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Whatever the preconceptions about yoga, more and more men are realising the benefits of this practice.

As a male teacher I know how good yoga is for men but we are still not getting the message across sufficiently.

The statistics concerning men’s mental health in the UK are stark, and these only refer to those who have been formally diagnosed. Many experts believe that men in particular may avoid mental health treatment and be unwilling to share what they are experiencing with medical professionals.

According to the Mental Health Foundation: Men aged 40-49 have the highest suicide rates in the UK.

Men report lower levels of life satisfaction than women according to the government’s national wellbeing survey.

Men are less likely to access psychological therapies than women: only 36% of referrals to NHS talking therapies are for men.

Men are nearly three times as likely as women to become dependent on alcohol, and three times as likely to report frequent drug use.

Men are more likely to be compulsorily detained (or ‘sectioned’) for treatment than women.

In recent years the narrative has started to shift. Work from mental health campaigners is helping to destigmatise mental illness, and it is becoming increasingly acknowledged that self-care should not be confined to one gender.

The amount of research into yoga for mental health is both vast and continually growing. Yoga is self care, physically, emotionally and mentally across all genders.

Yoga can become a source of calm in men’s lives. Far from requiring a base level of fitness or spirituality in order to start, yoga is accessible and adaptable, and letting go of any expectations they may have of yoga and themselves is one of the freeing parts of the practice.

I am going to run a few classes in the coming weeks, subject to interest and numbers, exclusively for men come along and try some yoga, no matter what level they are. The classes will be suitable for absolute beginners and regulars, you won’t feel out of place, awkward, or ‘no good at this.’ Some movements will be challenging, body specific and you will surprise yourselves.

The classes will aim to inform and educate men about yoga, they will learn about their bodies, how to breathe, and how to find some calmness in their lives and above all, they will understand the essence of yoga.

#yogaformen, #manyoga, #yogaforstrength

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I know what it's like when you want to do some yoga at home but forget the sequences and some of the finer details of the postures. When you follow the online stuff, they're too quick, especially mine! and you need to crane your neck to follow...

I have produced a home practice guide which goes in to some detail about sun salutations and the various great postures I use in class. These are free, just drop me an email for a pdf copy. Also, if you have a particular requirement, or like any particular postures, I will produce a home practice video for you, cost £25 for a duration that works for you.

email or message me if you are interested:

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Typically 80% of yoga classes are female, I see this in my classes, however the men that attend my classes regularly talk to me and express their appreciation as they ‘get’ yoga.

There are many possible reasons why men stay away from yoga classes, but a few reasons seem to stick out more than others. It may be the competitive nature in men and the belief that many men don't find yoga challenging enough for the physical goals they wish to accomplish. Plainly stated, many men don't find yoga "masculine" enough for them, quite possibly they haven’t seen crow pose, side crane or considered handstands!

The need for men to have concrete exercise results may also be a reason why they refrain from yoga. With weight lifting or weight training, a man may see an increase in muscle mass - a bigger bicep or a bit of definition here or there. But with yoga, many of the most important changes are internal, mental and emotional benefits that maybe harder to gauge for a person taught to measure success by wins and losses. The physical benefits are almost incidental to most practitioners although they are significant.

Finally, there is the ego and men's fear of failure as one of the reasons they shun yoga in such large numbers. Since most men's idea of exercise consists of lifting weights or calisthenics that require the body to move in such a rigid motion, they often lack the flexibility that yoga demands. Even beginners may give up after a few sessions because they fear "failure" at not being able to perform the moves (without realising that their inflexibility may be the biggest reason they should participate in yoga), lower back pain can be attributed to tight hamstrings which are prevalent in active men.

Men who attend yoga classes must let down their defences and not think of yoga in terms of success and failure. Yoga is not concerned with perfection of pose or rating someone based on whether they can perform a backbend on their first day in class. Yoga practice is a gradual process where the student comes to acknowledge the mind-body connection. When placed in the right perspective with realistic goals, each yoga session can be considered a "success".

Men should be willing to let themselves go mentally in a yoga class. Some of the most powerful men in the modern world have credited yoga with letting them clear their heads of the day-to-day stresses and mental strain of the workday. Not only does yoga let them get rid of old, troublesome thoughts, it allows new thoughts to come in. indeed, many top executives have claimed that some of their most successful ideas have come while meditating during yoga.

It may take a while until more men embrace yoga the way women have and it is my intention to try and bring more men into yoga so that they too can begin to understand the benefits of yoga, both mental and physical. To this end, if there is interest, I will be running some ‘men only’ bloke yoga classes across Wokingham. I will arrange a venue and set up a class, if you read this, are interested either for yourself, or a partner or friend, please drop me a line.

07917 664 525

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