Yoga – it’s too spiritual, too easy, too feminine. Everyone has their preconception about what they think yoga is all about.
I’ve spoken to dads, brothers, boyfriends and friends. There are dozens of reasons men are put off from practicing yoga.
Traditionally, yogis were predominantly male – but in modern times, you are far more likely to find 80 per cent of your yoga class is female.
But everyone should embrace yoga – both men and women. Here are a few ideas that men often get about yoga that just aren’t true…
Yoga is for women
This just isn’t true. Most yoga traditions were started by men – and almost solely practiced by men.
In fact, if you go to a sports specific yoga class (like yoga for surfers) men often outnumber the women.
Yoga is designed to strengthen and open multiple muscles in the body at the same time. Just think about downward facing dog – it engages far more muscles than just your arms or legs, so often better than those gym machines which work one set of muscles at a time.
You have to be flexible to practice yoga
You definitely don’t have to be able to wrap your legs around your head before you can join a class. You don’t even have to be able to sit cross-legged. It doesn’t matter what your body can or cannot do already.
Naturally flexible people often go too far into poses when they are just starting out – which can lead to injuries and less muscle strengthening.
Often those that are less flexible will benefit more from yoga as they will slowly work into the poses and naturally build up muscles around your joints as your practice develops.
Yoga classes are too spiritual for me
Yoga is scientifically good for you – it’s not just about spiritual mumbo jumbo.
There are plenty of classes that don’t offer too much in the way of spirituality. It’s always good to check before you go – in case you find chanting, for example, too offputting.
No yoga class will ever force you to convert or pray or practice any religious rituals.
Yoga is too easy to be a good workout
Go to an Ashtanga yoga class – and I’m sure you won’t be saying that afterwards. You get cardio and weight training in one, plus I can guarantee after an hour of constant movement, you will be totally knackered.
You don’t need to buy yoga clothes
You can wear anything to practice yoga – just a pair of loose shorts and a t-shirt will work perfectly. In fact, the looser the better.
If you’re trying out a hot yoga, we wouldn’t recommend wearing tracksuit bottoms, as one unfortunate fella did in our most recent class. Let’s just saying it’s like wearing a boiler suit into a sauna.
It’s really beneficial if you want to be a better athlete
Whether you’re a ski instructor, a surfer or you just play rugby with your local club, every coach will tell you to start practicing yoga.
It really increases your flexibility. If you’ve been repeatedly using the same muscles, they’re going to be tight. Yoga increases your flexibility and range of movement, which in turns means you are far less likely to injure yourself.
It’s also a really great way of focusing the mind – which is essential to competing or just landing your next trick.