If you think about yoga, slender women and old people mostly come to mind. But why not men? Do they not need the many benefits of yoga, backed by science, as described by Healthline? Is it the media portrayal of yoga that makes it look like only women should do it? Let’s take a deeper look at why men are averted by yoga, and women are mostly seen participating in classes.
1. Not challenging
Although there is much hype around yoga, there seems to be little awareness about it. We usually see trained yogis effortlessly changing into different poses, which portrays yoga as too easy or not challenging enough. On the other hand, most men are usually drawn to heavy weightlifting and muscle building in terms of exercise. So choosing yoga to achieve physical fitness is seemingly incompatible with their goals.
2. Requires flexibility
Flexibility is not a requirement to start yoga but rather a skill attained after practicing it for a long time. But many men tend to think they are not flexible enough to do yoga. It is a misconception that can be addressed in media and by yoga instructors to welcome more men into this practice. And to ease the fear in men that they might pull a muscle or snap a ligament during yoga practice.
3. Too spiritual
Yoga is often linked to specific religions or spiritual beliefs, which causes aversion in secular people. But the truth is, you do not need to be spiritual to perform yoga if it doesn’t resonate with your beliefs. Yoga practices in the west are usually oriented toward physical meditation. People from any religion and gender can indulge in its benefits without addressing its spiritual aspect. Even in groups that address the soul during yoga, one can focus on their breathing. And that too when there isn’t an alternative available.
4. Too feminine
With the trendy sports fits, colorful mats, and effortless poses, yoga is seen as a delicate, elegant, and feminine practice, causing men to think that it may affect their masculinity, thus leading to an aversion. On the contrary, yoga helps you attain balance in your mind and body, even the balance of masculinity and femininity within an individual. We can see many of our famous, favorite, visibly masculine men perform yoga, including Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr., and Lebron James, among others. Using their example can prove to motivate men to let go of their insecurity and start practicing yoga.
5. Just a relaxation technique
Yoga is often seen as a meditation or relaxation technique that may only be suitable for stress relief and postural correction. Men who are unaware of the benefits of yoga, such as strength, balance, improved heart function, and flexibility, tend to engage in the more aggressive forms of exercise. Weightlifting and cardio seem to be a quicker path to achieving body fitness than yoga. It is essential to note that yoga trains your body and mind for better functioning. It can boost self-esteem, help manage anxiety, and boost your immunity while providing visible fitness advantages.
So men, what’s stopping you from joining your local yoga class?
If you have done it already but still feel out of place in a yoga class, here are a few tips that might help you with your newfound interest in yoga.
- Join a beginners class
Like any other form of exercise regime, yoga also has varying levels of difficulty and intensity. No matter how big or strong you are, starting from the beginning is the best way to get the hang of it and ace it. As you must have heard, “slow and steady wins the race”. This may not be a race to win, but going slow and steady will help you progress more efficiently.
- Talk to your Yoga Instructor
Communicate with your instructor about your concerns, goals, and physical limitations that may affect your practice. They will surely guide you and help you overcome, achieve, or find a way around it.
- Have a partner
Having a partner to accompany you to the yoga class will help you ease up more quickly. Ask a friend or family member to join you or make new friends to discuss and socialize with you in the class. A yoga partner can also be a greater motivation to continue the practice and aim for better.
- Be consistent
Consistency is the key to success. You must be consistent with your practice to gain beneficial results from yoga. It will only be a challenge initially. As soon as you see and feel the perks of doing yoga, your motivation will automatically increase many folds. Keep an exercise mat at home for the days it may be challenging to get out of the house and practice by yourself.
Because habits don’t make easily, they also don’t break easily.