It may be a lame topic to discuss and to write as a post, since Yoga has been practiced by both genders for ancients, and I also understand that Yoga was first practiced by man. So what is there to talk about a man, as me practicing Yoga?
Well, with Yoga becoming more popular in south east Asia, I think Singapore is a booming country for Yoga, or Yoga business (with so many yoga studios, yoga attire outlets/brands available), but when it comes to the ratio of both gender practitioners, woman are very dominant.
I came into practicing Yoga because I was having neck and back problem (I wrote about it here), which I found Yoga helps my problems tremendously. So I believe it is not that men generally do not prefer to practice yoga, but it is the commercial yoga business world has been trying to market yoga to the opposite gender market, look at those fancy yoga attire, flowery yoga mats, over colorful yoga gears, and then the advertisements with women in superb flexible poses which mainly to promote yoga = flexibility. Yoga promotes much more than flexibility. I am always fascinated when I saw some studios with various posters promoting Pranayama (yoga breathing techniques), Quotes about Yoga, or meditating. I genuinely think ‘Yoga leads to a calm mind’ will attract more interest from both genders, or how about ‘Yoga builds your inner strength’?
But it is not difficult to find that more men in Singapore started to gain interest in Yoga. The yoga studio that I go now, Trust Yoga used to have 1-2 men (the class can fit 23 mats) in each session when I just joined in October. But in 2 months, now I see 3-4 men in the class, and sometimes 5 men, it is a slow progress, but it is a good progress.
I am also glad to start seeing some yoga session promoted only for men, meaning the session is only open for men, we no longer have to be intimated to practice with our inflexible, hard body frame. Bro-ga, a new interesting term I learned recently.
It is also a good sign to know there are many male yoga instructors who are working constantly to promote yoga to men, which is exciting.
I heard some of my friends (who has never done Yoga) asking me some questions such as:
Question: Can I sweat out doing Yoga?
*Many people like to sweat all out when doing a workout, it gives a sense of ‘I have had a great workout’, I like that too, I feel totally refreshed after sweating a lot. What I want to say is I do not like to do any exercise in a room with strong air-conditioning; it does not make sense to me doing a workout in such condition. As long as you do not do yoga under such condition, you will sweat as much as you wish. If what you practice is Power Yoga or Ashtanga Yoga or other Yoga which has many vinyasa in the sequence, your body will generate a lot of heat, and it will not take you long to sweat profusely. So, what I wish to say is ‘Do not think Yoga is easy or Yoga is only simple stretching’, depending on your own ability and body/stamina limit, even with basic and easy poses, you can always challenge yourself to go deeper in practice, and push yourself to difficult poses, gradually.
Question: My body is so stiff, can I do Yoga?
I invited many friends to join me for free trial classes, they shouted in the class when they were asked to stretch and bend, and when the teacher went to them to help them deepen the stretching. It was funny to see macho men shouting with pain. But not one of them forgot to thank me for inviting them to the class and they told me they felt so good having their muscles stretched after the yoga class. So, if you feel your body is stiff, that is why you should go for a yoga session.
Question: I have not done any Yoga before, can I do it?
You will not know what is good or bad for you unless you try it once with an open heart. Try it to find out!
Writing this article, I also read more articles from websites, I found there are many male yogi putting as much effort as those pretty yogini to promote yoga through social media. I hope I will be one of them to make some contribution to promote Yoga to more people.
While browsing, I found some funny stuff, such as below video:
and one of my recent record of progress: