Challenging. Sweaty. Mentally Intense.
These words weren’t typically associated with a yoga practice, but the ancient practice has been evolving. If you were to map out all the styles of yoga that exist today, it would be clear that there’s an option for everyone.
When I first started my yoga journey in 2011, it was pretty obvious that men were a minority in the studio space. This was the complete opposite of my previous athletic experiences. In high school and college -- I took weightlifting classes, played soccer, and worked at “IHS” an International Hockey School. I was used to being the “minority” because I didn’t enjoy Zumba or step classes (Nothing against those workout routines – I just didn’t have rhythm).
When I would ask some of my guy friends to come to yoga with me, common responses were: “I can’t sit still for an hour of active napping.”, “I’m not flexible enough, I can’t even touch my toes.”, “You don’t want to see me sweat that much.”, “That stuff is too spiritual, not my thing.”, or my personal favorite (after an Ironman race) “That’s a feminine workout.”
Thankfully, male attitudes on yoga are changing and the numbers are proving it. According to the 2016 Yoga in America Study, more men are rolling out a yoga mat. A lot more.
Currently, 28% of all yoga practitioners in the United States are male. That is up from 17.8% in 2012. You want a better idea? That is 10 million male yogis - heck yes!
So, why are more men trying out yoga? Common responses highlight both the physical and mental health benefits. Increased flexibility, clarity of mind, ability to focus at work, increased range of motion, pain relief, better sleep, and improved mood are just a few that top the list and it’s goes on and on.
Thinking of stepping into a live yoga class? Here’s a few tips:
- Eat 2+ hours before you go
- Show up 10 -15 minutes early to get situated (set-up in 2nd or back row so you can watch what other people are doing)
- Let the teacher know if you have an injuries
- Bring Water into the studio room
- Pack a towel (to wipe your hands // face // lay on)
- Wear clothing fabric that “breathes” when you sweat (avoid cotton)
- Invest in a good yoga mat (shop our Align[MAT] V2 if you’re over 6ft tall)
- Extra change of clothes for after can be nice to switch into
- Don’t take yourself too seriously and try to take 3 classes before you make a decision on if yoga is right for you. Sometimes, it takes the right teacher (so try different ones!)