Why is yoga so popular with young women and so unpopular with men of all ages.
I won’t pretend to understand women and what they think (This will come as a relief to my wife and female friends) but I think I can offer some insights when it comes to men.
Many men grow up in competitive team sports. Yoga is neither.
Yoga studios in North America are almost universally owned or run by women. This shouldn’t be a factor but it is.
Many yoga studios in North America are feminized or “new-aged” festooned with crystals and funny hanging things. There are plants growing in pots and colourful decorations of dubious Hindu inspiration. They smell…well, nice and not like a gym.
None of these things considered alone means much but if you’re a man walking into this environment for the first time it’s akin to going in for a Brazilian !!! Not going to happen.
So where do men go? I’m also a member of my local YMCA and on any given morning there’s more men there than I see all year doing yoga.
So what’s the solution?
My own yoga studio owner has kept the reception area and studio rooms pretty plain. There are a couple of men who teach there as well. If not male friendly, it’s at least gender neutral.
I did a week-long yoga / meditation retreat in Toronto two years ago at The Center of Gravity studio and at least 1/3 of the room was male. Two of the three main instructors were men (Lead by internationally known and renowned Michael Stone). Of the women, I’d say many, if not most, we’re some of the most together women I’ve ever met.
These were not people soaking and lost in their personal issues. These were people alive in the world. Frightening in their physical abilities (even, perhaps especially those with disabilities) and fearsome in their intentions these were very interesting people to hangout with for a week. I was very grateful for the opportunity to participate in this amazing community.
In future posts I’m going to explain why you’re going to want to buy stretchy pants and your own mat and how to clean it and how to bend over without hurting yourself and how to say “no” to 25-year-old dead-drop pretty and muscular “Miss Power Yoga” (These are real mitigating factors when it comes to visually oriented male libidos.) when she puts her hand on the base of your spine saying “You can do it!”
Not only can’t you do it (at least not yet) and you shouldn’t even try.