This is my song for March, I highly recommend the whole album, I’ve been playing this a lot in class.
See below for this months blog – How do we get dudes onto the mat?
According to the Huffington Post back in 2014 they reported that the yoga industry was worth a wopping $27billion, they also reported that over 20million Americans practiced yoga and that 83% of those were women making it very much a female dominated industry.
I have to say in our little Island of Jersey I definitely see more gals than guys coming to class.
But why is this? Well, firstly, men struggle with their egos, the biggest concern that I have come across is ‘am I going to be the only man’ well this all depends, sometimes I have guys in my class, sometimes I don’t, unfortunately it is not within my power to guarantee that they’re not going to be the only one.
Secondly, some men underestimate the power of yoga, they know they should try it to help stretch their tight over used muscles, however, they have this illusion that they’re going to be stuck in the middle of a gaggle of lycra clad women chanting and wailing around them, trust me, I know this because I’ve had the piddle taken out of me over the years for my passion of yoga, to the point of my male friends re-naming it Yoguy (not a bad name when I’m come to think of it).
Thirdly, men cope very differently with life than women do, men are quite practical about things, when they’re stressed out they carry on and on building up momentum feeding the adrenaline that surges through their bodies until they either get sick or they simply ignore the problem all together and burn out. If they do get sick they carry on anyway until the feeling of feeling well becomes a long distant memory. I worked for the third largest Hedge Fund in Europe for 8 years and I have been witness to this many times, it’s incredible what the human body can sustain when its pushed into overdrive.
Women on the other hand can do this too however, we are emotional creatures, we have the ability to multi task, to raise kids, look after a household etc etc. The biggest difference is when we burn out we take responsibility and we take action. Often we are somersaulted to this point because, a) we have had a complete meltdown or b) we become so ill and have to take time off work that we have no choice but to slow down and assess what is actually going on.
The benefits of a consistent yoga practice are being proven on a daily basis, globally businesses such as Apple and Google have now incorporated spaces within their office for the practice. Steve Jobs was an avid meditator to the point of him encouraging his staff to take at least 30mins a day to practice meditation. Some speculate that the mental control he gained from meditation was what helped him become so successful in creating new, innovative products for Apple. Nike encourages their staff to practice both yoga and meditation, the effects it can have not only for productivity and creativity, more importantly self awareness are second to none.
Unfortunately this phenomenon hasn’t made it over to our little Island just yet so how can we get dudes onto the mat?
Well we create a male only class, HommeShanti was born after a conversation with one of my bestest friends, he was new to yoga and was enjoying going to class but said he would much prefer to be around men, no offence taken mon sweet, I will create the class and we will get dudes onto the mat.
By offering this we alleviate the ego issue, we create a space that they can share with their fellow dudes who experience the same difficulties as them, i.e. tight hamstrings, stiff shoulders the list goes on and on. But more importantly we create a space where they can tune into themselves which in my experience is what men find difficult. There is an element of bravado that comes with being a guy and no one wants to look or feel weak or vulnerable next to their fellow man, that’s just how they’re built and this goes back to cave men times.
I feel that the dudes are missing out, not only can the physical practice help strengthen and lengthen their muscles, the mental activity can allow them to create some space in their minds opening them up to creativity, compassion and understanding.
In my years of teaching the one thing that I can guarantee is that when a guy does come to class they leave with a new understanding of strength, agility, and openness.
There is obviously more to this than just a little conversation with my bestie. I am currently training with Tiffany Cruikshank who is one of the most respected yoga teachers in the World, Tiffany created Yoga Medicine a few years ago, she is a self confessed anatomy geek and her aim is to bring Western Medicine and Eastern Medicine together, she was the Yoga Teacher and acupuncturist for Nike and has worked with a number of professional athletes. My aim is to bring a bit of Yoga Medicine to Jersey and encourage both men and women to step on to the mat and experience the benefits of yoga, you never know it might just be the perfect step forward for you.
Peace out homies x