The Men of Yoga: Your Favorite Yoga Journal Teachers Weigh In


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Although yoga is traditionally a male practice, male yogis face a number of challenges from people who do not see the manly appeal.

Some people believe that yoga is a girly, easy practice, while others believe that men just come to their mats to hit on chicks.

Yoga Journal LIVE! features a number of male and female teachers who realize how important the practice is for both men and women.

Yoga Teachers Explain 5 Common Misperceptions about Men in Yoga

Are men just “in it” to meet women?

“I think the most common misperception is that men go to class to seek out pretty women,” said Tias Little, explaining likely the most common misperception. “I think really that typically men hold tremendous tension inside and need the outlet of yoga to work through their barriers. In this sense, men need yoga to release anxiety and stress. Men harbor a lot of psychological tension due to the fact that they do not share as freely as women do about their feelings. For this reason yoga is a fantastic way for men to de-stress in both mind and body.”

Is yoga a feminine activity? 

“People who are not in the yoga community, I believe, often wrongly assume that men who practice yoga are ‘feminine’ and/or not able to engage in ‘real sports,’ Tazdeen Rashid said. “Essentially there is a stigma that males who practice yoga are “girly’ and are practicing a new-age spiritual ritual more than attending to a physically challenging workout. These misconceptions are absolutely false. Unfortunately, they deter many men from stepping onto the mat and experiencing an invigorating practice that has no limit to its athletic challenge.”

“[People say] yoga is too effeminate, too woo woo,” said Aadil Palkhivala, agreeing with Rashid. “This, of course is simply misunderstanding. Yoga is all about practical living and has no woo woo in it. Also, men don’t need yoga because they must be macho. Nonsense. It is an over macho mentality that is the undercurrent of practically all the problems on earth!”

Are men too stiff for yoga?

“I believe they include that men are too stiff to do yoga, which is very much like saying i am too poor to make money,” Palkhivala said. 

Are yoga men just weirdos?

“[They said] that we’re all overly sensitive and have particularly bad taste in music, fashion (tight capris, no shirt) and food,” said Jason Crandell who perhaps has felt different from being a yogi. “Maybe that’s my misconception. Wait, is it a misconception? Now, I’m confused.”

“What I observe is that there are fewer men practicing than women,” Gary Kraftsow said. “Maybe the misconception isn’t about men doing yoga, but rather a misconception of men about yoga!”

Kraftsow then explained the true meaning of yoga.

“Yoga is not about stretching or body contortion,” he said. “It is about deepening self-understanding, recognizing the influence of our actions on our condition, and affecting change in our condition through the intelligent application of the appropriate methods. It is not only about the physical structure, but also about optimal physic, logical functioning, balanced emotions, and a clear mind.”

Are men and women fundamentally different? 

“If a misconception exists, maybe it has to do with men being somehow fundamentally different than women when, in fact, what we really are is the same,” said Dharma Mittra. “If someone is born a man in this life, maybe next life he will be born a woman. Through reincarnation, we all get to try out every role, get to be everything. If you are short this life, maybe next life you will be very tall. Eventually, we need to learn to look beyond name and form to see that which is eternal in all.

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