In our experience, Yoga is something people tend to have opinions about. Positive or negative, celebratory or critical, accurate or inaccurate – more often than not, people will have an idea of what they believe yoga to be and how it fits – or doesn’t – into their lives. As the western world adopted, modified and popularised the ancient physical and spiritual practice of Yoga, countless stereotypes sprung up attempting to understand and explain what Yoga is and who Yogis are. While many of the old stereotypes have been shaken off in the last decade as Yoga has become a pretty mainstream activity, one has stubbornly refused to budge; the idea that when men go to the gym or to play football, their WAGs go to Yoga.
It is surprising that this notion of Yoga being a female dominated activity has lasted, given that is was a man, Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, who was the driving force behind bringing yoga to the Western world. BKS Iyengar and Patthabi Jois – all 20th Century Yogis responsible for spreading the Yoga word across the world, and yes exactly! – all of them are men! And still, somehow Yoga has become synonymous with female exercise.
However, there is evidence afoot that the perception of Yoga being a NO BOYS zone is changing. In the US, Robert Sidoti has a copy-write on the term “Broga” to describe his particularly strong style of Yoga, therein targeting the exact audience that Yoga has – arguably – alienated thus far. The amazing and inspiring website www.boysofyoga.com celebrates the men who teach and practice Yoga, including our very own Marcus Veda who many of you will know from his classes here at TPYC (Wednesday 19.15 – 20.15 and Friday 12.30 – 13.30). Marcus is proof in himself that men are made for Yoga. Here at TPYC we are noticing a shift in the gender balance of clients coming to the studio for their Power Yoga fix; 2015 has felt like the year of the men at our studio. And for good reason; if you are a man looking for a push to get on the mat for the first time, here are just a few benefits of practising Yoga:
Strength and flexibility
Any size and shape – don’t be put off by thoughts of a perfect ‘Yoga body’ – Yoga can and will benefit any and all body shapes. A regular Yoga practice builds strength and increases flexibility – before you know it you will be flexing those biceps and touching your toes! Don’t forget our wonderful teachers were once beginners too.
Complementary to weight training and other sporting activity
Yoga is the perfect complement to ‘regular’ exercise – it stretches out tight hamstrings, it reinvigorates tired muscles, it improves general alignment and balance. It was well documented that Andy Murray won Wimbledon after taking up a regular Yoga practice, and Ryan Giggs is known to get his downward dog on fairly regularly.
Too many of us work in sedentary environments – human bodies were not built to sit at office desks hunched over computers. Our spines are suffering the consequences of this hunching – we are a nation blighted by back pain. Yoga lengthens, strengthens and realigns the body so that muscles and bones are in the right place, and are able to support better….
So that even when you are sitting at your desk, you are sitting mindfully and responsibly. There are so many stories of Yoga curing chronic back pain, and while I’m not making any promises – it’s definitely worth a go, right?!
Mind Body Balance
And lastly, most importantly, Yoga addresses the stresses of 21st Century life. High powered, time consuming jobs and busy family lives can mean men don’t take any time for themselves. It is vital for a happy life to find some stillness in the mind at some point, and for busy people, it can seem indulgent to strive for that. Your mental capacity and your ability to think clearly will be dramatically increased if you give the mind a little break once in a while.
The benefits of Yoga are endless, and individual. Only you will know how exactly Yoga will benefit your body and your mind. So guys, what are you waiting for? The Power Yoga Company is ready for you, so come and pay us a visit and let Yoga bring strength to your body, stillness to your mind and surprise to your friends’ faces when you tell them you’ve mastered downward dog.
Our £25 for 25 days Introductory Offer is perfect for beginners to get started with yoga, and we also run private classes at the studio as per your requirements. Give us a call on 0207 736 4429 if you would like to discuss further, and we look forward to seeing you soon.