Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Hello? Hello? Where are all the men in Yoga?

Well....where are all of the men when it comes to practicing yoga?  I am still waiting for an answer. Hello? Anyone out there?  Still no answer?  I guess I will have to throw out some ideas of my own.

First of all a little history about men and yoga. Way back when yoga was traditionally  practiced only by men, women had to practice in secret. In fact Master teacher and healer, Sri Krishnamacharya had to be somewhat strong armed by the Maharaja of Mysore at the time (1938) to accept a woman as his student. Indra Devi went on to become a renowned guru in her own right, passing away in 2002 at the age of 102.  There are a few theories out there as how this shift in gender may have happened. One is that Indra Devi moved to Hollywood in 1947 and opened her own studio and became teaching the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Greta Garbo. She then became friends with makeup guru Elizabeth Arden and the rest is history.

Now that you know the back story lets get on to the original question at hand, where are all the men? First of all you don't have to wear spandex to a yoga class in fact we highly recommend that you don't wear spandex! Just messing with the men out there, just wear something comfortable for you.  My stepson, who is in the Navy, finally tried it when he was home on leave and loved it.  I asked him what took so long since he gets a great family discount, his response....he was afraid of farting in class.  We have all passed gas (that's what us ladies call it)  in a yoga class at one time or another.  It's the effect of all of the wonderful twists that we do that aid in our digestion.

I think that some of the reluctance has to do with the ego, men come into class and see a 60 year old woman doing poses they can't do.  My first yoga class was 15 years ago and I couldn't do them either. It's a process guys just like anything else. Concerned that you might be uncomfortable with all those women doing down dog.  Well, your not suppose to be looking at them, your suppose to be paying attention to your breath, your practice and your mat.  Trust me, we're not looking at your down dog.

Are you aware of the many benefits that yoga will have in other aspects of your life!  Did you know that yoga can improve your golf swing, your flexibility and strength, greater mental focus and improve your balance. How about for basketball which is a total body and mind sport that requires you to be both physically and mentally quick.

Yep, even Elvis did yoga!

Baseball?  Again improving your swing but also increased range of motion for all of you pitchers out there. The 2014 FIFA World Cup for Soccer starts this week in Brazil. Soccer players tend to have tight leg muscles because of all of the running, yep yoga can help that as well as increasing stamina.

For all the musicians out there, front man of Maroon 5 Adam Levine is a yogi.

Don't believe me, I will share a blog with you written by a man who tells us  7 Reasons Men Should Yoga.

OK men here's a challenge, I am throwing down the gauntlet, come on and fly in the face of the unknown....or whatever macho phrase will get your attention. Come on give it a try and you just might be surprised!!!

And I almost forgot (not really) the most important part of yoga.....just breathe!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Hot Yoga Isn't for Everyone!

I have been debating about writing this blog for quite some time now and keep on putting it off for various reasons but I can't hold my tongue still (or my fingers) any longer.

First of all for all of you who just love hot yoga, bless your hearts but let me share a revelation with's not for everyone!  It's fun but it's not the whole package.

I can't ever begin to count the number of times someone who has never,ever done a yoga class before chooses hot yoga to be their first yoga experience and usually their last.  It's a fast paced class, with challenging flows and oh yeah, it's 95 degrees in the room (but we're not Bikram) so it's hot.  I talk to them before class and give them a head's up ask if they drank a lot of water, etc. and the rest is up to them. They leave class sweaty, exhausted and sometimes never to be seen again. They usually don't come back to try other classes and take advantage of their free week.

Well meaning hot yoga fans bring their friends, sister's, spouses to share with them what they enjoy but again it's not for everyone.  It's not like sitting in a sauna and chanting "om" you are moving people!  Stories, I could tell you I will. The daughters that bring their moms who haven't done any type of physical activity in a very long time to try out the class, never to be seen again. The bodybuilders who think it's a piece of cake, never to be seen again.  The boyfriends who were ambushed and weren't even told it was a hot yoga class, never to be seen again.  The first time students who didn't know they were suppose to hydrate or not eat heavy prior to class come out of class early (which is fine) but never to be seen again. 

I have taken a few hot yoga classes myself and I have decided that I sweat just fine in a Vinyasa or Ashtanga style class thank you very much.  One size yoga does not fit all. So it's wonderful that we have so many different styles and levels of yoga to choose. For most of us hot yoga is something that you need to work up to. I wouldn't run a marathon or even a half marathon without training for it, I wouldn't bench press 100 pounds without starting at a lower weight.  In a hot yoga class you are using different muscles groups and a lot of stamina and endurance.  You want to get your mom, spouse, etc healthy and off the couch? Do you love them enough to attend a basic/beginners class with them as a show of support? Come on a give it a try you might even find that it's a nice balance with the hot yoga class.

Some of you may be saying that I am biting the hand that feeds me (pays my rent, utilities, teachers, etc) by discouraging students from coming to hot yoga.  Not at all!  I am encouraging them to start out at a level that most fits their needs and take it from there.  Then you can get your asana kicked in hot yoga with your BFF's (does anyone even say that anymore)?

Hot yoga, are you really ready for it?  Don't let it be your first and your last experience of what yoga is really all about, a truly amazing experience inside and out.

....and don't forget to breathe no matter what style of yoga you practice.