Most people still think yoga is a passive practice. The image of a person sitting in a cross-legged position with eyes closed and hands in a mudra (think of it as a yoga peace sign) is often used as advertising for yoga products. We all quickly realize that it is actually one of the hardest things we’ve ever done and professional athletes agree.
Up until a few years ago, this ancient practice was labeled “a woman thing” and the numbers proved it to be spot on. Currently 72% of those who practice yoga are women and 28% are men. However, these two numbers are growing significantly closer. The percentage of people that practice yoga increases an average of 20-25% every year – And why wouldn’t you get into yoga when it has been clinically proven to alleviate a wide array of ailments and conditions?
The original purpose of this article was to explore why more men aren’t doing yoga and here are the top three reasons why I think this is so:
>They don’t think it’s a good enough workout.
>They don’t want to look stupid.
>They think it’s mainly for women.
Now if I were a dude, here are the reasons why I would go to yoga:
>All the women are hot and healthy.
>I get my ass kicked and yet I feel an unbelievable sense of calm and openess afterwards.
>The ratio of women to men is a win-win situation.
If I only had a dollar for every time a man told me he was “too tight” to do yoga. If you are holding on to a lot of tension in your body that means that yoga is especially for you. The goal of yoga though has nothing to do with flexibility and contortion. As Bryan Kest so eloquently put it, “Yoga is about eradicating the qualities of the mind that are harming you and strengthening the qualities of the mind that are most beneficial to myself, my family and my community.” The physical aspect of the practice will open the body, but learning how to release the mental stresses that we harbor is even more beneficial. So, if the good workout and the women don’t entice you, do it for your mind. The quality of the mind will inevitably determine your perception of the world and it is also the catalyst for how we interact with others through word and action.
I leave you with a testimonial from one of my male clients who suffers from chronic back pain – This was after his first yoga class:
“My back and neck felt different all afternoon. I felt taller and straighter! Legs were rubber and this morning my arms felt like they got a major workout. For the first time in five years I had zero back pain and I wasn’t as affected by the stress at work. Can’t wait to do it again!”