I have recently added a Men’s Basic Yoga for Flexibility 6 week series to the class schedule. Let me give an explanation for this decision.
Men and women are different. I do not think anyone will argue with me on that one! In yoga, this difference shows up more at the basic level of the practice rather than across the board. Yoga in the west has been stereotyped for years as a gentle exercise more suitable to a woman’s body. The ratio of women to men in a yoga class has traditionally been 10 : 1 but now seems to be moving towards 8:1. Still not a good representation of the male population.
Why is it that men seem to stay away from this wonderful way to balance and bring flexibility to the body? Perhaps this goes back to the belief that men are supposed to be strong, competitive and identify with the mentality of sports. Or maybe it stems more from the natural tendency of men to be more tight and less flexible in their muscles and joints. Although girls and boys start out equally limber, by adolescence the boys seem to lose this flexibility faster than the girls. No one really knows why this happens, but it could be related somewhat to differences in hormones, musculature and even the tendency to gravitate towards certain types of activities that over-develop certain muscle groups. Muscular imbalance can cause the tightness and pain many men experience.
So, why an all male yoga class? Considering the fantastic benefits everyone gets from doing yoga, I have decided to offer a class that will entice more men to try this form of movement. Let’s take away the pressure of being in a class with lots of flexible women and then provide a practice of warmups and poses geared specifically towards bigger bodies that need more flexibility in muscles and joints along with the development of smaller muscle groups often neglected through other sports and exercise. Besides, an all guy class could be more relaxed with a focus on making yoga fun!