When I did my first training to become a Yoga Teacher I had never been to a Yoga Studio and I didn’t have a clue about the whole ‘Yoga Industry’ as it wasn’t something I was interested in. I was just interested in the practice and didn’t care whether I was practicing beside 30 men or 30 women. And it’s just as well as when I arrived at Anand Prikash Ashram in Rishikesh I was the only man in our intensive course out of 30 people.
It has been an absolute joy to see the amount of men arriving to YogaHub over the last few years and just this year it seems to be much more popular as the preconception that ‘Yoga is for Girls’ disappears. I’ve now seen 1000s of people arrive to YogaHub and more and more of them I am glad to say are men. So I thought I’d share a few things that a man could expect at their first time at a Yoga Class. So here goes:
1. Expect to be Physically Challenged in a Very Different Way
The Yoga Poses (Asanas) are held for a series of breaths in an isometricaly where the muscles are lengthened and strengthened at the same time. This practice is completely different to any form of sport or cardio training. There is a much deeper focus on subtle strengthening. When I first found Yoga the unexpected level of physical challenge that I met is what grabbed me and kept me coming back.
2. Expect to Be Rubbish at it and That’s Ok!
Everything in your life counters the benefits of Yoga. If you sit in work all day you will be very tight around your hips. If you lift weights, run or cycle this all creates tightness in your body. Stress sends itself around your body in the form of holding and the more stressed you are the more holding will be going on around your shoulders, back and hips. You might think to yourself at your first class everyone is great at this and I feel like the tin man about to crack. Well that just means you’re getting more out of it and that you need it more than anyone else.
3. Nobody Cares if you are Crap at it
Contrary to what your ego might be saying as you struggle in a pose. Not one other person in the studio cares that your pose doesn’t look great. Everyone is there doing their own thing and nobody is there to judge or think about how anyone else looks.
4. Bring a Towel and Water. You are Going to Sweat
I don’t think I sweat as much doing any other physical activity. Especially if I’m doing a Flow (Vinyasa) Class or Hot. There are lots of gentle Yoga practices however the fast majority of classes you will see at any Yoga studio will be Dynamic and Physically challenging. Be prepared to Sweat!
5. It finishes with relaxation and meditation so stick with it. It’ll be worth it!
Yoga practice is all about learning to be present, calming the mind and preparing your body and mind for meditation. The poses will be challenging. The purpose of which is to take you out of your head and into your body. So you are using the poses to help you stay in the moment and be as present as you can. As you focus on moving with the breath through the practice it encourages calm and relaxation. The class will finish with what’s called ‘Savasana’ meaning Corpse Pose which is lying down and letting go. You’re going to love it.
6. Expect to feel more open, clear and present afterwards
If you could see the levels of transformation I have seen in men coming to the studio I think you would be amazed. Sure there are more women that are into yoga than men but that is changing as men are finding out just how beneficial it is.
By the fact that you have to stay still in the challenging poses that means that you have to stay still with yourself. It encourages a level of self-awareness that you just don’t get within going to the gym or anything like that. The one major difference I think to many forms of physical activity is there is no goal. There is nothing to achieve. And I think that is really refreshing for most people who arrive into the practice as our culture celebrates this goal oriented existence in almost everything that we do.
There’s way more I could tell you but really the best way is to just give it a try. If you have any questions just post a comment and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can?
I found Yoga completely by accident when I was becoming a personal trainer and it has changed my entire life. I feel it is an essential part of any training regime to reduce the risk of injury. Also the benefits of a meditative practice in every aspect of my life is not something I would have anticipated before I came across Yoga.
So is this Yoga stuff only for Girls? Well if it is I’m glad they’re sharing it.
Until next time. Thanks for reading 🙂