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.

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.

How to Start a Yoga Practice

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. And there are a few more things you can do to prepare yourself for your new yoga practice.

Before Your First Class

  • 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.

Yoga Advice for Beginners

There are many men who want to try yoga but feel like they don't know where to start. It can be helpful to use a beginner's guide that 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.

Don't Be Intimidated

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.

Read Ahead

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" by Neil Pollack: Pollack's transformation into a yoga dude provides plenty of opportunities for laughs.
  • "Yoga Anatomy" by Leslie Kaminoff: This 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" by Stephen Cope: 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. This book can help younapply yoga’s teachings to your everyday experiences.

Get Equipped

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. You'll also appreciate yoga pants or shorts just for men so you can move around with comfort and ease.

1 Source
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  1. Crow A. Patanjali never said anything about limitless flexibility. Yoga Journal.

By Ann Pizer, RYT
Ann Pizer is a writer and registered yoga instructor who teaches vinyasa/flow and prenatal yoga classes.