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Men and Yoga (To InnerAthlete)

jmcdan32010-07-04 22:23:36 +0000 #1
Hey buddy, I just would like to start off by saying that I enjoy reading your posts. You obviously have done extensive research on the topic. I also happened to notice that you went to Towson University. I happen to be a senior there! I practice Ashtanga on a regular basis. What do you practice? I find myself to be one of the only males in my community (Bel Air/Towson) practicing any form of yoga. What is up with this? Reading your work has given me inspiration to continue and to help eliminate the stereotype that "male yogis are homosexual" at Towson. Nothing against that I just do not understand why people tend to associate these two lifestyles together. Unusual if you ask me.
mikesbytes2010-07-04 22:32:27 +0000 #2
Hi jmcdan, I've noticed this comment on a number of occasions the lack of males participating in yoga in the US. Things are quite different in Sydney, Australia, sometimes I go to yoga classes that have more males than females. Usually there are more females than males, but it would be a rare occasion that I'm the only male in the class. As for what these males do with their personal life, while I don't go around asking, I would say that the % would be similar to the general population. So it does seem to be a regional thing.
InnerAthlete2010-07-04 22:50:36 +0000 #3
Thank you J for those very kind words.

I've just recently returned from Maryland and I was hoping to get out to Susquehanna Yoga in Timonium and take class with Suneel. Unfortunately family obligations caught up with me and I did not make the time. Next trip.

I think there are a couple of "reasons" for the perception you mention. The first is the age group of college males. It is the rare 22 year old american chap who's got his head squarely on his shoulders. The rest are phobics of one sort or another. It's merely a function of being disconnected with the Self - exacerbated by massive stimuli from television, gaming, sports, and the like. Moderation is fine. Excess is intoxicating.

The second is that East Coast mentality. I find the environment here a bit more tolerant all the way round - politically, environmentally, fashionably, sexually, you name it it's pretty much okay here in Seattle. Baltimore, for all its trying, is still quite uptight, much like a constricting pair of briefs.

The third reason is that yoga studios do not have the slightest idea how to reach your demographic. And, if they do have an idea apparently implementing it has not been successful. So your peers simply are not educated through the marketing channels currently employed by yoga people. They may be connected to source but they are often not connected to Porter's competitive forces blueprint: www.referenceforbusi...-5-Forces-Model.html .

So ignorance is rampant. Ask the average Joe off the street and they'd have no idea that yoga, classically speaking, was ONLY practiced by men in India. As far as I can tell, women were forbidden. Now I'm not advocating such a position but it is obviously 180º today.

However, I have a couple of classes that have several men in them and they are there almost without exception. My two lunchtime classes are perhaps 60% male. Again, a function of the Left Coast.

I do not see how a connection is drawn between homosexuality and yoga though it is almost always drawn by those who know nothing about either.
Pandara2010-07-04 23:37:01 +0000 #4
Hi,

It is true what IA says, yoga was traditionally practiced only by men in India. In South Africa it used to be an all or mostly female thing to do yoga, but SA has changed tremendously over the last 10 years or so and we see a greater number of men attending classes. It is still not equal to or exceed women yogis, but the growth and interest is there.

About the homosexual charge, I think it might be so in the US, but in my years as a yogi and now as a teacher I find that most of the men are married and doing yoga with their wives, there are gays as well, but their numbers are in proportion to the percentage of gays in society, i.e ± 10% of the population.

Fortunately we have come a long way in SA through many discriminations in the past and I always feel that there is a greater move towards tolerance, acceptance and understanding under my fellow South Africans. SA also have extremely liberal laws in terms of minorities such as gays etc.
WalterJ2010-07-04 23:00:56 +0000 #5
Maybe it is because I don't get out much, possibly because I am old, maybe it is because I don't really care what someone’s sexual preference is or could be because I am new to Yoga but I live pretty much on the East Coast, use to live a few mile from it at one time, and I have never heard anything about homosexual and Yoga.

But I will say the last time I took a yoga class was many years ago and I believe there were about 12 students and only two of us were male. And the majority of classes I have seen over the years were predominantly female.
Bridgette2010-07-04 23:59:18 +0000 #6
I think the only correlation between homosexuality and yoga lies in the fact that as outlaws to the mainstream it has forced them [the gay community] to cultivate an open mind. Most people (I'm going to throw out a stereotype here, brace yourself) who come to yoga, usually do so with an open mind. It's the rare individual who comes to yoga with a closed mind unless being dragged by another individual. You almost have to have some degree of open-mindedness.

I think there is far more pressure on males then on females about unspoken cultural rules in America especially. Men have to "fit" a certain demographic in some peoples thinking which includes being macho, emotionless, and over all close-minded. It has gotten significantly better over the years and I think yoga is appealing to straight guys more and more.

I always think of a friend of mine who once told me the reason he first started yoga class is because it was a 1:8 ratio and he was sure to get a date out of it. :P
mikesbytes2010-07-05 00:49:32 +0000 #7
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bridgette



I always think of a friend of mine who once told me the reason he first started yoga class is because it was a 1:8 ratio and he was sure to get a date out of it. :P

Yes there's some great eye candy out in the yoga classes, not that I notice of course
WalterJ2010-07-05 01:58:19 +0000 #8
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bridgette



I always think of a friend of mine who once told me the reason he first started yoga class is because it was a 1:8 ratio and he was sure to get a date out of it. :P

I would be lying if I said that was not at least part of my motivation the first time I started Yoga many years ago
jmcdan32010-07-05 00:25:36 +0000 #9
i have noticed the large women to men ratio in yoga classes and i still fell thats odd. i understand that most men have terrible flexibility and going to a yoga class would completely destroy their ego. in terms of the homosexuality thing, i only hear it among the younger crowd. if i tell an "older" person that i do yoga, they are like "great, i should too bc i have horrible back pain." however, if someone at a social event on campus hears that i do yoga (some already know, i enjoy it outdoors) then its like im gay or something. perhaps the frat guys are jealous that i can have a sober conversation with a group of girls about something interesting
jmcdan32010-07-05 00:52:38 +0000 #10
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bridgette



You almost have to have some degree of open-mindedness.

I did cry 4 times during the notebook if that classifies me as having an open-mind haha
Bridgette2010-07-05 00:17:17 +0000 #11
Quote:

Originally Posted by jmcdan3



I did cry 4 times during the notebook if that classifies me as having an open-mind haha

I think being sensitive is a bit different then open-minded but it's touching none the less.

As far as the flexibility being an issues with males, on the same token men’s bodies tend to be more adept at certain styles. IE Ashtanga. It seems to require more strength and that's kind of what worried me about the style. If you would have said I would be working on the Ashtanga primary series a year ago I would have laughed because the whole style seemed so impossible. (Only reason I started was because the only yoga teacher in my area was trained in Ashtanga and it got me interested and who would have known I would fall in love with it. )

What I'm trying to say though is allot of times we try to play to our strength (what’s safe) and we don't attempt a style that may reveal our weaknesses and address them. Just like I didn't want to try Ashtanga or power yoga because I knew I didn't have a whole lot of strength, men might not want to try yoga because the feeling of being too inflexible. I always tell my fiancée who I’ve been trying to drag to classes, that the best yogi in the room is not the one with the deepest forward bend but the one that knows there limit and is thankful for every little movement.
Pandara2010-07-04 23:18:54 +0000 #12
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bridgette



I always tell my fiancée who I’ve been trying to drag to classes, that the best yogi in the room is not the one with the deepest forward bend but the one that knows their limit and is thankful for every little movement.

Hi Bridgette,

Thank you for this insight, this is something I wanted to share with my yogis for sometime now, but didn't knew quite well how to say it, but you have said it for me.

Blessings to you.
mikesbytes2010-07-05 03:09:34 +0000 #13
Quote:

Originally Posted by jmcdan3



I understand that most men have terrible flexibility and going to a yoga class would completely destroy their ego.

Terrible flexibility was the main reason, amongst others that I started yoga. I assumed that females would be naturally better at yoga. Can't see what the problem is with females being better than me at something. What surprised me in the early days was there was one female that was worst than me
sarahy2010-07-04 23:47:46 +0000 #14
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bridgette



I always think of a friend of mine who once told me the reason he first started yoga class is because it was a 1:8 ratio and he was sure to get a date out of it. :P

so what's the converse because i'd love to go somewhere with the same ratio but inverse.

oh- wait a minute...i belong to a 4x4 club, i think the ratio there is about 100:1 (we have about 3000 members and 30 are women). and still no date...hmmmmm. must be me.

sarah
Bridgette2010-07-05 01:39:48 +0000 #15
Quote:

Originally Posted by sarahy



so what's the converse because i'd love to go somewhere with the same ratio but inverse.

oh- wait a minute...i belong to a 4x4 club, i think the ratio there is about 100:1 (we have about 3000 members and 30 are women). and still no date...hmmmmm. must be me.

sarah

Hahaha! Yeah, us girls defiantly still have the ratio factor working for us even if it isn't in yoga!
yogabond2010-07-05 03:32:56 +0000 #16
Whenever I get to a Yoga class with my girlfriend at her gym there are always 80% women there. Yoga is a great workout, I am a bit surprised about the rations.

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