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Guy Talk: Yoga Hesitations

Historically, only men were allowed to practice the ancient arts of self-awareness and enlightenment. Eventually yoga became open to both genders, especially as it was westernized. But after so much growth in the practice, it once again became segregated among the sexes. This time though, it is now the men that have a stigma with yoga.

Many men would refuse to listen to anyone who would try to tell them the benefits, and would simply disregard it. Others know the benefits and simply have hesitations or questions about getting started. Regardless of the category you are in, here are some thoughts that men are likely to have before stepping into the yoga studio.

“I can’t touch my toes”
There seems to exist an idea that you have to be flexible to practice yoga. On the contrary, you practice yoga to gain flexibility and fluidity in the body. Similar to the notion “you are what you eat,” your body’s state reflects the activity or non-activity you give it. If you have stiffness in the body, the body will remain stiff. If you have a sedentary lifestyle, your body will adapt to that position. Likewise, if you add yoga and movement into your life, your body will gain flexibility and mobility.

“I’ll mess up”
Unlike sports or other extra curriculars, yoga should not be competitive. It is a personal practice that should employ patience, humility, and awareness. Sure, there are times when people allow their ego to make an appearance. But it is not about who can do a pose the best. If you attempt a posture and fall out or simply cannot do it, it’s not the end of the world. The instructor will guide you through with cues to get you back in the pose, or even give you different modifications that you can do. You may even be commended for “listening to your body.” Forget what others in the room may think. They will be too focused on their own practice to pay attention to yours anyways. Just do your thing, and everything will come in due time.

“I’ll look dumb”
One of the best things about yoga is that everyone can participate. You don’t have to worry about anyone being better than you because everyone is there to better themselves and focus on their own practice. There are no colored belts, no grades, and no gold stickers. The only judge of your practice is you. You follow your own pace, do what you can, and use the physical practice to gain mental clarity and calm. Classes will be filled with beginner yogis to advanced yogis. If you see someone working on something that looks like a pretzel, don’t be discouraged. They may have been working on that for years. Don’t compare your practice to anyone else’s. Just simple show up and dedicate the time to learning and experimenting. Even advanced yogis had to start off from somewhere.

So forget the myths you’ve heard and grab a yoga mat. The benefits of yoga far exceed the fears that surround it. Sure, you may be in a room with more women than men, but you will be respected more for seeing the value in the practice, rather than falling into the mindset of it being just for women. Not only will it stretch out your tense muscles, it will also help relieve the daily stress in the body and mind. It takes a wise person to understand self-care and experience things for themselves. There’s nothing girly about that.

Still unsure about yoga? Ease into it with our live streaming app, My Joy Yoga. Stream live classes straight to your mobile device, and allow yourself to get comfortable with the practice in your own home before heading to the studio. Once you're comfortable, join us at a Joy Yoga Center studio to get more individual instruction and deepen your practice.

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