Insouciant bon-vivant and erstwhile troubadour prone to verbose verbiage.
Published August 9th 2012
Have you hatha'ed?
I must admit to feeling something of an outsider when attending the Hatha Yoga classes at Williamstown Yoga Centre. It was nothing to do with my creed, colour or political views, nor was it because of the instructors who are in fact most welcoming. It was just a nagging doubt at the back of my mind. Then in one class I found that every exercise had a name similar to "the pose of the moon goddess" and I realised what it was. I had a hard enough time accepting being in 'down dog' so impersonating a goddess was a sore trial for my male ego*.
Williamstown Yoga Centre
On the other hand, being one of the few men in a room full of nubile females should never really be viewed as a negative.
Away from the sweaty confines of the crowded Bikram Yoga room, I found the Hatha Yoga class to be more enjoyable. I attended a handful of classes at WYC and was pleased to find that it wasn't just the same old poses week-in, week-out with the variety keeping things interesting.
What can be hard to get used to with Yoga is the approach to training. The instructor continually reminded the class that you should respect your body's limits and simply acknowledge and accept them. Other methods of training such as boxing and martial arts tend to promote pushing yourself beyond your limits to achieve gains.
My theory is that this is why men do not tend to gravitate toward yoga. There is no competitive aspect to your typical yoga class. At a football club or a boxing bout there is always a measure of who has won and lost whereas yoga is a way for every participant to simply progress at their own rate on their own journey. For reasons I'll leave to Sigmund Freud to explain, we manfolk enjoy measuring ourselves against our fellow man.
I did find that after each class I was certainly more relaxed and the aches and pains in my body from other forms of training were somewhat ameliorated. If you're looking for an indoor workout during the colder months Yoga is definitely a great option.
*For an exploration of masculinity defined by coffee choice read this article.