Word has it men don’t like yoga. This is no wonder. Yoga commonly occurs as part of a mind-boggling lifestyle that encompasses breathing, a nutrient-filled diet, and detoxifying cleanses to lift the tired spirit to another level. It represents many a thing an average man doesn’t wish to become associated with: tight outfits, vegetables, the downward dog.
That doesn’t go together with a bloke who prefers to finish an exercise session getting smashed with a mate over a crate of beer. It is not surprising, then, that less than one in five of the roughly 40 million yoga practitioners in the United States is male.
Women, on the other hand, love yoga. This is no wonder. You pay a pretty penny to gather in fashionable clothing to do something boring and repetitive. You have an instructor to yell at you, only to shut up and do as told. You become light-headed without having to drink alcohol and get to speak in tongues. If it all becomes too draining, you can lie down on a $70 yoga mat for the remainder of the class.
Women like to feel bad about themselves, too. Yoga is a great in that it offers a simple path to punishment. When it isn’t mindlessly boring, yoga moves into the realm of physical hurt. Many poses are downright painful. Not because you’re a wuss who won’t push past her boundaries, but because they are positions your body isn’t designed to be twisted into.
It is not ‘Wow this is something I’ve never tried before how uncomfortable’ kind of hurt. It is ‘If you lock your knee one more time the wire in it will break and you will walk on crutches for the next three months’ kind of hurt.
The poses don’t hurt less the more accustomed you become. They hurt as much as the last time. If you break, it’s your fault.
Men don’t shun yoga because it is painful and they’re weak. They shun it because pulling a ligament isn’t the goal of exercise.
Several other yoga-related aspects add to its pull for women. You must go shopping and buy several colour-coded, cutesy outfits. Then you buy a design water bottle, and the aforementioned exercise mat. Perhaps even a towel. Then you need a bag that is exclusively designed for your outfits, water bottle, yoga mat, and towel.
In classes you get to look at other women and judge their bodies. You will see star attendees, too – dry and emaciated-looking women with Yoga Bodies whose near-perfect Padangustasana you can envy. At some point your instructor is bound to tell you no-one cares. This means it’s okay to keep on going with your ego-laden cattiness. Classes end with everyone earnestly articulating Namaste. It sounds better than G’day.
Not that different types of yoga don’t have any physiological benefits, but they are not exclusive to the practice. You certainly need strength to hold the poses. That’s something you’d better build up before you even consider entering a yoga class – it makes the Utkatasana that much easier to handle. You can stretch sensibly in your underwear at home, as often as you want, and free of charge. You can watch a scary film and watch your heart rate skyrocket. You can pick any activity that you enjoy, and appreciate it’s not going to lift your tired spirit to another level.
Crippling aside, yoga tickles many feminine spots indeed. You direct your gaze inward, and stop existing in your fat little physical body. Yoga is not outward, loud, or assertive. It is altogether feminine – quiet in its dull, passive compliance, and self-inflicted suffering. It is modern-day group aerobics with an added sprinkle of cheap sprituality.
Hence men don’t like yoga. They couldn’t care less, either. If men were like women they’d feel bad about themselves for it, instead of finishing an exercise session with a mate over a crate of beer.
Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
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