A small percentage of my private clients are men. The same goes in my group classes...just one or two men regularly attend my classes at Yoga on the Square and Vintage Senior Center. But, I'd like to see that number grow.
In preparation for writing this, I googled men and yoga...and what I found bordered on ridiculous. Pictures of buff tattooed men in handstand balancing on index fingers or arching into advanced scorpion pose (backbend with feet on head). Certainly, the men I know and with can't put their feet on their heads nor do they have the goals to even accomplish this kind of practice.
So what are their goals? Initially, they have come to yoga because they are growing more stiff as they age and are dealing with some kind of pain that they want to resolve. I help them learn how to intelligently stretch tight hips, relax tight backs, increase range of motion in tight shoulders and relieve neck pain and stress.
As their pain resolves, they feel more agile and see gains in their daily movement and exercise routines. This is great. But there are much more benefits than just gaining flexibility. While men tend to be aware of the amount of mental stress in their lives, they often are not aware of how this stress is affecting their bodies on a physiological level.
One of my regular clients remarks about how much more relaxed and good he feels when he leaves from private session. He usually says something like this, "Wow! I had no idea how tense I was in my neck and back. I feel so much more relaxed than when I came in." He has noticed that he even sleeps better after coming to a session.
Many men (and women) believe that they are too stiff, too old, too busy, (too...fill in the blank) to practice yoga. Yet, yoga has been proven to increase your quality of life on every level: alleviating pain and injury, increasing flexibility, strength and agility, improving diet, sleep and overall health, providing fun and creative challenges as well as restorative and renewing practices, increases mental focus and clarity, provides spiritual deepening and reflection. If you feel intimidated by yoga, don't know where or how to start, have an injury, or have a busy schedule, consider starting with private yoga sessions. I'd love to help you get healthier in 2016.