What Happens When Two Guys Ditch Their Fears and Try Yoga
(From April 2015)
There will be no lack of opportunities to do stereotypical Guy Things next week — playing golf, watching the NBA playoffs, discussing the NFL draft and/or, of course, figuring out what to grill.
But how many guys are aware that Sunday marks the start of D.C. Yoga Week? Heck, how many guys have even tried yoga, despite its explosion in popularity?
Well, we can think of at least two dudes who hadn’t really tried it before: We, the two male MisFits. Recently, we decided to man up and unroll the mats. Here’s what we experienced.
Des: Namaste, bro.
Mike: Namaste to you. Did we ever figure out what namaste means? Something about “my awesomeness bows to your awesomeness”?
Des: Yeah, whatever it means, I’m pretty sure we’re allowed to say it, now that we’ve gone downward, dog.
Why aren’t men doing yoga?
Yoga in America is on the rise. One survey found that 9.5 percent of adults, nearly 21 million, practiced yoga in 2012. Another report estimates that there are more than 30,000 Pilates and yoga studios in the United States.
However, there’s something missing: men. On the whole, women make up three-quarters of yoga classes, a percentage representative of our recent experiences. Why is this?
First, it seems there is a major misconception among men that yoga doesn’t equal strength. In our culture, we have the image of a “strong and fit male,” who usually lifts weights and bulks up. Weightlifting does increase strength, but there’s more to being strong, like having good balance and mobility.
More so, stretching and flexibility exercises are generally seen as means to an end, not a worthy practice in and of itself. That’s a mistake.
“Guys have tighter shoulders, it seems — carry a lot of the weight of the world on their shoulders,” said Wes Smith, who has been teaching an all-male class at Circle Yoga for more than two years. “Hamstrings are tight, so [we’re] trying to loosen up all of that. So if you just do some basic poses, you will move everything in your body to wherever it needs to go.”
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