Men, listen up! It’s time to stop thinking you’ll be that guy in a yoga class full of women and get yourself on the mat because the benefits are plentiful, as Michael James Wong – founder of the Boys of Yoga movement – explains…
What are the benefits of yoga for men?
Yoga is beneficial for everyone – men and women. Yoga has so many physical, mental and emotional benefits that will serve such great value to anyone that tries it. Yoga is a great complementary practice to any physical discipline as it will help to open the body, build strength, stability and flexibility. Mentally it will help to ease stress, quieten the conversations and competitions that we are always busy with – and emotionally it will help find a connection or re-connection back to our own wellbeing.
Do you think men typically shy away from yoga because it’s not ‘manly enough’?
There are so many people who get stuck behind the stereotype and can think that the practice isn’t for them, and it’s a real shame. Yoga has such a huge benefit for all men and allowing a perception of the practice to keep you off the mat is a disservice to your own wellbeing. My best advice is to just give it an honest try, carless about the labels, and you may just be surprised by how you feel.
What would you say to men who think yoga is easy or boring?
There is nothing wrong with easy and boring. Yoga isn’t about competition or trying to achieve or win. There are so many things in our lives that are hard, arduous, effortful – and how lucky are we to have practices like yoga that actually allow us to feel at ease and are great for our wellbeing. If you ask me, easy yoga is a great practice for keeping the body fit and the mind calm.
What if they say they are not flexible?
Saying you’re not flexible enough to do yoga is like saying ‘you’re too hungry to have dinner’. The practice in effect helps the issue.
Are there any types of yoga or studios that are more suited to men?
No, yoga suits everyone. Men, like women, like all humans, are uniquely individual and each person can and will find a practice that will suit them. For some, strong and sweaty practices like vinyasa, power yoga or dynamic yoga are beneficial but other days slow and calm styles, like yin or restorative, suits just as well. The best advice I’d give for people trying to find the practice that is right for them is to just get on the mat and try them all. From there you’ll understand what practices work for you – and remember that every day is different, and so is every practice.
Michael James Wong’s book Sit Down, Be Quiet: A modern guide to yoga and mindful living is available on Amazon.
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