In honor of Movember.
Every once in a while I am approached by a woman after class asking me how she can get her boyfriend/husband to do yoga? How good it would be for his back/stress/insomnia. I don't have the answer, my husband started because I had just begun teaching yoga and the classes were very small, so he was there as a filler, to make the other people feel more comfortable. From there, I guess it grew on him, and he works at the studio, so the classes are conveniently located.
When the women do drag their husbands in, they often arrive with an air of arrogance. They extend their arm for a quick handshake and in their eyes seem to say "Lets get this lame class over with". Although I'm not a very competitive person, I'm always up for this challenge. My favorite part is midway through class when I look over to see him sweating profusely with a deer-in-headlights look on his face while his wife/girlfriend flows seamlessly through the sequence. I know it's a little evil on my side, but it's satisfying to burst another bubble of misconception that yoga is for sissies.
After class the men are always humble and grateful, and most of them come back. I'm always proud of them for getting through it and stepping far out of their comfort zones. I know it's difficult to walk into a yoga studio, especially if you think you're not flexible, and especially if you are a man coming into a female dominated space, but times are changing and we have one of the highest percentage rates of men at our studio. My husband often boasts to his musician friends about the benefits of flexibility and focus, and to the single guys about it being a great place to meet woman. What's sexier than a guy who does yoga?
I'm not saying this is the case for every guy, we have lots of men who come to the studio, and several who have dragged their wives to class, but the reaction I get from most men is that yoga is lame, and not enough of a physical challenge for them. There are many different styles of yoga, but you have to at least try before bashing it.
As a personal challenge this month, I will go out of my comfort zone into the male dominated world of cross-fit and take a class with friend and coworker, Tom. The last time I was in a gym was high school gym class! I invite you to step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself this month. Don't wait for your body to break down before you take care of it.