Why I’m so inspired by yoga dudes
I’ve had the privilege to be the substitute teacher for the Men’s Only Yoga Therapy class at the studio where I teach about half a dozen times in the past year.
I’m always so excited to hang out with these guys. There are probably about twenty of them who are semi-regular. They make me laugh and they take their yoga seriously.
What do I love so much about them??
1. They are hands-down the best listeners of any group of students I’ve ever taught.
When I say breathe, they breathe. And they are such good breathers (this will only be exciting for you if you are a yoga teacher). They really do listen to what I say and, as such, I feel like they get a really good breath experience out of every class. They really do link their movements to their inhalations and exhalations.
2. The only lululemon in the room is my own.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love me some wunder unders. But as someone who is not a “typical” yoga teacher (ie. I’m neither tall, nor thin, nor can I put my leg behind my head) it’s always really cool for me to spend time in a class full of people who don’t fit the commercial profile either. These dudes are between 35 and 65. Most of them wear sweatpants and tee-shirts out of beer boxes. Dear God, I love them for it.
3. They really commit.
I’m believe firmly that there is a yoga for everybody. I teach it and I practice it. When I guide these men into meditation and ask them to take a realistic snapshot of where their bodies are at in the moment, it is my belief that they do exactly that. They take note of where they are and they initiate practice from that exact spot!! That’s how we end up with a yoga practice that feels really good – not by pushing or pulling our bodies into places they’re not ready to go yet, but by being in the body we’ve been given and stretching it a little at a time.
4. They’re so happy to be there.
Have you ever gone to a yoga class and mentally checked it off your list of stuff to do today? I totally have. Guilty as charged. When I teach this class full of dudes, they seem to me to be relieved to be on their mats. They warm up while they’re waiting for class to begin. They hang out and breathe. I could take a page out of this book, believe me.
Question is, why don’t more men come to yoga classes??
My husband had a yoga practice before we started dating so I don’t have the problem of trying to drag him by the mat out the door on yoga days, but my very athletic father keeps saying he “should” come to yoga and then…doesn’t.
Admittedly, I’m seeing more and more men attending co-ed classes. But by “more” I’m still talking about less than ten percent of attendees. I try to make sure not to use any butterfly wings references when they’re there but sometimes one slips out.
One of my male friends once suggested that I change the name of my yoga class to “Face Punch Class” in order to entice the snakes-and-snails-and-puppy-dog-tails-sex.
I don’t have an answer to my own question, but I’m totally open to your take on things. Mostly, I just wanted to share with you how inspired I am by the group of dudes I got to practice with last night.
If you’re a guy and you have a steady practice, tell me what your inspirations are. Tell me what first got you on a mat.
See you in class?