Why is it that so few men practice yoga?


#1

It’s frequently the case that I’m the only man in a studio class, and that’s even the more ohysical power classes and certainly the slower Yin and wild flow classes. Why is this? Is it the case in all countries? What is it that makes some men, like me break with the norm and head to the mat anyway? Is there more than can be done to promote yoga to men?

for me it’s been about finding an activity that’s non competitive, a counter to most other activities that are promoted for men. I started getting bored of getting injured at sports like football that then impacted on my ability to do other things. I’ve also discovered over the years the benefits yoga can bring my mind, body and soul,learning so much more about myself and meeting some truly amazing and inspirational people along the way - David P and the DYWM team included in a virtual sense at least! I encourage male colleagues to join me at lunchtime classes at work but it’s mainly women each week - given the issues so many men face with stress, anxiety, depression etc it’s such a pity that more men don’t discover the multi-faceted benefits of yoga


#2

Just by way of encouragement–you aren’t alone! Where I work we have a yoga class weekly, and over the years we’ve generally had at least one or two men in a class of 6-10 students. Today we had a class of 6 and 3 of us were men. These are gentlemen who come consistently and enthusiastically.


#3

Agreed.

When I started doing yoga 23 years ago I was frequently the only guy in class. I just got used to it so it, particularly always feeling stiffer than everyone else. There certainly are more men taking yoga now than back then, but there still are a lot more women interested than men. I think it’s because yoga has more of a feminine energy to it and many men are uncomfortable with that.

Thanks for commenting.

David


#4

I think men tend to be less interested in Yoga for various valid an invalid reasons. Yoga is sometimes misportrayed as being about hyper flexibility. Since men tend to be generally less flexible, we are not as quickly drawn to Yoga. Also as David said, Yoga is inaccurately viewed as being feminine. Men find it challenging to participate in activities (Yoga, dance, fashion and etc.) that may negatively affect how we are perceived. Some women have similar responses and misconceptions about strength training—they’re not as naturally strong—they don’t want to look too muscular.

I think those of use practicing can help expose other men by linking Yoga to activities guys tend to be more are in. I’ll show my friends poses that are relevant to things they do like powerlifting. They may never do a yoga class but having bits and pieces may eventually lead to them trying a class.


#5

Fear. It’s the underlying reason a lot of people don’t do a lot of things. This, I believe is true with men and yoga. The amazing thing, that I found out, is yoga can begin to absolve us of our fears. So, it would do all men well to practice yoga!


#6

We’ve noticed this too, in the yoga studios or workshops we attend. Often my husband is one of a few, or the only, man in the class. The Breathing Space Studio in Victoria (http://www.breathingspacebrentwood.com/index.html), where we attend classes, offered a yoga series in the spring just for men. I’m not sure how well the session was attended, or their plans for the future for offering similar sessions, but it demonstrates that this phenomenon is not lost on yoga studios, and some studios are trying to address it in creative ways. One of my favourite philosophy books “The World Peace Diet” (by Will Tuttle PhD, a Zen Dharma Master) delves into this phenomenon in great depth - how and why it came to be that our culture undermines and suppresses “Sophia”, what the author refers to as being the feminine dimension of our human nature, and how we can all break free of this cultural force to move to a culture that embraces (and heals) Sophia. I think the current globalized cultural paradigm is at the root of why we don’t see men in yoga classes, and I really applaud the men who have the courage to break out of this culture, and embrace a health-promoting, peace-embracing lifestyle.