Yoga

Confession: I love yoga. I love yoga so much that I absolutely hate when people rag on it. The dumbest thing anyone could ever say is that it’s not a “real workout.” To which I always reply, “Of course it’s not! The goal is to increase flexibility and build strength, not sweat!” Flexibility and strength are totes important to any well-rounded fitness routine, people, a fact that is apparently lost of hoards of American men, according to a recent article in The Washington Post about why men hate yoga. (Only 18 percent of yogis in the States are men.)

“What happens is, a guy who doesn’t know about it, he associates it with things like Pilates or aerobics, and they think of it as a chick workout,” said Hummell.

Ugh, what? First of all, Pilates is so f-ing hardcore and second of all, what’s wrong with aerobics? The whole “some workouts are for men and some workouts are for women” trope is banal beyond words. It keeps men from working on much-needed flexibility (not to mention the bazillion other benefits of yoga like lowering blood pressure and relieving insomnia) and keeps women (including this one, sadly) from hitting the weight room.

People saying stuff like this doesn’t help, either:

“When it came to the United States, yoga became a sort of gentle gym, a noncompetitive, non-confrontational thing that’s good for you. Yoga has this distinctive passive air to it. You get into the pose and stay there.”

That’s Loren Fishman, a male doctor who writes books about yoga, talking to The Post.

See, this is why I’m so into my down-with-the-fitness-industry stuff. We’ve let corporations hijack the concept of fitness and we believe that the only time we’re doing something good for our bodies is when we are sweating like maniacs. Sweating like a maniac feels great—you feel accomplished and your skin glows for hours afterwards, but it’s not essential to constitute a “workout.”

Also, let’s not get into the “noncompetitive” equals feminine thing.

Another guy that The Post interviewed had an interesting perspective on why men say they don’t like yoga: They’re actually just butt-hurt that they’re not as good as women at it.

When men say they are bored with yoga, Poole thinks there may be something else going on.

“Our egos are deflated because we can’t do some of the poses,” he said.

To which the solution is, obviously, try a gentler class and don’t go so hard when you’re just a beginner. Just like weight lifting, there are levels to this yoga stuff.

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  • mEE

    I do hot yoga once a week, so uh sweat? check!

    there are so many different forms of yoga now that anyone who solely thinks of yoga in the meditative/deep breathing kind of way just isn’t very knowledgeable about the subject

    In my experience, most men that are extremely into fitness (not just casual gym goers) know that yoga is in no way just a “chick workout”. they realize how much strength it takes to do some of the postures. they also realize that flexibility is a different type of strength that is extremely beneficial when it comes to sculpting your body

  • The biggest problem American men have is that they are soooo insecure with their own masculinity that they’ve become caricatures of what a man is supposed to be. Any possibility that women do this or that and they run from it thinking either they’re going to suddenly become gay, or worse yet, someone will merely think they are. What a bunch of hooey. And women as a group haven’t helped this situation with their constant watch out for manly men. Equally hooey. Football players, hockey players , basketball all do yoga, and ballet to improve their moves, the moves that make them millions. So let’s work on letting humans be just plain humans, with their own individual likes and dislikes and let it go at that.

  • Brad

    Florida A&M will be the first historically black college offering Yoga Gangsters certification training.

    Students will be able to take the two-day training in January. There will be an interest meeting October 17 in the Wellness Suite of the Hansel E. Tookes Sr. Student Recreation Center .

    Yoga Gangsters exposes children of color to yoga and its benefits. The Miami-based nonprofit is now looking to expand its service beyond just children and is moving to Tallahassee, starting with FAMU.

    According to organization’s website, a yoga gangster is one who intentionally utilizes his or her thoughts, words and actions to empower humanity. Qualities include compassion, acceptance, awareness, health and willingness to grow and develop oneself to support the healing of others and the planet.

    Yoga Gangsters’ mission is to inspire youth by focusing on the signs of trauma and poverty. It serves inner city areas by providing a network of free classes teaching yoga in at-risk schools, hospitals, jails, youth centers and other non-profit organizations. Rattler Wellness and Yoga Gangsters will come together to aid the empowerment of the students who can in turn inspire those in the surrounding community.

  • Anthony

    As someone who powerlifted and studied weight training, I can say that most men and women do not actually understand weight training either. I have limited experience with Yoga, but I have enjoyed what I have done. As I get older, I appreciate less stressful forms of exercise.

  • mike

    Men would be more willing to go to yoga classes if they actually got some instruction geared to them that was not condescending or treated them as if they were hopeless cases. Female teachers, please read that sentence a few more times.

    Female teachers are very careful not to expect their female students to bust out into difficult arm balances without stopping and making the class almost “workshop” style, but they do not do the same for men with forward folds. In fact, I found that doing sun salutation at the beginning of class was counterproductive to lengthening my hamstrings. I had to figure out for myself to only forward fold in sun salutation with knees well bent even though I can do so with straight legs. Female teachers don’t seem to know that launching right into these folds is a bad deal for guys who are hoping to increase flexibility long term. I also had to teach myself ways to actually relax the hamstring muscles. Is it so hard to teach some techniques on body awareness, like lightly tensing a muscle so you can feel it relax? Female teachers don’t teach these things because their female students are naturally flexible. Well, they should step up their game when they have paying male students.

    Also, some guys want a routine they can practice at home so they can improve and see results. All this vinyasa, or movement from one pose to the next, makes it very confusing to build a home practice.

    And, every last bit of the gooey language like “melt your heart” or “surrender to the pose” needs to stop, pronto. Those phrases are meaningless. What, exactly, is involved in “surrendering”? Whatever that is, say it. Men have excellent body awareness and are perfectly capaple of fine tuning their bodies, they just need to hear something that represents a concrete, physical action.

    Last, female teachers could start modeling some appropriate attire for the female students–appropriate in terms of being non-showoffy. If yoga is not a competition and is about awareness stop making it a fashion show.