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.