How to Take the Yoga Plunge When You're a Man

Man doing Yoga

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Sometime in yoga's recent history, a gender shift occurred. Yoga, which traditionally had been practiced only by men, began to be dominated by women. Indra Devi, known as the First Lady of Yoga, is credited for popularizing yoga in the U.S. when began teaching yoga to actresses like Greta Garbo at her Hollywood studio. Devi was also one of the first Western women to study yoga in India.

Today, an average yoga class will likely have more female than male students. In the United States, your yoga teacher is also more likely to be female, although there are a great number of prominent male teachers, including the founders of some of yoga's most popular contemporary styles.

A lot of men worry that yoga is not appropriate for them because they aren't naturally flexible. But flexibility is not a prerequisite for yoga. The fact is, men have a lot to gain from yoga and are as welcomed as women in almost every situation. If you are a man who has been wanting to try yoga, here's the information you need to make that leap.

Getting Started

Before you dive in, consider learning a few basic poses that you can practice on your own so you can feel more prepared for your first classes. After that:

To Get Yoga-Ready:

  • Read up on the different types of yoga, and choose one that best suits you
  • Watch some yoga videos online (try YouTube, YogaGlo, or DoYogaWithMe) to get a feel for a typical class
  • Pick an intro level class to start with. You'll probably be surprised at how quickly you will learn

Here are some tips to get started on doing yoga:

  • How to start doing yoga: There are many men who want to try yoga but feel like they don't know where to start. This guide takes you through it step-by-step, including choosing a yoga type, picking a class, knowing what to expect, daily stretches, and what you should and shouldn't do.
  • Flexibility isn't a prerequisite: Many men think they can't try yoga because they can't touch their toes. Thankfully, touching your toes and being flexible is not required for doing yoga. Flexibility can be developed over time.
  • Beginning poses for men: Learning a few basic poses means you can practice on your own or feel more prepared for your first classes.

Gear Heads

Here's some fun gear for yoga:

  • Yoga equipment: Yoga doesn't require much, but it's helpful to have your own yoga mat that you can bring with you to the studio. Choose a sturdy, no-slip brand like Jade Harmony or Liforme. Blocks are helpful for any level of practitioner, and while most studios will provide them for use you may consider investing in your own for your home practice.
  • Yoga pants for men: There's a whole world of specialized moisture-wicking yoga pants just for men for you to move around with comfort and ease.
  • Yoga shorts for men: If you prefer to practice in shorts, there's a range of lengths to choose from, including mid-calf to upper thigh.
  • Yoga gifts for men: Now that you have fully embraced yoga, you can send a list of some of the best yoga gifts for men to family and friends whenever the appropriate occasion may come up.

Yoga Reading List

If you're the type of guy who likes to read, these books on yoga might be for you:

  • Stretch: The Unlikely Making of a Yoga Dude: Neil Pollack is funny and his transformation into a yoga dude provides plenty of opportunities for laughs.
  • Yoga Anatomy: Leslie Kaminoff's book depicts yoga poses from the inside out by using anatomical drawings to highlight the effects of each pose on the body.
  • The Wisdom of Yoga: If you’re interested in yoga philosophy but the idea of learning Sanskrit concepts seems a bit overwhelming, Stephen Cope offers practical, easy-to-digest insight on ancient yogic wisdom. If you’re interested in learning how to apply yoga’s teachings to your every day experiences then look no further.
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Article Sources
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  1. Martin D. The New York Times. Indra Devi, 102, Dies; Taught Yoga to Stars and Leaders. April 30, 2002.

  2. Gregoire C. HuffPost. The Real Reason Yoga Is Still Dominated By Women. October 28, 2013.

  3. Crow A. Yoga Journal. Patanjali Never Said Anything About Limitless Flexibility. Updated April 6, 2017.