Couldn't agree with this article more. I started practicing in the late 1970s, at which time a teacher HAD to be male and HAD to be from India or at least HAD to claim they studied in India. Now the teachers are mostly women, the students are mostly women, and all the equipment is marketed to women, and the talk is about "pecs" and "quads." It's very alienating, and I find myself practicing at home instead of going to the studios.
If "Curves" can be workout clubs for women, "Dragons" can be yoga studios for men.
ONE MAN’S DESCENT INTO THE MADNESS OF YOGA
I’ve started doing yoga…
At the urging of my wife.
She’s says it will relax me
And extend my spine and life.
So, three times every week
I unfold my little rubber mat
And bend and stretch and wiggle
And try not to look so damn fat.
Downward dogs and cobras.
Cows that salute the sun.
There’re names for all positions,
But I’ve gone and added some….
“Beached whale” is my favorite,
And I really do it pretty well,
Gasping on my rubber beach,
Trying not to break the spell.
“Dying Buffalo” is my other.
Like I’ve been run off a cliff,
I wallow on my achin’ back
And try not to appear so stiff.
I really am a lot more limber,
And my balance is getting better…
Now I hardly ever spill my beer
As I lower down to my sitter
Yoga for men is great. I frequently use this yoga for men dvd: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00C4GIX70 - and have had great results with it.
It is also available here if you can't find it on amazon:
I did hot yoga for a bit and liked it but as a competitive powerlifter I got tired of hear the instructor say "This is going to be harder for those of you who are heavily muscled" when it was obvious I was the only one who fit that. She could have just told me which ones might be beyond me and given me alternatives before we started.
This article really did not make me want to do yoga. It reads like an article written by a woman for women about why those "big dumb uptight men" don't do yoga. If the point of the article was to inspire a man to do yoga or make him feel more comfortable going to sign up for a class then it is a complete fail.
I don't understand why more men don't do yoga. Among other thing, it often involves being around attractive women in little and/or tight clothing!
As a man who loves male company I think it's wonderful to have more men practicing yoga. I think there should be more men's only classes and male teachers. A male teacher understands male psychology and body much better than a woman. I have had classes with both men and women teachers and I prefer a thousand times being taught by men and having men as classmates. We men have this bond that should be more cultivated.
Men don't do yoga in the USA because women don't want them to. Guys need to build up muscle and look buffed for maximum sex appeal. Flexibility, balance and all the benefits of yoga are not readily visible as compared to the results from lifting weights and other more musculine activities.
Attempts that are made to include ALL people in Yoga are welcomed. However, I agree with the comment made by YogaStudent:
"I understand that this article was TRYING to make a good argument for men in yoga, however I felt that instead it simply played off of gender constructs and perpetuated stereotypes about men and women students/instructors in yoga."
One of the hallmarks of authentic Yoga is to become aware of our cultural conditioning that obscures our perception and that keeps us from being free. Cultural and gender stereotypes keep us all imprisoned. The stereotype of the macho guy, and all its insecure variations, comes from a culture that raises boys to ignore their feelings, to stifle episodes of expression, especially crying, and to 'be tough'. We train our boys to be little soldiers and generally approve of aggressive behavior, promoting violent sports such as football. Unfortunately, it's not just the men who treat boys and each other with aggression and limited ideas of what it is to be a boy or a man. Many women contribute to the narrowing of their son's emotional and social lives. I can't tell you how many times I've heard mothers say to their very young boys something like "Now that's a good boy that you're not crying." Can you believe that? So sad. Then women wonder why men are not more sensitive?
We also need to look at the inherent misogyny and homophobia that underlie many of the assumptions and comments made in this article. Many scholars have written on these subjects.
There is confusion in our culture, and the modern world in general, knowing the difference between true Power and violence. Many mistakenly think that power=violence. Learning to be aware, which means to be sensitive to your own body, and to respond to what is happening, rather than ignoring or overriding the feedback, is not something that is generally supported in the way we raise our children, especially boys. Of course, you can see incredibly dramatic expressions of this in how we treat nature, imposing our will upon nature, rather than working with it. The way we are with our bodies is simply a microcosm of this violent behavior. This is how we've been conditioned. The good news is that we can become aware of that, and re-pattern the way we approach our own bodies and nature.
For an interesting and smart analysis of this, read Rudolph Ballentine's recent book "Kali Rising".
May all beings awaken to their true nature of freedom.
I have been involved in the practice of yoga since 1967. I will be 62 next month. I clicked on the comment page to make a comment and noticed the comment before mine, also from a someone named Kenny, sums up my feelings as if I wrote them myself. Thank you Kenny.