In ancient India, Yoga was pretty much exclusively a male occupation. If you look at the history of Yoga, you will see that all the famous Gurus who travelled to the West to share the message of Yoga were men.
And yet, oddly, in the West, Yoga is a predominantly female activity. In America, according to a recent study, 72% of Yoga practitioners are female.
This is bad news for men (and for women I have to say!).
Yoga is a powerful way of life that promotes good physical and mental health, increases strength, flexibility and muscle tone, reduces stress, improves sleep and energy levels, and much more besides.
Given the recent attention being rightly given to male mental health, we need to look at ways that men can take care for themselves differently. Much of the sport and intense physical exercise that is in the ‘male’ arena is deeply competitive in nature. While some competition is good, and striving
to be the best can lead you to great things, when it comes to taking care of yourself, competition can be counter productive. Too much competition, in the sporting world and in life, can lead to feelings of inadequacy and inferiority, causing turmoil and damage to the self esteem. In yoga, you don’t have to be THE best, you only have to be the best YOU. Yoga will help you to get to that place of acceptance of who you are in all your glorious, flawed perfection
Men can gain hugely from attending a Yoga class that is focused on relaxation, getting in tune with yourself, learning to breathe and gently nurturing the body. With the need for competition gone, there is no need to fear ‘locker room’ style mockery if you can’t get into a posture. You can quieten the ego, take a deep breath and simply be.
Judo master Huw appreciates the advantages of Yoga. He is attending my classes in Pontypridd, and is already seeing the benefits after just a few weeks. He writes
Tried yoga for the first time yesterday. Didn’t know what to expect despite having done quite a lot of research. I thoroughly enjoyed it, despite being the only male in a class of nine females. Esther was very welcoming and helpful. I was allowed to take the class at my own pace, I felt strangely energised and relaxed (if that’s even possible) after the class. I will definitely be going back. Highly recommended
Huw Jones, EGH Judo
I would love to see more men practise Yoga. I think it would do you all so much good, and be better for the people around you too.
Feel free to drop me a message if you would like to ask me anything, and ladies, please share this with the men in your life!
Esther Nagle has been practising Yoga for about 10 years, and has been a teacher for almost 4 years. Yoga has transformed her life into one of peace, wellbeing and purpose, and she loves to share this gift with others.
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