It’s the nature of my job – I spend a lot of time with women.   I specialize in prenatal and postnatal yoga, so I know women’s experience of the childbearing year expertly.

But I teach more regular yoga classes than prenatal/postnatal.  And about a quarter of my students in regular classes are men.    And I really like the men that tend to come to my classes – they’re open, funny, and bring a vibrant energy to their mat.   And, in general, men’s bodies do move differently than women’s bodies – a huge generalization, but nonetheless this has been helpful to me to remember.   I learn a lot from the men in my class and I’ve really enjoyed befriending them.

I interviewed a few of my regular students, who have been practicing consistently for at least 3 years, and found out some interesting things about them and their journey into yoga.

First, all three of the students I interviewed are physically active in other ways.   M cycles, C runs and swims, and B goes to the gym.  Their yoga practice complements the other physical activities, and balances them out so that they don’t feel like they overexert too much in one area of their body.   Interestingly, for two of the three, yoga is now their main form of physical movement – they feel like the  other exercise they do weekly is more to supplement their yoga practice.   And one said that when asked now what his main exercise is, he says, “Yoga.”

Also, the male yogis mentioned that a big part of their yoga practice is mental.   The primary reason B practices yoga is because it makes him “relaxed and calm.”   M wrote: “On longer [cycling] rides, the concentration I have developed in yoga has come in handy.   I focus on movement, breathing, relaxing, shoulders, neck, face…turning the pedals over, one after the other… and smiling.”

Lastly, all the yogis see sticking with yoga for the long run partially because it’s been so helpful with staying uninjured and even healing old injuries.   C says: “It’s pretty clear that yoga helps a lot to manage the injuries, stiffness and aches that gradually accrue over the years.”  Because of his yoga practice over the last 6 years, he’s avoided recurrent back spasms he used to have every few months, and also managed to be pain and medication-free from sciatica, which was a regular ailment of his.

B ended his interview saying that he really couldn’t imagine a time in his life where he won’t be practicing yoga.  In many ways, as I look at their answers, there’s nothing particularly “male” about their responses.   For me, it’s nice to think about the universal gift that yoga offers everyone.

A giant thank you to M, B, and C for taking time to reflect on their practice!

See you on the mat!