Sunday, March 30, 2008

Yoga and Men

I have been taking yoga classes regularly at Sunset Yoga and my gym and I have found that nearly 70% of the students are women. Men are far and few. When I was in Pune last year and took classes at Guruji's institute, I found that there were a lot more Indian men in the class. There seemed to be more international students who were women as well. I wonder why in the western society acceptance of yoga is so low amongst men. I know we men are not as flexible and working out at the gym and doing cardio, pumping weight is more masculine, jockish. Its what men are meant to do. Trying to do some of the poses with our tight hamstrings is obviously harder, more painful and we look like wimps while the fairer sex nail these difficult poses with perfection. It hurts our ego.

EGO! Thats it! Its the male ego that comes in the way of us men accepting yoga in higher numbers than women in our society. So I wonder if we can let go of our ego so more of us can benefit from yoga. I know my teacher Terry Peterson would love to have more men in his class. I am one of his two male students in his advanced class at Sunset Yoga and I am not a regular. He is always happy to see me in his class to add some additional testosterone to the mix. Maybe its time to find a class called "Yoga for men" or how about watching Tara Stiles' video appropriately called "Yoga for Jocks" for some inspiration.


Candice said...

I once had a conversation with Judith Hanson Lasater where we discussed the general different needs of men and women. What we came up with was that, again generally, men need a challenge and women need nurturing. I'm sure that's not a "law" but it could account for some it. I think you hit the nail on the head with ego, for sure though.
Also, men and women live so differently in their bodies, I'm discovering more and more that men have entirely different needs physically than women (we could get into the differences in hamstrings, groins, and strength here, but I suspect you already have discovered that). Interesting topic. I don't think there is a simple answer.

Theyoginme said...

I agree with your characterization in general - though don't we all need both? Yesterday my yoga teacher Terry characterized that about me, saying he expected me to absorb Asana practice better than Pranayama. He did 10 mins of pranayama after intense Asanas that were challenging and energizing. The pranayama further energized me, and I was very unsettled and couldnt close my eyes in Shavasana later. Also in the advanced classes I find women tend to stay longer in the poses than I do and they are very physically challenging. Does that make them stronger physically?