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.