Top 10 Reasons to Try Yoga http://t.co/wsfud6XK
Benefits of Prenatal Yoga http://t.co/ufMArBwz
Last week I was a yoga class made up mainly of women, with one lone male participant. He wasn’t as flexible as some of the participants but he wasn’t the most challenged in the class. Even though I know that I am not supposed to watch anyone else, I couldn’t help but notice him at different times during class. He was a middle-aged man, probably in his 40′s, with gray hair and a pretty fit body. He didn’t seem perturbed by being the only man in the class and he did what I was supposed to do, kept his attention on his own mat.
His presence made me think about men in yoga. Many famous yogis are male…Bikram Choudhury, Baron Baptiste, Rodney Lee, and B.K.S. Iyengar, but when I attend a yoga class, most of the practitioners are women and most of the teachers are women. What makes yoga a exercise routine mostly practiced by women? Are men more resistant to practicing yoga? I asked my partner his opinion which was probably a mistake. My partner was born in Bombay and raised in Dubai. Yoga is as easy for him as breathing and it is a natural exercise for him. He uses it for physical health and to center his soul. I then asked my son, who is 17, about trying yoga. My son struggles with anger and he often complains about not being physically fit. I thought that yoga would be a good answer to both those issues, but he declined. For my manly son, yoga was too feminine and weak. He prefers running and weight lifting.
I think that my son’s reasoning is the basis for many males negative reaction to yoga. Some men don’t see yoga as a way to get physically fit and achieve those cut muscles that are popular in men’s magazines. They want activities that are considered more masculine such as lifting weights, push-ups and pull-ups, basketball, and running. For those men, yoga is a slow, calm routine that may provide some stretching of muscles but not a real workout. Those men have not see the men I know who regularly practice yoga. One teacher has a chest that makes women drool and another has arms that all women want wrapped around them.
The power yoga that I practice shapes your body as well as strengthens. It provides a sweaty workout that soaks my clothes and leaves me gasping. For those who practice it regularly, 3-4 times a week, I see their bodies go through a transformation. For me, I have a difficult time scheduling that many workouts at a studio in one week, but when I practice 2 times a week, I do see a difference in my body. For those naysayers who think that yoga is for weaklings, I dare them to try a heated power yoga class. Nothing will prepare you for what you experience and you will leave feeling like you have been run through a wringer. Men or women will find that power yoga gives you a strong workout, which is what physical exercise is about.
Men need to drop their preconceived notions about exercise. Yoga is for everyone, at all levels, but hot power yoga is not for novices to working out. It is a demanding practice that requires a somewhat healthy person because you will move quickly, your heart rate will increase, you will push your body through many different poses and you will be physically tired when you are done. If women can lift weights, play basketball, and run, men can do yoga. As for push-ups, you get the same workout when you do sun salutation A. Yogis have great arms!
Response to Sex Scandals in Yoga Article http://t.co/DFlHk1oq
Yoga for Flat Abs http://t.co/xc1cqPnE
Recently, I have found myself resistant to going to my regular yoga classes. I quit going to the studio that I used to enjoy and I have found that I don’t want to go to classes where teachers are pushy, hyper-happy, and use words and phrases like, “breathe through the pain,” “push yourself further,” 0r (my favorite) “I used to quit when things got tough, but then I started doing yoga and now I know that I can let go and lose the pain.” I’m sorry, but my bad knee isn’t about breathing through the pain. It’s about a bad knee and when it hurts in a certain pose, I get out of that pose.
I thought that maybe yoga wasn’t for me anymore. Even though I loved the way I felt physically after class and the way that my body looked, I didn’t like the way that I felt during class. I felt bad if I couldn’t get into a pose. I felt guilty if I missed a class. Every where I looked people were talking about going to yoga, but most of the people I knew who practiced regularly aren’t single mothers with three kids and their own business. I started to resent yoga. That is not what yoga is for.
About the same time, my daughter started her year-round competitive cheerleading practices. I am an assistant coach for her squad and so I spend two days a week watching 8 girls warm-up and practice. I offered some tips on better stretching based on my yoga practice and the Head Coach liked what I said. After a couple of conversations, I developed a yoga routine for the girls to use as their warm-up session. While the girls don’t always like the poses, they are getting stretched in a safe, accurate way for their cheerleading moves and I re-discovered my love of yoga. I realized that I like practicing at home, on my time, in my own way. I like occasional classes as a reminder of how to set up my poses, alignment and stability, but I like having my music on, being in my room, doing my thing. And I don’t miss the 20 minute drive one way to the yoga studio.
Yoga is not about being competitive or about being pushed to your limits. Yoga is about knowing yourself and how your body work and accepting that. It’s not a focus on physical exertion, but rather physical health. Being healthy is what counts, not how far your can get in half pigeon. I do love yoga. I love stretching and I love feeling in tune with my body. Yoga brings me peace. That is what I want to share about yoga. Find your yoga and find your peace. And burn those calories at the same time.