Why are there more women doing yoga than men?

Why are there more women doing yoga than men?

Media Influence?

Is it really just because women tend to pay more attention to their bodies than men do or have we just become brainwashed by social media images?  The glossy magazine covers parade a never-ending stream of willowy, super-flexible, women across our screens.  And then when we do see men doing yoga, they tend to be amazingly buff and gymnastic-like.

Speaking of buff and gymnastic-like.

We’ve recently been treated to the beautiful sight of the two kilt wearing Scottish yogis, Tristan Cameron-Harpe and Finlay Wilson. Although their promo video was amazing and a wee bit cheeky, and yes it didn’t escape our notice that they are in tip-top condition, their underlying message is powerful. Yoga is definitely for men.

Yoga is a useful skill to have when you encounter eeejitsimages-1

It’s much more than becoming flexible. Don’t get caught up in your short and tight hamstrings. Yoga is a vehicle that can help you to unlock more than just tight muscles. Unlike other forms of movement and exercise, it works very specifically on your nervous system. It teaches you how to cope when stress creeps in.

When you learn to meet resistance on your mat, when you learn how to hold your ground without becoming stressed, you can learn to adapt and utilise that skill in your daily life. This is a particularly useful skill when you encounter eeejits. You soon realise that you don’t need to join in their circus.

Building resilience

Back to the Scotts. Finlay, in particular, has a powerful story behind his yoga. He was imagesadvised to do yoga after surgery on both of his legs. It’s also helped him to overcome crippling bouts of depression and anxiety. Tristan is a mountaineer, yoga helps him to climb. The two are inspirational, they are amazing role models for men. They have used their video to expand the word… Men are welcome in yoga.

Women keep out

Traditionally, women were not encouraged or invited to practice the physical side of yoga (Yoga asana). The first woman pupil who was allowed into an Indian ashram was in 1937. She was a Russian woman named Eugenia Peterson-Labunskaya and she had one hell of a job convincing them to take her in. She went on to call herself Indra Devi.

A little history

The man who developed what we call yoga today is a wise old Yogi called Krishnamacharya. He believed that yoga should be more widely accessible to the population. He developed a physical yoga practice that would help people to become strong, drawing on disciplines like gymnastics and Indian wrestling, to dynamically develop strength and flexibility. He taught it to men in the Indian army. The goal, to make them strong and resilient.

So fellas, come to a class, become stronger and more resilient. Learn to breathe properly, and you never know, your hammies might co-operate and release you from your daily strain.

About the author: Bev Porrino

Bev Porrino

My experience of working with the mind and body spans three decades both professionally and personally. In my early twenties I was a registered nurse and a keen athlete. I also became a sports and fitness coach and I competed in running and cycling events. This activity led me to stretch classes and eventually to Yoga, Pilates and other mindful practices. Over the years I balanced my professional career in the health care sector and my hobby, until my hobby became my job. In 1999 I moved to Amsterdam where I opened a Wellness Consultancy business and a Yoga and Pilates Studio, called Amstel Yoga Lounge. In the following years I completed Core Vinyasa Yoga and Ashtanga Teacher Training with Union Yoga Edinburgh. As I've matured, I’ve become more aware of how good my body has been to me and so I made a conscious decision to be more respectful to it. I still enjoy the fun things in life but with more balance. I teach Hatha, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, pre and post natal yoga and pilates. Kids yoga and mat pilates. I’m grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to work with and learn from some amazing teachers like Brian Cooper, David Swenson and Kino McGregor over the years and my continuing education that comes from my students and my colleagues. I’m a yoga junkie. I respect the ancient traditions of yoga but I also like alternative modern influences. I don’t feel out of place in a formal Ashtanga practice - despite my rebellious hips. I like to chant. I can sweat with the best in hot yoga. Trance dance on a beach; realign myself with Iyengar; tap into my soul with Kundalini, but my favourite practice is the one I do every night before I sleep, it’s called pyjama pranayama. Habits are learned, so why not learn a good one...

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