There is one thing I have noticed consistently as a yoga teacher. Men are confused by it. The language is strange and it often seems less athletic and more relaxing. There’s also a misconception that most of the people who practice regularly are women that are flexible and graceful by nature.
It’s easy to see why confusion sets in. Most of the advertising leans toward the feminine side and paints a picture that looks more like a spa experience than a challenging and effective approach to wellness. On top of that, there just aren’t that many guys making the time for something other than weights or cardio. But there’s another thing I’ve noticed…when dudes try a practice that’s physically or mentally challenging they’re hooked.
The trick is, there are so many different approaches to yoga that you have to do a little research to find the practice that has what you’re looking for. Just going to a random yoga class can have you feeling disappointed, disillusioned and frustrated. If you came to sweat and end up sitting and chanting (which also has its benefits) you will likely move on to something more familiar.
For challenging your physical limits there are styles like Ashtanga, Universal and Power yoga. For recovery from injury or to heal from a traumatic experience, there are styles such as Iyengar, Yin, Slow Vinyasa Flow, and Yoga Nidra. This is a short list of many different styles so educating yourself about what to expect from an instructor and a class is key to moving past the confusion and into a balanced method of mental and physical training.
First and foremost, yoga is a science. Yoga is not mysticism or religion. Most best practices in athletic performance training are derived from yogic principles. Most western medicine is based on yoga and it’s sister science Ayurveda. When applied properly, the practice of yoga will create a subtle systemic change that has a positive ripple effect throughout your daily routine.
Be aware. Get strong. Yoga dude.
June is Men’s Health month. Join Gordon on Tuesday, June 26th from 6:30 to 8:00 pm for a Men’s Yoga Class. Sign up through the CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center app.
Gordon Carpenter practices and teaches Universal Yoga as well as Shiva Nata. These methods were developed by Andrey Lappa and focus on yoga as a tool for complete systemic balance. In short, Gordon sees yoga as science and science is fun!