied with just getting them to try it! Just once! It is ironic that there was a time when yoga was meant only for men and women had to fight for the right to practice yoga.
But to get to the bottom of my issue, I asked a wide range of men – young, old, single, married, straight, gay, normal, weird, athletes, non-athletes, boxers or briefs (?) – what is stopping him from trying yoga? I even set up a poll on my Facebook Page to get more input!
Below are the three most common objections voiced by the people I interacted with (and my response to each, of course!):
1. I am not flexible enough.
My response: Yoga will help you with that. Trust me. No one expects you to be an expert. It is my job to help you get there.
2. Yoga is a female-dominated exercise (aka Yoga is for women).
My response: I do not see what the problem is especially for those hoping to make new female friends. 😉 But then again I am not afraid to walk into a male-dominated weight room. No one is paying attention to what you are doing. Get over it.
3. Yoga is like stretching. It would be one more thing to do. I’m not seeing the benefits.
My response: Yoga is so much more than “stretching.” (You would know that if your ignorant butt would actually try a class!) It requires flexibility and strength. It is holding your squats and planks instead of powering through them (poorly and incorrectly I might add). It is stretching your muscles to the limit but still demanding strength from it. Instead of weights you are using your own weight with gravity. Anyone who has ever done a pushup would know that this is enough.
Men need yoga maybe even more than women do precisely because men are less flexible. As you age, you are going to need that flexibility more than ever. Even Men’s Health Magazine recognizes the need for men to do yoga and have dedicated a page on their website for precisely that.
But my question of how to get men into yoga classes remains unanswered. My husband suggested a “Yoga for Men” class – designed specifically for men in a room filled with men. The idea has merit (don’t tell him I said that). So what say you, men of the world? Are you in?
And if anyone else has any suggestions, I would certainly love to hear it. If you are a man who practices yoga, I want to hear from you as well!
Image via Flickr (creative commons) by Andy Polaine.