According to a “Yoga in America” study done by Yoga Journal in 2008, of the 15.8 million Americans that practice yoga, approximately 72.2% are women and 27.8% are men.
Why are there so few men on the mat in America? It really is puzzling, because yoga has traditionally been practiced by men, and there certainly are plenty of amazing male role models and teachers, like B.K.S. Iyengar, Bikram Choudhury, and Amrit Desai.
If men are concerned that they are not welcome, I want them to know that I personally would love to see more of you in my yoga classes. Yoga can bring about amazing benefits, but it can also be difficult at first. Yoga makes you sweat, and yoga is not for wussies…that is why so many women love it, and why more men should try it!
Recently, I was speaking to a male colleague who just started practicing yoga. He told me how much he enjoyed his classes but sometimes felt like the odd man out and that the majority of media related to yoga is targeted to women. That got me thinking and I decided to do a little online searching for myself.
On Twitter I found @MenOnTheMat, which is dedicated to helping men feel welcome and good about practicing yoga. Their mission is to even out the male-female ratio of people practicing yoga worldwide, thereby bringing about world peace. I think they may be onto something there! What an amazing vision and one I’d like to see happen in my lifetime. They are doing a great job of sharing videos and information related to men practicing yoga. I’m anxiously awaiting the @MenOnTheMat official blog launch coming soon, but until then you can follow them on Twitter and Facebook.
On the VancouverYoga.com Web site, there is an encouraging article entitled “Yoga for Men—What Could be Stopping You.” It’s all about men not worrying about the fact that they may not be flexible enough and putting their egos aside in order to enjoy the benefits of yoga.
If you are just getting started, here’s a “First-Timer’s Guide to Yoga” from Men’s Health, which also has a whole section of articles related to men’s yoga.
The Daily Downward Dog is an equal opportunity yoga supporter, so if you know of a great blog or online resource that supports men in yoga or products targeted to men practicing yoga, I would love to learn more about it. Please share the details in the comments below.