Imagine this. Thousands of years ago, only men were allowed to practice yoga. Most branches of yoga were started by men, for men. Women were typically forbidden from practicing yoga because they were considered obstacles to enlightenment. Today, however, step into any yoga class anywhere in the world and it’s highly likely the majority of participants will be of the fairer sex. So what if you’re man, or you know a man, who loves yoga? Should it be kept a secret, a guilty pleasure to be enjoyed free of the judgment or mockery of friends, especially other men? Of course not! And here’s why:
Yoga comes with many myths – it’ll make you skinny, you’ll lose muscle, you have to hum and talk about your feelings – the distortions are endless. It’s exactly by telling other people that these fallacies will die out. If you’re a man who practices yoga then you know the benefits - physical, mental and spiritual - that can be gained. Many of your friends don’t, however, and it’s your job to educate them.
Before we go any further, let’s clarify what yoga is NOT:
Yoga is not just for young, svelte, supple women.
Did you know that the entire New Zealand All Blacks team practice yoga? Or that many NBA and NFL stars make yoga a regular part of their routine to increase flexibility, endurance and strength? I bet your friends don’t either. Tell them that basketball star Shaquille O’Neal or Wimbledon champion Andy Murray are fans of the mat, and you might see their opinion swayed.
Yoga is not for the flexible only
Believing you’re not flexible enough to do yoga is like saying you’re not fast enough to run, or strong enough to lift weights. To improve at any physical activity takes time, dedication and practice and it’s no different for yoga. Just remember, no yogi was able to bend himself into complicated knots on day one.