Why more men don't do yoga.
For all my dudes out there that think they're tough I'm calling you out! All you D-bags with tribal tattoos, lifted monster trucks and bigger arms than legs. We know its all for show. You ain't tough. I know tough guys. I've been training with some of the top Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitors in the world for years. I'm not impressed. So let's see what you're made of and get you on a yoga mat.
You heard right. I said get your big bulky mass into down dog. Your 400 pound bench and muscle milk isn't going to help you here. No sir. Step into a quality yoga studio for the first time and you're going to get an ass kicking you won't believe. If you can even make it through. Which you won't. Cause all those bicep curls have only made you soft.
If you want to get hard, find a good yoga teacher. I'm telling you from experience. I practice MMA, circuit train, compete in BJJ, played college football, completed triathlons and have won 5K races and by far and away nothing is more challenging then a intense yoga class. From the very first attempt it will strengthen your will and reveal what you're really made of. It will straight up humble you bro, and have you reassessing your idea of fitness.
Eight years ago when I stumbled into my first yoga class, I didn't know what I was getting into. Subconsciously I was looking for something spiritual, consciously I was looking for beautiful, on point chicks and to get in better shape. Naturally I went to the hardest class I could find (with the cutest teacher) and never sweat so much in my life. It was unbelievable! The workout. The mindfulness. The way it made me feel. It was awesome. Oh and the guy to girl ratio was 1:20. (hasn't changed much) I was hooked.
Since that time I've matured and yoga has exploded! According to a 2012 Yoga Journal report the number of practitioners has increased 30% with 20 million people in the United States now practicing regularly. According to the survey the top five reasons for practicing are; flexibility, conditioning, overall health, stress relief and fitness. Despite this only 17% of regular practitioners are male. Just last week I taught a class and I was the only gentlemen there. What are you fellas doing that you would rather your wives and girlfriends get sweaty with me? And don't tell me you're working, because most of them are as well. The stress relief and six pack alone should be enough for any alpha male to practice but as a bonus you get to surround yourself with beautiful (inside and out) people that are at least trying to be better. Usually for less then $20.
The only reason more men aren't practicing is because they either think yoga soft, or they're not comfortable enough with themselves to walk into a new environment. I get it. It can be intimidating to try new things or activities we don't excel at. Which is exactly why you should try it. The more something is out of your comfort zone, the more you have to gain by making the attempt. It's like food. Remember when you wouldn't eat broccoli and all the great healthy food you eat now? Exploration opens up new worlds. If you don't like it you can always go back to being basic.
There are very few arguments against the physical and mental benefits of practicing. Regardless of your body type or fitness goals, yoga will help you get there. The days of working out at a box gym pushing around dumbbells and cable machines are over. The new body building is functionality. Through performing a sequence of postures or poses called asanas yoga gets you functional. Keep doing whatever else you enjoy doing. I like BJJ, running and cross training. Yoga has enhanced my performance in each. My clients actively participate in everything from professional MMA to surfing to golf. There is seemingly no physical activity that isn't dependent on the qualities of coordination, balance, flexibility, strength, concentration and awareness that yoga helps to develop. Additionally although certain styles are extremely intense, unlike most anaerobic and aerobic exercise, there is a restorative aspect to yoga. So you can practice often without wear and tear on the body and well through your later years of life.
So grow some cajones and make your way into a studio and onto a mat. Heated or unheated, style or discipline, male or female instructor, it really makes no difference. Just go and be with yourself for an hour. See how you feel afterwards. Stick with it for ten sessions and if you're not more physically and mentally capable I'll give you your money back. Yes. I'm that confident because if you're willing to commit, the practice will insure you're subjected to adverse conditions. If you make it through, you're a resilient bad ass. Exactly the type of mindset we need more of.
Here are some tips to finding a studio and answers to some questions dudes ask me a lot.
Where should I go? I'm a yoga slut. I find teachers that I admire and I go to whatever studio they're at. Whenever I travel I always try to checkout the local yoga scene. It will usually start with a google search of wherever I'm at and I'll spend a few minutes reading the profiles of the teachers available during my schedule. Personally I'm partial to details. Show me a good sight and clean studio with creative bios and I'll give your class a try.
Isn't yoga for chicks? Yes. Women do yoga, but yoga is for humans. Locomotion is essential to all humans, yoga will help you move efficiently and effectively.
Will I lose my bulk? If you really commit to the practice of yoga your entire body composition will change. Most likely you will melt away fat and get more definitive. In other words you'll look and feel fitter. More importantly you'll be able to use that bulk for something other then arm wrestling.
What do I bring to class? Mat, water, more water, two towels and a change of clothes. Yoga makes you sweat. A lot! I've lost as much as 7 pounds in a 75 minute heated vinyasa. So if you don't want to be that guy sweating all over his neighbors mats. Bring a towel to sweat on and another one to shower with.
What should I eat before class? Something that is going to provide you fuel. No protein shakes or artificially stimulating supplements. Go with whole foods like a smoothie, banana, rice and veggies, sweet potato, something with some substance. You're going to need it. Try to eat at least an hour before and make sure you are hydrated. (Learn more about proper hydration here)
But I'm not flexible? No shit Sherlock. That's exactly why you need to come to yoga. The same way lifting improves strength, yoga improves flexibility. Don't worry about where you start, just show up.