Monday, March 5, 2012

WHY MEN SHOULD DO YOGA


Gabriele our Vinyasa teacher at Lotus Pocus


  • If you are sporty whatever sport you partake in,  you will get better at it! Yoga makes you strong, flexible and focuses your mind. At the end of the day in competitive sports what gives an athlete the  cutting edge over his rival is not so much physical superiority but a mental or psychological one. Just ask a marathon runner or tennis player (read Andrรจ Agassi's autobiography "Open" if you don't believe me) . Being serene and focused will get you further than a pumped up bicep. 


  • Yoga tends to work on  your weaknesses - so if you're strong you get more flexible and if you are flexible you get stronger.


  • Yoga is not about lazy housewives going "OM". It's HARD. It's PHYSICAL. It's challenging. At least it is in my classes (and even more so in Silvia's and Gabriele's) . 


  • Going to yoga classes is a great way to meet interesting, emotionally intelligent people. I can safely say that in all the years I have taught yoga  I can't remember anyone whom I really haven't liked. This may be due to memory loss or bad judgement but I think neither of the two as I can't say the same for the people I've met over the years at the gym (generally speaking!!! gym goers forgive me! I'm one of you too!). People who do yoga are interested in staying healthy (not just "pumped up"), physically and mentally, who understand that your  body is not just a form of transport for your head. There's a link between the two.


  • Yoga is not about about drifting off in a haze to incense and indiany music. It is about working  physically  to reap the rewards of INNER CALM .So if you feel stressed, try it, it works. 


  • Guys are supposed to be all muscly, brave, strong, calm, collected, confident, cool, unflappable. This is, to use a slang British term, PANTS. A man who strives constantly to be the above comes acrss as being....well.... emotionally barren (a shame as women like guys who can show their emotions)  and is  generally repressed. Everyone has feelings. If you are constantly trying to hide emotions and feelings  as they bubble up you are going to get STRESSED OUT. Pretending to be something you are not is stressful. I had a student who appeared at my center who seemed a kind  of Mr. Universe in all senses - tough, rough, bulky, seemingly unfazed by any upset or trauma, yet who in his sleep would grind his teeth together until he was chomping at his protein bars with his gums. Let the barriers down and get onto that sticky mat!  According to Dr. Haim G. Ginott if you constantly stop a child from moving freely (don't run! Don't go so fast! Sit still! etc. etc.) that child will become aggressive. You must not repress a child's need to move. The same can be said for emotions. If you bottle them up, one way or another they will bubble to the surface, perhaps through aggressive behavior, being moody, feeling the need to be isolated from others, suffering insomnia - these are just some indications of something being stifled. Yoga allows you to look IN  to discover what it is you are feeling. And this is the beginning of a healthy relationship with yourself. Knowledge is power especially when it comes to our bodies, minds and emotions. If you have lots of emotions hiding under the surface yoga gives you a healthy physical and mental way to release them.


  • Most people who do yoga politically hang to the left. I said MOST! Not all ;-) Ok  - that is supposed to be funny,  but is has been the case in my experience as a teacher. However I want to make it clear that Berlusconians ARE WELCOME to my center ! I think we learn more from those who think differently from us that those who don't - be OPEN. And I am to everyone. And luckily we don't tend to have political discussions between one asana and the next. So relax. We won't know if you don't tell. 


  • Yoga gives you a REAL break as supposed to zoning out through something evasive: new car, watching footie with your mates, Call of Duty, Internet, internet "For Other Things", gambling, dangerous sports etc. etc.  All these things in small doses ok,  why not? But they take you AWAY,  leaving you feeling empty. Yoga allows you to go inward and leaves you feeling relaxed, serene and full. It also leaves an echo of these things once you have come out of the class, so effects you (and therefore the people  around you) during the day. I don't know if you can say the same for "Call Of Duty". I hope not. 


  • If you are worried about  being the only guy in the class  - don't be. A) no one is looking - and B) they are a compassionate bunch. You will be welcomed or if you prefer, ignored. It is up to you. Whatever the case,  you will be very much respected! I promise.


  • Ok I have used generalized to a horrible extent in this post - forgive me! The subject topic being "MEN" lead me to sin in this way. Don't take me too seriously! But if you are a guy, come along and give yoga a try. Most centers offer a first class free of charge, make the most of it and look around before choosing. Yoga is VAST, and can change drastically according to type and  instructor - experiment and find both that are appropriate and right for you. 

Most of this post applies to the women too  :-)