Can Men Do Yoga?
It should come as no surprise that gender doesn’t dictate what you can and can’t do. But if you’re here reading this, you’ve probably been curious about this question, “Can men do yoga?” Is yoga too ‘girly’ for men? Yoga in itself is not masculine or feminine, let’s look at why this is and learn about how men specifically can benefit from practicing yoga.
The origins of yoga look very different from what we see today. Back in the day in India, the world of yoga was pretty much dominated by men. The view of yoga being more for women didn’t come about until more recent years and seems to have originated in more Western type culture.
When the word ‘yoga’ is translated into English, it means ‘union‘. The practice of yoga is about seeing union and connection in the world. This union is beyond gender as we all have both masculine and feminine energy within us. If yoga is truly about unity, then there are no gender requirements.
Let’s break this down and examine some common questions and misconceptions that may be deterring men from practicing yoga.
1. Is yoga more geared towards women?
Like you have already learned in this post, we all have both masculine and feminine energy within us. Ideally, we want to keep these energies balanced. Yes, as a man you may be more inclined to lean toward having more masculine energy but feminine energy is just as important. Feminine energy is about being able to rest, tapping into your creativity, and being nurturing. We all need these aspects at times just as we all need masculine energy at times to helps us to take initiative and achieve our goals.
The point is that both are important and yoga works to bring the two into balance. If you feel that you have difficulty connecting with more feminine aspects of your energy, something like a slow flow yoga class or restorative yoga may be helpful. But this doesn’t mean that all of yoga is focused on the feminine. Something like sun salutations, which are often found in vinyasa practices, are about working with masculine energy.
The point is that yoga can help you to create this balance within and is not focused on only the feminine.
2. Are men flexible enough to do yoga?
First off, there are many different types of yoga out there and not all types of yoga work on flexibility. For example, meditation is part of yoga which really has nothing to do with flexibility.
But yes, there are forms of yoga that do work on flexibility such as vinyasa yoga practices. But the key here is that they work on flexibility. You don’t need to have a specific prior level of flexibility to practice, through your practice you’re going to be working on improving flexibility.
If this still doesn’t have you sold, just know that there are many ways to practice different yoga poses to make them work for you and your body. For example, if you can’t straighten your knees and get your heels to the floor in downward dog, then there are ways to change this posture to make it work for you such as bending your knees. There are many simple ways to make adjustments to yoga poses to suit your needs.
This question of flexibility is probably why yoga has become more popular with women as opposed to men in the west. Because yes, women naturally tend to be more flexible than men because of the differences in our anatomy and physiology.
But to keep the body healthy, it’s important to work on not only strength, but also flexibility and mobility. This is true for both women AND men and yoga happens to be a great tool for improving flexibility.
Men still need flexibility and can use yoga to work on this area of fitness.
3. Is yoga really an intense enough workout for men?
Like we’ve already discussed, yoga comes in many forms. I guarantee you can come out of some power yoga classes feeling more fatigue in your muscles than after weight lifting. It really just depends on what you’re looking for.
Some of the most intense workouts I’ve experienced have been practicing kundalini yoga. Kundalini can get crazy intense!
I know I’m a female writing this but my husband used to make those comments, “Yoga doesn’t count as a workout.”
I finally got him to try it and he was sweating way more than me… just saying.
Go ahead, do 108 sun salutations and tell me you’re not physically tired.
4. What if I'm the only male in a yoga class?
While I can’t promise that you won’t be, don’t let this hold you back from practicing. Overall, yogis are kind and accepting people that will make you feel welcome.
You can also practice at home but I’m telling you, once you finally go to a class, this worry will be a thought in the past.
I used to be self-conscious about going to the free weight area in my gym because I’d be the only female, (this was before weight training became so popular with women.) But anyway, after doing it a few times, I honestly didn’t think about it anymore and realized I really didn’t give a sh*t. Let that be some inspo for you.
Now you know the answer is YES to, "Can men do yoga?"
If you feel the call to practice yoga, you should. Whether it’s to improve flexibility or to decrease stress or to grow spiritually, all are great reasons to practice.
And since you read this post, I’m guessing you do have some interest in yoga so go try it out! This practice has been life changing for me and I wouldn’t want you to miss out based on false gender assumptions. And if you really feel uncomfortable going to a class, then start at home! I have plenty of free yoga classes on my youtube channel that are great for yogis of all levels. If you’re interested you can find them here: Yoga Class Playlist