Real Men Do Yoga!
As the In-house Yogi at Clif Bar and Company, I have enjoyed the challenge of introducing many dudes to yoga. Instructing a bunch of sarcastic, athletic guys I now understand how to capture their attention and respect.
1. To build a locker-room style camaraderie, refer to everyone by their last names.
2. Don’t hand out blocks. Use an underhanded toss. Anything that resembles playing catch will build competency.
3. Bring extra towels for the puddles of sweat. Inexplicably during the abdominal breathing at the start of class, some guys have already started sweating.
4. Make the class just challenging enough so that they feel like they are getting something done. Suffering apparently equals productivity.
5. In each pose, emphasize the dristi (gaze points). The gaze rarely includes the cleavage bubbling out of the tight tank top on the neighboring mat.
6. With tight, seated twists or cobra give them a few extra moments to make the needed adjustments.
7. Downplay the competitive elements of the practice while noting which poses will improve their golf swing, marathon time or cycling skills.
8. Avoid too much esoteric, woo-woo language. However, don’t be afraid to throw out some obscure anatomical references. Any remotely “scientific” terminology will earn respect.
9. Unlike the seasoned yoginis, tightly bound dudes can’t always take a deep, physical adjustments. Be tender.
10. Reassure them that their hamstrings will get more flexible.
11. To ensure that everyone feels safe, don’t hit on students.
12. Have fun. While keeping the class on track, allow for some self-deprecating humor and irreverent commiserating. Guys could teach us that we don’t need to be quite so serious about yoga.
Related article: Broga—Yoga for Bro’s.
Sadie Chanlett-Avery serves as the In-house Yogi at Clif Bar & Co., holds an MA in Holistic Health Education and several fitness certifications including the elite Russian Kettlebell Challenge. With a fresh, insightful voice she writes at the nexus of yoga, fitness and holistic health here. She is working on her first book, “Movement Manifesto: A Holistic Revival of Fitness.” She loves living in Oakland, CA. She also understands the power of a bright, red pedicure to inspire one’s practice.
This article was prepared by Aminda Courtwright, Assistant Yoga Editor.