Men and Yoga – It’s Not a Myth
Today, yoga is still often regarded as something for women only. Although yoga was made popular by men, such as Sri Krisnamacharya, known as the modern yoga guru, followed by Sivananda Saraswati, Desikachar, Sri Pattabhi Jois and B.K.S. Iyengar. In the west, men like Tim Miller, Larry Schultz, Rodney Yee, Erick Schiffmann and David Swenson have made their mark on yoga.
So why is it that many men still shy away from yoga? I can think of a few reasons, for example:
- In many magazines, on television and in advertising, we see women doing yoga in sexy clothes, with perfect bodies bending like ballet dancers into acrobatic poses. Men do not feel they belong here or might even be afraid of being judged by their peers as sissies if they would join. And on the other hand, women still question if men coming to yoga class are there really for the practice or just for checking their bums which can cause men feeling awkward in the class.
- Men think that yoga is about stillness and that it is a boring exercise. They do not know that doing yoga can really make you sweat and some poses are very challenging, even for strong, well-trained men.
- Yoga is regarded as a thing hippies or people looking for enlightenment do, something with a slight ‘religious’ touch. This stereotyping scares many men away from yoga, especially business professionals but also the normal blokes.
Based on my personal experience, I honestly regret that not more men do yoga. It really has such great benefits. Yoga physically opens and strengthens the body on many levels, by getting the blood circulation flowing and the lymphatic system working. Yoga wires the neurons in the brain and when this happens, the brain becomes more active. Calmness, peacefulness, clarity and better focus and centering are the results, definitely something business men, decision makers and leaders can profit from. And along them, the rest of us as well!
I hope to see a change in the attitudes and look forward to seeing more men going to yoga studios, joining yoga retreats or just doing yoga for themselves at home. For me personally, yoga is not everything, but it truly gives me many things.
– Iyan –
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