How To Get Your Man To Do Yoga
First off, let me apologize to all my male readers who already practice yoga. This post won’t exactly be helpful to you, and I don’t mean to lump you in with the majority and imply that you, like many of them, have some judgements about yoga that keep you from going to class. Second, THANK YOU for your presence in the yoga world. We need men in class. It creates a balanced experience. You invigorate the room with your masculine fire and there is a steadiness to the male energy that creates a sense of stability for everyone. Oh, and the bass notes of your voices make the Om sound so. much. better.
That said, there are still way too few men practicing yoga, in my opinion. I am thrilled that the winners of this year’s Super Bowl are mandated to practice yoga (some even choose the optional meditation!). I can only hope if macho men see the NFL and the military embracing it, so will they. But how else can we, who already get the massive mental, physical and emotional benefits of yoga, help our skeptical friends, regardless of their gender?
I get asked this question regularly, mostly by women who want their boyfriend, husband, friend or relative to practice. There are a few things I’ve observed that may help us spread the love without sounding like a prosthelytizing preacher.
1. You Can Lead a Horse to Water
No matter how bad you want someone — male or female — to like yoga, you can’t make them. Even if you take them to the best teacher, who teaches the class of her lifetime, it still may not stick. Be willing to accept that your man may never, ever, be into yoga. Accept him as he is. You fell in love with him for who he is, not who you think he should be, even if yoga would help him.
2. Just the Facts Ma’am
There is a gross misunderstanding that most non-yogis have about what we actually do in class. Many of the macho types think yoga is a bunch of ladies in tights, lying around on the floor breathing and talking about their “energy.” There are certainly teachers who are more new-agey than others, but it’s definitely not the norm. The person you’re trying to convince needs to know that. And you better have a class suggestion lined up that isn’t like that!
3. She Glows, He Sweats
The aforementioned misunderstanders, when they finally do make it to a class, often get their *ss handed to them. Since they think we’re lying around on the floor, imagine their shock when they’re in the back of the room dying, while the ladies next to them have barely broken a sweat. Those with less self-confidence never come back; they don’t want to feel like an idiot. Who does? It’s a good idea to tell your man that yoga is hard. He will sweat. He should bring a towel. Tell him that everyone who practices went through the same feelings while learning and they’re compassionate. If they’re really practicing yoga, they won’t be paying attention to the sweaty guy grunting his way through Crow pose anyways.
4. It’s a Stretch
Something most people understand, or have at least heard of, is stretching. This may be your “in.” If your man already stretches, or complains about being tight, remind him that yoga class will give him an advanced stretching routine. We all know it’s much more than that, but if you tell him this initially, it might scare him off (see #2). The other benefits of the practice will come to him in time, just like they did for you.
5. It’s a Solitary Journey
For many men a sense of self is defined by their ability to achieve results. When accomplishment comes by doing things alone, the sense of achievement is even greater. The group mentality is something this personality type doesn’t relate to or want to participate in. He doesn’t want to have help in yoga poses, he wants to be able to do them himself. The teacher will know this and give space to a new student, but if you, at home, try to show him, it could backfire. Instead, encourage him to try it on his own, perhaps with an app or a free video that you know is good. The solitude will give him the true sense of yoga — the inner connection — and room to gather some accomplishment before stepping into a room full of people.