50 Shades of Yoga.

Via on Nov 27, 2012
Photo: Michael Kordahi

Why are so many male yoga teachers so hot?

What I mean to say is, why are male yoga teachers so much more popular than their female counterparts?

Why do we, as women, flock to their classes and seek their attention? Do they fulfill some kind of secret fantasy?

As a former Anusara-Inspired teacher, I was caught up in the vibration of Shiva energy from its masterful leader. Why did I trust the male yoga teacher so much more than my female peers? Most of the female teachers were far better yoga teachers and it took me a long time to realize that.

One of my friends—an amazing yoga teacher and an accomplished asana practitioner—just got back from training with an internationally known male yoga teacher and was doe-eyed when he engaged her and complimented her practice. I saw the look in her eye when she spoke about him. I knew that look, that lilt and excitement in her voice—the Shiva invaded her consciousness. He saw her and she was validated in her yoga practice.

still

I have been that yogini, wanting to connect with the Shiva energy—wanting to be seen by the teacher. It is almost like seeking approval from a father figure or being praised by a lover.

Are we still stuck in the idea that men do it better?

In North America we are still waiting for a female head of state. Or perhaps as women, we believe that this is a man with sensitivity who is connected to his softer, spiritual side and that is what attracts us—the evolved male. Maybe it’s something we have not yet experienced outside of the yoga studio.

You would think that male yoga teachers would attract more male students, but I haven’t see this in my community. The most popular teacher where I live is male with lots of female students.

We struggle to get men to the mat. Women love male yoga teachers. I can see the secret and not so secret longing on their faces during classes. Do we secretly love the idea of being told what do? (In the right context, of course.)

The pitfalls of being a male yoga teacher is hands on adjustments, women testing their flexibility in tight clothing, hero-worship and women sweating and moaning in yoga class. What does that do to the male psyche? A greater question is, what does that do to the male ego? We have seen it time and time again that some men are ruled more strictly by their testosterone than others and that can lead to a world of trouble. Not mentioning any names, of course.

Why is it we crave a male yoga teacher? What is it that we want from him that we can’t get from an equally exceptional female teacher?

I am not really sure of the answer to this question. I am intrigued by our love affair with the male yoga teacher. When I figure out what the true essence of the attraction is, I will let you know. In the meantime keep practicing yoga regardless of who is teaching your class.

So let me know in the comment section below, why do you think male yoga teachers are so much more popular?

~

Ed: Brianna B.

 

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About Dianne Bondy

Dianne is an E-RYT 500 with Yoga Alliance, the founder of Yogasteya.com, loves to celebrate yoga and diversity and is a contribuing author for Yoga and Body Image: A New anthology. She is a columnist for the Elephant Journal, love public speaking, runs yoga retreats, trains yoga teachers, has a devoted husband, two small boys and not enough sleep. Dianne is big, black, bold and loves all things yoga. Try to keep up with Dianne on Facebook, Twitter, and DianneBondyYoga.com or download one of her FREE podcast on iTunes

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93 Responses to “50 Shades of Yoga.”

  1. Dara says:

    I recognize, after much personal work, that my leanings toward male teachers goes back to having an emotionally absent father. He was a provider. But as a little girl I received no things such as praise, reassurance when upset, or told I was pretty in my Sunday dress. All things I think a little girl needs to hear from a trusted adult male figure so she doesn't go searching for it elsewhere.

    • Dianne says:

      Thanks Dara-I totally agree. My father was always disappointed in me so I sought my approval in damaging ways elsewhere. It is important for little girl to cultivate that positive reinforcement from a strong male role model…food for another blog

  2. queenofthedarned says:

    I guess I am not the norm—I feel MUCH more comfortable with female teachers in general. Now that I think about it, the majority of my teachers have been women! I've taken a class with a male teacher twice in 12 years. There are not many Ashtanga teachers in my area, but I have managed to track down the women and have been attending their classes while avoiding the classes that are at a more convenient time but are taught by men. Hmmm, food for thought…in the meantime, I will be planning my Kino MacGregor trip for next year ;)

  3. timful says:

    As a man, I have asked myself the same thing about my preference for female teachers. There are many things at work, but one thing I realized is that if a man tells me something is true, my first reaction is "you do not know any better than I" and I will put my critical faculties to work evaluating his advice. If a woman tells me something, I seem willing to believe she has access to some special intuitive knowledge that is not immediately accessible to my logical thought processes, and I will just accept it viscerally.

    But probably more than that is I have long standing insecurities about what I am supposed to do to please a woman. So, it is really a delight when she just tells me what to do. If we were engaged in some more goal directed activity like trying to win a game, these kind of issues would more easily remain below the surface. But, in yoga, we are mostly just being. This offers a blank slate for all of our projections to play out. I guess it is a lot like a non-reactive therapist who just keeps nodding.

  4. irish mary says:

    Yoga teachers are really no hotter than the rest of the population, they just think theyre hotter and perhaps all those sun salutations make them feel a bit hotter. From the point of view of a 47 year old woman , watching yoga teacher shenaginans, theyre probably more narcissistic than the average population.

    • Vision_Quest2 says:

      You got that right!

      But there is a subset of male teachers into social work/health/activism/family therapy who–most of the time–teach a soft, slow practice … with less of the show-offyness of even their more socially-aware female counterparts …THOSE are the male teachers I gravitate to.

      There is a softer side of vinyasa practice that is underrated and underreported …

  5. Lisa says:

    It's funny I always look for female teachers and even have learned about myself just from my reaction of a man walking into the class after it's already begun. A teacher I loved had to leave for a teaching trip for five weeks and her sub was a lovely man (different one)who had just brought a lot of good energy to the class and I STILL waited until she returned to go back. I'm fairly obsessed with the interplay between the Divine Masculine and the Divine Feminine and look at class as a way to integrate the two within myself and having male energy around made me think at first that it would throw me off. Learning that it doesn't and reading this article make me think maybe I'm ready to learn more from this perspective. :) Interested to explore that teacher dynamic down the road. Thanks for that!

  6. mike says:

    Alot of Male Yoga Teachers are gay…like me! problem solved!

  7. Dianne says:

    Mike that's great love it

  8. Alanna Kaivalya AlannaK says:

    Hey Dianne – I'm grateful you wrote this article. As a teacher for over a decade, I've often asked myself this question. The majority of the yoga population is female, and yet, at our biggest conferences and publications that ratio is skewed to the male end of the equation. It is reflective of a lot of inherent values and beliefs that I hope a regular yoga practice can change!

    Here's to all the yoga ladies in the house!

  9. Edward Staskus says:

    Although I can certainly tell whether it is a man or a woman up on the podium , I would not say it makes any appreciable difference whether it is a man or woman barking out directions at the Bikram Yoga classes I go to. They are all friendly enough in the lobby, but cold and calculating in the classes.

    • Chris says:

      I think that has more to do with the difference between a scripted class and an actual yoga exploration class. If you haven't had three chance to try something besides Bikram, give it a shot, you'll see a big difference.

  10. Dianne says:

    Wow Edward that bites right in the asana. Maybe it is time for a change of venue.

    • Edward Staskus says:

      You would think, but I think the best teachers are those who are the most calculating. Going to a yoga exercise class is not really about making friends, it is about your own practice, paying attention to what you, not anyone else, are doing, going inward, getting it done so that in the end the 90 minutes meant something. Everything else is beside the point. Relationships with teachers in the yoga room are distractions at best, and a waste of purpose at worst. Just my two cents worth.

      • Dianne says:

        Edward I can totally respect that. I do like making friends at yoga. I am a person who loves to connect my students and the relationships I cultivate in my studio create our community. It does have to be in the right context though. You are right your practice in the purpose but community makes it better.

  11. Dianne says:

    Thanks Everyone for the funny, interesting and super insightful comments. This is such an interesting topic. I always wondered what people thought

    • Iyan says:

      Dianne, would be interesting if you ask male yoga teacher. To give comfort, assurance, sense of protection, and how to put me as a teacher, father or friend is very challenging work. Your article intricking, with those smart women in my retreats, I don't know if it is relevant.

  12. jon says:

    As a male I could care less. I care about the quality of their practice, their explanations during practice, the energy level they exude, and if they resort to yoga platitudes.

  13. Joe Sparks says:

    Another male perspective is:You will never get those frozen needs met from a male yoga teacher. He is not your father and you are not a little girl anymore. Some of those feelings towards male yoga teachers are not rational. It is important to face and release those old unmet feelings. One way to work on these feelings is to ask yourself, how is this male yoga teacher like your father and how is he different. Very important to work on these so you can see this person clearly for who he really is and not confuse him with your feelings about not having the attention you deserved from your father.

    • Dianne says:

      Joe I agree. I was surprising to see how any women work through their daddy issues on the mat. I know I am doing that among other things. I can separate the male yoga teacher from my emotionally absent father. I do think women are attracted to the natural attraction of complimentary opposites. The Estrogen is reacting the the testosterone in some cases in the studio…

      • Joe Sparks says:

        Hi Dianne, You can totally fall in love with your male yoga teacher, just do not act on those estrogens. Sex and love are two separate things. Give yourself a chance to feel those feelings you did not get to feel with your father, just don't act on them, and If you can do this you will release all kinds of feelings. It will really help if you have the courage, to tell your male yoga teacher, how much you are in love him, but you'll never have sex with him. Most guys will be relieved, and some disappointed. Because most men are very vulnerable in this area, we have been condition to get all our emotional needs through sex. He is just as confused. You will help liberate him and mostly yourself. What we all really want and our starving for is closeness. Let the healing begin!

        • Vision_Quest2 says:

          I am barely susceptible to a man's mojo. A man of any age.
          I thank God for that, because it helps–not all yoga teachers–include those who would use their implicit charisma/sexuality to drum up upsale busines–do business ethically; and I'd run into consumer-related issues with a yoga studio–one of five I'd tried in the past few years.

          On the other hand, I think this lack of susceptibility severely frustrates an age-appropriate (to me) guy in his mid-sixties who would like to get to know me better.

        • juliette says:

          Hi Joe, Have you ever told your teacher you were in love with him? What would I do if i was in love with my teacher? Could it happen? I wonder if you know him. What teachers have you had? What were their reactions?

      • timful says:

        Yes, let's not forget that there is a powerful attraction of complimentary opposites that is not always a "daddy issue" or a "mommy issue." By my reading of cultural history, all fathers were emotionally absent 50 years ago. And young women believed they needed a man to complete them. If this did not always work out so well, we may say the same about today's urge toward self reliance. The history of love has always been written by the losers. Not to suggest we turn back the clock, but just to recognize these are all cultural constructions, notions about how we are "supposed to be" that will change, as we try to find our way. And, if we are going to put up any false idols, we could do a lot worse than a man or woman we love.

  14. Lindsay says:

    I no longer frequent classes taught by straight male teachers. Over the course of several years I both noticed and was subjected to what I perceived as inappropriate behavior. This almost always involved the male teacher using the forum of the class to “adjust” only young, attractive female students. Nothing obvious and always close to the line. But very creepy and in my view these individuals are little more than perverts masquerading as yoga teachers. A minority of teachers to be sure, but a not insignificant minority. So I am very happy to stick with female (or gay male) teachers and avoid the risk altogether.

  15. Dianne says:

    Lindsay, yeah I have seen that as well. I have seen it in very famous public teachers too

  16. old yoga chick says:

    Love diving into all this. Personally I am attracted more to female teachers with nurturing qualities. I think is is sad there are not more female teachers at the top but I am sure a lot of reasons play into it. One thing that has not been mentioned is the fact that when women become mothers they like to stay close to home so might not want to travel as much as men who often allowed even in the yoga world to be absent fathers.

  17. Dianne says:

    Old Yoga Chick- I love this conversation. I never thought of the traveling aspect for mothers. Excellent point

  18. Vision_Quest2 says:

    Me, too.

  19. chad says:

    It's scarcity. Check out every monthly issue of Yoga Journal, Yoga International, videos, DVDs, etc. It's all women in the photos, teaching on the vids, etc. Men have male energy and are often very attractive and dynamic. In the end it all boils down to the teacher–frinstance I can't stand Jason Crandall–but in an area dominated by women, such as yoga, the few men are bound to stand out. And I also think the woman that wrote this little blurb is wrong, or overstating her case based on a couple of instances and her own subjectivity. But some male yogis get themselves in trouble with their all over the mat ids–just look at what happened with John Friend.

    • john mannion says:

      I agree, as a male teacher, I felt uncomfortable at first, then found my grove and rocked. I also can't stand Jason Crandall .
      I like Kathryn Budig, Duncan Wong, Rodney Yee, used to LOVE Sadie Nardin, untill she went " GLAM "
      I like teachers with ENERGY, male and female….I'm sure it works for others.

  20. Sara Young sara says:

    I am attracted more to a certain kind of yoga, and it doesn't really matter if a man or a woman is teaching it. I have had experiences with male yoga teachers who slept with tons of students, but at the end of the day, they were usually still pretty good yoga teachers. I guess it depends on what you are in a yoga studio for, and focusing on that while practicing- on and off the mat.

  21. inkdancer says:

    Im a gay male yogi. Most of my teachers have been women or gay men. I find them equally fitting and wonderful ( I am fortunate to belong to an amazing sangha), though I must admit that I am sometimes distracted by my male teachers.
    More interestingly I am a master calligrapher, and despite the demographic of 90% women calligraphers, the top tier celebrated master teachers and financially successful calligraphers are men. Many of my female colleagues have not mustered the temerity to ask for higher fees for their work. I have coached several of my women friends to be fearless with clients.
    I suppose we still live in an unfortunately lopsided culture where men have a psychological and financial dominance.
    Alas so sad, but true.

    • Dianne says:

      Thanks Inkdancer I love to hear your yogi perspective. You have an interesting take on female dominated industries and yoga with your experiences in both. I always wonder why MOST of the Titans of Yoga and most industry are men. I find it especially interesting in your line of work. It is really cool you are empowering your colleagues.

  22. sallyearthsky says:

    why is nobody stating the obvious here ?!

    yoga adepts are fitter, healthier, lither
    more flexible, more aligned , more connected …

    in short sexier
    than your average mortal …

    therefore they receive more attention …

    point … :~) ………

  23. runyogabeer says:

    I do think it is true for many women but I have to say I am the opposite. It takes ALOT for me to trust a male teacher and even if I take a male teacher's class, I would prefer to be invisible. I do have one teacher I like and trust who is a man but all in all I tend to have my best practices with female teachers. But I have seen it with other female yogis. I do think it is sort of the father/lover approval thing. But i don't want a father or lover or someone's approval. And I have a hard time not believing that even god male teachers are not prone to sleeping with their students. Which I am not all the way against but it is certainly not something I am interested in.

  24. Great discussion! says:

    This is a complicated and important topic! One point that comes up for me is… people who are engaged in something they excel at – especially something creative – become SO attractive. I definitely experience that attraction. So at the yoga studio… I’m not a teacher, but a man with a strong practice. Lots of women pay attention to me, likely for that reason. I love asana, my devotion is obvious, and the other people around who see that are primarily women. Most of them are probably wired to be attracted to men, and here’s one in their territory being friendly and peaceful and all muscle-y and stuff. If our roles were reversed, I know I’d be attracted to that! Plus, most of the stuff we do in yoga classes was likely invented by men and for men, even though women now dominate the field in numbers. Consider Light On Yoga. There’s one picture of a woman in there. She’s doing Paschimottanasana so Iyengar can demonstrate Mayruasana on her back. So there’s a lineage component too.

    Anyway, it took me a long time to admit this… part of me has always felt awkward or even ashamed that I might be benefitting from attention for these reasons. I definitely receive lots of praise and even some propositions, and I do like that. It’s flattering. For men more calculating than I, this might be enough to change them, alter their focus. I think that’s a real fear of mine: the idea that perhaps I’m not practicing entirely for the reasons I claim. I wouldn’t be surprised if many yoga guys battle with this, teacher or not.

    • Dianne says:

      What a wonderful response. I loved reading this. Good Discussion- I totally admire your honesty here. I like that you are self aware and have really studied your feelings around the attention you receive practicing yoga in the studio. Self study is the biggest part of the yoga practice. You make wonderful points. You are right there is something incredibly attractive about a male in-tuned enough to devote himself so fully to his asana practice. I think liking the attention in fine it is part of human nature. It is in our DNA. Just as long as it is not the only reason you do the practice and clearly it is not. I think everyone likes to be recognized for their accomplishments. Life is about choices and it is always your choice on what you do with this attention. Keep using your yoga for good …Keep the faith

  25. gina says:

    when I take my glasses off..i can't see the instructor…i focus on ME….. :)

    • manorama says:

      I do that too!! I sometimes feel bad for those with perfect vision as I think having bad vision has enhanced my yoga practice! I have better balance because I can't see very well to focus on one point with my eyes. In fact, I close my eyes a lot and just listen to the teacher.

  26. Diane says:

    It really is not a factor I consider when signing up for yoga class. I think all my teachers are wonderful.

  27. Feminist Yogini says:

    Stated bluntly, in our society the perceived value of men is much greater than the perceived value of women. This encompasses many areas of life, including yoga. I don't like it, but I still believe it to be true; the attitude is ingrained in our brains. That said, I also agree with the commenter above who said that "people who are engaged in something they excel at – especially something creative – become SO attractive. I definitely experience that attraction." I experience that attraction, too! It's natural when sex enters the picture, especially during the very physical practice of yoga. I've been attracted to a couple of male teachers myself–during class. After class, not so much. For the record, these days, for me, the teachers whose classes I never want to miss are women.

    • Perceptions says:

      Men and women have traditionally been perceived to have different value for different purposes. If you have perceptions about some more general idea of overriding value, remember that perceptions exist in the mind of the perceiver.

      • Feminist Yogini says:

        Hi Perceptions. "Men's" purposes, and therefore values/contributions to society, are held in higher esteem than "women's" purposes and values to society. Who is valued more?–the traditional male "breadwinner" or the traditional female "home nurturer"? They're not my perceptions. I'm a woman and I don't fit either of these roles. Men and women should not be perceived to have different value for different purposes, and gender roles shouldn't be assigned to values and purposes. That's my point.

  28. Dianne says:

    Feminist Yogini cheers to that

  29. I am a straight woman, a feminist and also a yoga teacher. I have often wondered about this issue too and have noticed that most of my favorite teachers are male. So thanks for inviting us to ponder the topic. I usually just chalk it up to my inner horn-ball and figure I just enjoy being around men with nice shoulders. ;) I seem to enjoy straight male and gay male teachers alike. I think you raise an important idea about these men being often softer and gentler than most of the other men we know. I think perhaps this is the most attractive factor for me.

  30. Paul says:

    As a single, straight, male practitioner of 9 months (frequently attending though!), I must admit I prefer the classes taught by the adorable women teachers. Just a guy thing. I'm never inappropriate and I'm liked by all the teachers and female students as well. (In the interest of full disclosure, I've never experience inappropriate behavior from either those teachers or students.) I have taken classes with male teachers and like I said, certainly prefer the female teachers, but I'm there for the yoga and many times appreciate a different (male) perspective. I think as a broad statement, women would prefer men and men would prefer women. Of course, there are exceptions, but this should be no surprise.

    • Dianne says:

      Absolutely Paul..I appreciate you being mindful about how you practice. Your respect from the practice is evident and really supported. We need more men on the mat and in classes

  31. Ben says:

    I’m a straight married male. I live in a relatively small town near a semi-large city. For a brief time we had yoga here. I was the only male student, but felt like I wasn’t accepted. My focus is on yoga. This experience suggests I may be more comfortable with a male teacher… Perhaps the students would be more accepting of the male students if there was a male teacher as well!

    • Dianne says:

      Ben I wonder about that too. I have only a handful of men in my studio and I wonder how feel about be the only guy in class. I currently have a male YTT student who was part of the inspiration for this blog. I wonder if it would bring more men out if we had a guys class only?

  32. Rhea says:

    In my experience, being in the fitness and yoga industry for eight years, I have learned that people do have their preferences–or should I say, prejudices. I've heard women tell me they prefer male teachers and I've heard them say the prefer women. I've heard men say they prefer women and other say they prefer men. Of course, such preference is an illusion and at this stage of our yogic evolution, we know that sex is not what makes a teacher great. I hope that as people evolve in their journey, they will learn this for themselves and see past such prejudices. Pointing out why some people prefer one sex over the other would only amplify this illusion, so I'll just say that I honestly don't care if one is male or female. I do care that they understand sequencing and that they will not injure me. I do care that they put a concerted effort and show great care in their teaching.

  33. Hope says:

    "Still waiting for a female head of state" in North America? Kim Campbell served as Prime Minister of Canada in the early 1990s. We in Canada–who like to think of ourselves as part of North America–are still waiting, as you are, for a female head of state in the USA. ;0) Greetings from the Great White North Country!

    • Dianne says:

      I knew that Kim Campbell unelected replacement stint as Prime Minster when Brian Mulroney resigned-was going to come up. Yes she was the first female Prime Minister in Canada. Her leadership was for a very short forgettable time as a replacement for PM Brian Mulroney. What I am looking for as a Canadian is a female leader of a party to rise to the seat of Prime Minister based on her actually leading the party.

  34. manorama says:

    Maybe it's just that I've never had a young fit male yoga teacher, but I can't say it is something I'm particularly attracted to. My first teacher, who is still my teacher after 7 or 8 years, is a woman and all other teachers pale in comparison to her.

  35. Brenda says:

    I've been practicing for 10 years – and 99 percent of my teachers have been women. I have had great teachers and I have had not-so-great teachers. It really has nothing to do with male or female. I think it's just a perception thing – this hotness thing.

  36. Karin says:

    I have noticed that the younger, more attractive female yoga teachers do attract more male students to their classes. For me, I certainly enjoy the "eye candy" of an attractive male teacher, but ultimately it's the yoga teachings that's being transferred to me that I desire, whether it's a male or female teacher.

  37. West Anson says:

    hmmmm…..as a straight, married, male, teacher (who does not hit on students or fellow Yoginis) and periodically goes to classes and workshops let me step into this mess and say the most obvious.

    Men tend to carry themselves better when it comes to teaching and being in front of audiences. This statement is only stereotypical and not universal, but most male teachers tend to exude confidence and authority in our voices, enunciation, mannerisms, and floor presence. In addition, if you look at the way male and female teachers sequence practices you will see a very different sequence that tends to find favor with students from the male Yogi. There are also so few male Yoga teachers (even fewer, the straight male version) in America that we are unique and rare, hence perceived more important and valuable.

    Now, this is not universal as I have attended terrible Yoga classes and workshops taught by men and great Yoga classes and workshops taught by women. It really comes down to how comfortable, competent. and confident the teacher is and how their room presence is perceived. If the teacher is not all of those, it will show.

    • Dianne says:

      West thanks for the real and for weighing in. I love to hear what male yoga teachers are thinking

    • Vision_Quest2 says:

      Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention … it's always the (male) Master Teacher, the one who is articulate and has that presence and that je ne sais quoi, who comes in to the class (until a strong female teacher gets up to speed, could be close-to-forever) who comes in to the class right after Savasana (when your prana is working overtime and you may be in a suggestible state) to hawk all the trainings, workshops, etc., whathaveyou, that are currently on offer by the studio. It even happened at the hippie yoga place that otherwise can do no wrong. At least when OM Yoga Center had been in existence in New York City, they'd had class enough to print up cute flyers for that same purpose, and leave any announcements as non-announcements, such as maybe under-the-table individual suggestions to regulars by the front desk staff.

      These announcements had been powerful enough that there were skill level underqualification to some of the workshops and/or – since they did not like me enough to even humor me – to me, personally, snide discouragements about same .. and so the whole strategy did not work that well … well okay, maybe I'm more susceptible to the male mojo than I'd thought …

    • timful says:

      I agree with you on the importance of confidence. Not so much about the techniques, but to convey the underlying motivational message "this will make you happy," "do this more often," "it is worth the effort," "you are good," "we are blessed," "I believe." You hear it in the tone of voice, in a language that probably goes back to our earliest grunts and is hard to fake. But, in my own experience, I have not found that male teachers are better at this. On the contrary, the undercurrent I often hear in their voices is "this is what they told me to say, this is how I make my living." I don't imagine I am hearing anything that I could not read in a book. I think that is simply because I am a man, so can more easily and automatically put myself into their shoes and be less moved. There is probably an element of competitiveness that makes me want to diminish them. I can see how that same dynamic would work oppositely for female students.

      • Vision_Quest2 says:

        Are you a young adult male?
        I am a postmenopausal female, and my hormonal levels severely plummeted in the past few years.

        While I do not actually feel competitive with young male yoga teachers, students and other teachers in these cohorts can AND DO pose the most challenges to the male teacher who will exercise their sexual mojo to try to sell their knowledge of yoga. (My financially destitute late father had always told me that teachers are "salespersons of knowledge"; and knowledge – or anything – is shared only for love or for money) .

        • timful says:

          No, I am 52. I think I decided I was smarter than all my teachers around 5th grade, and developed a strong tendency to question authority. That is really what I meant by competitiveness, not any desire to overtly "win," but just to march to the beat of my own drum. In the realm of logic and reason, this has served me well. But, one of the most important things I have gained from yoga is to recognize the limitations of my rational mind. I could not foresee how a regular practice of yoga would change me. So, there is an element of faith there, to embark on any practice that proceeds in such tiny increments. I mean, you can make the rational arguments about fitness, etc., but I am the type to ask "but what then?" I have found the female teachers to be more motivational in that regard, but you are right, it might just be hormones.

          • Vision_Quest2 says:

            My asexuality is not enough ammunition against those who would have a manipulative agenda, though. I, too, have intelligence (including kinesthetic) and awareness as befits MY situation. I have been underestimated by such yoga teachers—intellectually, physically and spiritually.

  38. Alexis says:

    As a yoga teacher, I tend to gravitate towards other female teachers who's teachings I admire and want to learn. As a single female and human, I tend to gravitate towards male yoga teachers AND students because I feel it's a rarity to be able to connect with the other gender on "that level" (and the reason they are generally attractive & healthy looking is because of the fact they do yoga! :)

  39. Dianne says:

    I am really enjoying this discussion… I have said it before and I will say it again is it simply estrogen reacting to Testosterone or the play of complementary opposites? The discussion here is intriguing and as diverse as yoga itself. What is it we are all looking for?

  40. Todd says:

    In my own teaching experience (straight, male teacher), I've found on several occasions that I'm the first man to ever truly give one of my female students heartfelt and sincere praise, acknowledge her devotion to yoga, or even be proud of her for her hard work. When we're praised by someone we respect, we react and may gravitate towards them. There's an emotional connection (whether it's realized on both sides, isn't always apparent). In one class, I had a student express Natarajasana in a truly beautiful and artistic way, and I simply responded "That's beautiful (her name), you've come so far, I'm so proud of you…." She fell to the floor afterwards and started crying. It turns out I'm the first man to ever say he was proud of her (she was 28 at this point), and it overwhelmed her.

    I am often saddened as a man, that I see so many women who have had poor male role models (fathers, boyfriends, husbands,etc). In the "safe" place of the yoga studio, we guide our students to be open and accepting….that can lead to vulnerability…on both sides. We as teachers leave our hearts and souls in our space when we teach. We seek just as much acceptance. Trust, vulnerability, and regular interaction can be intoxicating. Add in some sweat, nearly naked bodies, and a sprinkle of subdued power structure (teacher-student), and you have a ripe mixture for sexual energy. Physical and emotional attraction are the world's oldest prejudice. It happens. We've all seen it. Perhaps not participated in it, but we've seen it.

    As others have mentioned, I've also seen lecherous male yoga teachers only adjust the young, lovely students. In one class, my girlfriend was "adjusted" 17 times in 90 minutes. I was practicing next to her, and was not touched once. My advice for anyone, is to remember that You have the power to say "no, thank you" at all times. Sometimes we have to say "no, thank you" to ourselves too…

    • Dianne says:

      Todd thank you for your amazing insight. Well written and profoundly illuminating.

    • Dave says:

      I'm an aspiring young male teacher and I agree with your first 2 paragraphs completely, and really hope to embody what you have achieved in your teaching and healing others. Because to me it's really all about the healing, that's what we are doing here.

  41. catnipkiss says:

    I do not gravitate to male teachers, but I must admit that having male hands on me is nice in class. Female hands are also nice, but less charged. the teacher in my training was male, turning 40, an intriguing specimen. I admire him and learned a lot, but he's not my type, so no fantasies there. The young (23?) assistant in class told me that she and he were just friends, and admitted SHE has daddy issues from a father who abandoned her at a young age. Now they are an item, go figure! I'm just happy not to complicate my yoga classes with such stuff! – Alexa m.

  42. Patricia J says:

    Straight women love to be touched or flirted with by a man. (Not me. I could care less) Many of these male teachers connect very well with female participants. Male teachers should deflect this "sexual" vibe and strive to be seen as a friend, not a prospective love interest. This field is ripe with opportunities for men to prey upon women, how many take the "high "road here and keep the relationship professional? Many women are vulnerable and start Yoga, looking for life's answers. DOn't take advantage, guys.

  43. mjeuland says:

    So is this why Kali Ray's TriYoga has not caught on?

  44. Lisa says:

    Hopefully a unique perspective, but adding to Sallyearthsky above…

    I don't 'prefer' male teachers over female. I prefer teachers who are tuned in. It wouldn't matter, When I'm touched by a yoga teacher (for an adjustment, etc) I expect to feel a true physical connection with them as they put their energy into your body to help you. Some people 'gender'ize their physical pleasure. I happen to not be one of those people. So, if I feel a connection to an instructor, male or female, I'm going to seek out that person, repeatedly, for that connection. I think that because people tend to 'gender'ize their physical pleasure, they gravitate toward what they believe could be the only source and for most heterosexuals, it would be the opposite sex. (This assumes that pheromones have been completely removed from the equation.) It stands to reason that a woman who believes she is 100% heterosexual, also believes she could only experience gratification (both physical and emotional) from a man, and vice versa.

    Also, women long for men who are tuned in physically. Yogis are ALWAYS tuned in. Something in us knows that a man with such finite and exquisite control of his body could apply those same principals to making ours sing. That's no mystery.

    Excuse me now, for I need a cold shower. :)

  45. Dianne says:

    Wow amazing comment Lisa .It made me think, feel and laugh…

  46. Nat says:

    As a woman I am far more comfortable (and therefore can have a more enlightening practice) with a female teacher. I am, however, much more drawn to male-led classes. I never find the same inner tranquility in a male teacher’s class but I’m erm…more excited if you catch my drift. I identify with many of the female commenters, my desire for male validation (and yoga teachers) stems from issues with my father. I’m hoping yoga will allow me to address these issues in a positive way…which is why I should avoid those delicious yoga men ;)

  47. Iyan says:

    Personally as a male yoga teacher I found the vulnerability of women, yet they are so smart, so sensitive, and they want to prove us they can. Women so challenging in many things that why we have to be confident, solid minded, knowladgable, and knowing when we have to use our righ brain and our left brain. Women, may be you see that is a hot yoga teacher, for me it is challenging physically, mentally and spiritually.

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