The only girl in yoga

Girl is probably stretching things but you get the gist. To be fair I have a young face. But anyway….more men are now doing yoga. The percentages reported are still a lot lower than women, but it is definitely on the increase. I think this is a good thing.

Last week I was in yin and half of the class were males. I also did a Hatha class and, even though we were a small class (a mid morning one), I was the only female there other than my yoga teacher. All the rest were men. Not skinny yoga looking men either…a real mix of types, body types and abilities. We had an absolute blast all trying to get into side crow from movement of side lunges. There was quite a lot of near death face planting and falling over. Also a lot of laughs.

Men and Yoga

Yoga is still viewed as stretching and flexibility by most men I know who comment. Sure that is part of it but they clearly don’t have a clue how difficult a vinyasa or Hatha class can be. How the edge in Yin makes it the most relaxing and difficult class at times in my yoga schedule.

Yes flexibility is a benefit. I am not flexible but in a year I can see the change. I can also see the change in my strength, balance, focus and movement. That is definitely down to yoga and I think men are starting to see these benefits too. There is nothing worse than building muscle to the point it impedes movement. That is storing up a whole lot of problems.

Benefits of Yoga

Strength, Balance and Flexibility

Some are obvious. Clearly there is strength and flexibility. There are lots of men on instagram nowadays who have amazing bodies and practice yoga regularly (Andy Raab for example). There are ones who can do a perfect movement into handstand and balances (check out Patrick Beach for this); who doesn’t want to be able to do that!

I know men who can’t touch their toes. To be fair I also know women who can’t do this. Yoga helps. In the long run yoga helps with functional movement and that is a brilliant thing. I jump out of bed now in the morning. Even when I was training with a PT doing lots of free weights and Hiit I wasn’t able to do this. There is something about the core strength and movement you get from yoga that helps. Which leads me on to the next benefit.

Good sex

I am not sure I would know as perfection is hard to improve on (haha!). But apparently yoga helps improve sexual prowess. There are men who really should take note of this benefit.

Weight Loss

Some people will tell you it helps with weight loss. I am not convinced as I still think you can’t out-train a bad diet. My backside will back this up (I really should stop drinking red wine…it doesn’t help).

However the thinking is relevant. If you are more mindful of your body and understand it more then you may be more mindful of what you eat. I get this. I can tell where my posture is good and bad, I know when my hamstrings are tight and which side is more out of kilter.

I might start being more mindful of food (and probably add back in a little more HIIT into my training). No one thing works so why not do a bit of everything.

All the Zen stuff

I am not too overboard with this but yoga does calm the body and mind. Do with that what you will. Different people have different needs when it comes to mental well-being and lifestyle.

For me it isn’t a primary reason to do yoga, for some others it will be. For men, there are definitely some at yoga who have told me their jobs and their lifestyle means that they only fully relax on their mat.

Men in Yoga Class

Bring it on. The studio I go to is only just over a year old. I have seen a difference in how many men are going even over that short time. A class full of men was a surprise, but a good one. The thing about yoga is the lack of judgement on each other. There is enough to be thinking about with your own progress.

I like the observations of others in yoga without any judgement. I’m quite happy to observe men in yoga (I nearly deleted that in case it sounded bad…). At least some of them fall over as much as I do.

Photo by Form on Unsplash