You are trying to get healthy. Good for you! Eating a little better, working out a little. Hell, you’ve even been going to yoga. As a new practitioner you have noticed that your class is primarily composed of women, which can leave you feeling a bit out of place. Yoga, being so female dominated creates some unique challenges for male practitioners. Here are a few of the most common ones:
1. You’re the only one in the class with a puddle of sweat at the top of your mat. Women glisten, men sweat, and it’s incredibly difficult to root your feet into your mat for Warrior Pose when your mat feels like a Slip n’ Slide. And that’s just during normal yoga. Fellas, if you’re thinking of joining a Bikram class, plan on bringing a few extra towels.
2. Any pose which requires flexibility. Somehow, every woman in your class is able to fold herself into a human pretzel, even Martha, the 72 year-old retiree. Meanwhile, your Downward Dog looks more like a Grimacing Dad.
3. Trying not to be creepy. You are not here to pick up women, and you want to make sure your classmates know that, but it’s hard not to stare at your neighbor when you have absolutely no idea what the Dolphin pose is supposed to look like and need someone to copy.
4. Poses with gendered names. You are the only person that feels self-conscious coming back to yourbreath in Queen Pose. Your instructor needs to constantly adjust your hips in Goddess Pose.
5. Your “Ohms” are two octaves lower than the rest of your class. Many yoga instructors begin or end class with a chant of three sustained “ohms”. As a tone-deaf person with an elongated pharynx, your “ohms” stand out, and not always in a positive way.
6. Realizing how weak you actually are. Sure, you can bench 250 and squat 325, but you still can’t support your body weight in Crane pose. Everywhere you turn is another 120 pound college sophomore flawlessly executing a strength-based pose that has you gasping for breath and struggling to stay on your feet.
7. Emotional vulnerability makes you uncomfortable. Maybe you’ve mastered strength, balance, and flexibility, but the emotional and spiritual element of yoga is equally important. You feel uncomfortable with emotions with one woman, let alone a room full of them.
With a little practice you can get over all of them. Either that or you can just bail and go to CrossFit later.