5 Men on Why I Yoga

Not just a women’s practice, 5 men share why they practice yoga

 

 

Soccer is male, dancing is female. Jiu Jitsu is male, yoga is female. Somehow sports and recreational activities get a gender label attached. This month we’ve been marching to the beat of our own drum and showing that those labels are just deterrents that prevent people from trying something new on the basis that they don’t fit that label.

 

During my 30 day yoga challenge, I saw just how many men actually do practice yoga – regularly, and realized that much like running or swimming anyone can do it.

I asked some male yogis why they yoga and this is what they said….

 

Bruce Chung, Yoga teacher and world explorer

 

I first started practicing yoga in 2005 and began teaching in 2008.

I was first introduced to yoga on a whim. My friend Rio had been experimenting with a lot of adrenaline sports. In the span of 3 months, he got me rock-climbing, skydiving, and also roped me into hot yoga. I think at the time, the hot yoga made sense as far as adrenaline sports as it was cardiovascular in nature. I went to my first class without an inkling as to what yoga was, but it was different than anything I had done before so I left with a curiosity and intrigue. Not to mention, I felt great at the end of class. I toyed with it off and on for 8 to 10 months before a regular practice really took shape.

 

Why I Yoga - Bruce Chung

Why I yoga

Yoga is a lifestyle for me. I practice yoga, I teach yoga, and I strive to learn from the teachings which are plentiful and far beyond physical. I love that I can use my body to gain deeper insights into who I am. Yoga has been, and continues to be, transformational. I am motivated to practice as it continually helps me uncover truths about myself and life. The practice also empowers me to live authentically.

The practice helps us develop the skill to remain still and calm in the midst of physical and mental challenges.

The biggest misconception about men and yoga is

A big misconception that men have about yoga is that it is a practice solely geared to women. There is a belief that yoga is gentle stretching and for one reason or another, men in general aren’t drawn to that. The truth is that there are some yoga asana (posture) practices that are physically demanding with no limit as to the physical challenges. The practice helps us develop the skill to remain still and calm in the midst of physical and mental challenges. It is also a wonderful complement to other sport.

Follow Bruce on Instagram @brucechungyoga

 

Steven Heyman, founder of Yoga Works

 

I have been practising yoga for 9 years now, and for the past 4 years it has been on a daily basis.

I was introduced to yoga by my wife, who started her yoga practice 12 years ago. At first I had the typical “guy response” – this is not a real sport! But after a longer trip to India during which we did lots of yoga, I really started to notice the many benefits of a yoga practice and now it will stay with me for the rest of my life.

 

Why I Yoga - Steven Heyman 

Why I Yoga

I practice yoga because it allows me to get to know myself better and from there realise my full potential (whether it is physically, mentally or emotionally).

Yoga allows me to get to know myself better and from there realise my full potential

The biggest misconception about men and yoga is

That you have to be flexible before joining a yoga class. A regular yoga practice will indeed increase flexibility, but what is less well known is that it also strengthens a wide range of muscles in the body. And then I haven’t mentioned the positive effects yoga has on balance, focus, reducing stress, and the list goes on…

Follow Steven on Instagram @stevenyogaworks

 

Eon Swiegers, yoga teacher and founder of Eonyoga Teacher Training School

 

I have been practicing yoga for exactly 10 years this month and I have been teaching yoga for 7 years in total.

 

I was looking for a form of training that would make me stronger and more flexible at the same time. I wanted to do a form of training where we actually use the one thing that we can’t go without for more than 5 minutes, the breath.

 

Why I Yoga - Eon Swiegers
Why I Yoga

Yoga is the most challenging form of training that I have ever done in my life. It challenges my mind and body in a healthy fashion with body awareness and breath being the main focus of the practice. Yoga practice allows you to learn more about your own body. It teaches you how to use your own body. One posture on a yoga mat can work on your balance, strength, flexibility, focus and breath, all at the same time!

Yoga Challenges my mind and body in a healthy fashion with body awareness and breath being the main focus of the practice.

 

The biggest misconception about men and yoga is

Gauteng is slightly behind when it comes to men and yoga. The majority of men think of yoga as something that only women can or should do. A lot of men think that yoga is stretching or simply relaxing on a mat, but from an anatomy point of view, men need yoga more than women. Men are naturally tighter in the hips, shoulders and back, not to mention hamstrings.

From my experience men are also weaker than women in many ways. Guys that go to the gym to condition one specific muscle group, neglect the other muscle groups. You want your body to be in proportion and balanced. You want the center point of the body to be strong and you want the left and the right side of the body to be equally supple and strong. This could take years, especially if you have overdeveloped shoulders, traps or biceps. I get the same feedback from any guy that does my class. They all say something about how tough it actually is, and how they didn’t expect to get a workout on the yoga mat.

Follow Eon on Instagram @eonyoga

 

Steve Roberts, Yoga teacher and trainer

 

My first yoga class was in 2005, when I was working as a teacher at a school in Prague. It was arranged as a ‘work-life balance’ event during our lunch break. At the time, I felt really self-conscious twisting and folding and shaking in front of my boss!  But it wasn’t until I was working in a remote area of Sri Lanka that I realised just how much a regular practice helped me to connect to myself more sincerely.

 

Initially, I wasn’t exactly sure what yoga was.  It hadn’t yet been picked up by mainstream media, so I hadn’t had too much exposure to the many things yoga can mean. I pieced together my understanding though how I felt after each class and still continue to develop insights into what the practice means for me.

A good friend, colleague and housemate had a David Swenson DVD (when DVDs were still a thing!) of the Ashtanga Primary Series.  We used to blunder our way through the series, with lots of laughter and questionable alignment!  It was this light-hearted approach to the practice which lit a flame for me.  A little later, I branched out into other styles of yoga and developed a more disciplined practice, which is definitely an ongoing and highly rewarding challenge.  As with everything we enjoy, whether that’s running, boxing, kayaking or painting, there’s always a starting point.  Just show up a first time and take it from there.

 

Why I Yoga - Steve-Roberts

 

Why I yoga 

This depends on the day.  Some days, I need to ground and follow a yin practice; other days, I want to energise, so I’ll do a more vigorous vinyasa practice.  If I’ve had a tough day, I’ll come home and do a headstand to shift my perspective.  The practice is dynamic so it means different things to me at different times.  It’s certainly more than asana (the postures).  In essence, yoga creates space in my mind and body into which new things can flow.

Yoga creates space in my mind and body into which new things can flow.

 

The biggest misconception about men and yoga is

Perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions is that yoga is a ‘feminine practice’ when, in reality, yoga works towards developing a balance between the masculine and the feminine within all of us: the yang and the yin; the hot and the cool; the day and the night.  Masculine and feminine are different sides of the same coin.

 

Despite differences in male and female bodies, don’t we all yearn for similar things?  A deeper connection to all of ourselves and those around us, and the ability to move with ease, compassion and bliss through our day-to-day.  Our gender seems incidental when we mull over what makes us human.

Follow Steve on Instagram @steveroberts.yoga

 

Andre-Louise De Villiers, Yoga teacher and student

 

I’ve been doing yoga for 6 years. My girlfriend at the time introduced me to it.

 

Why I Yoga - Andre-Louise De Villiers, 

Why I yoga

Yoga has become a self-management tool for me. A way to regulate my mental and physical wellbeing.

Yoga is ultimately about what you can do with your own, unique body. To work within its own abilities and limitations.

The biggest misconception about men and yoga is

That you have to be flexible to do yoga. It can obviously be an intimidating environment for a man, as it is a female dominated environment. This is where the misconception comes in that there is a comparison to others and what others can do. Yoga is ultimately about what you can do with your own, unique body, to work within its own abilities and limitations.

Follow Andre on Instagram @andretheyogi

 

Subscribe to our newsletter for more

Main Image Steven Heyman

Zissy Lewin

Zissy Lewin

Zissy is the co-founder of Nutreats. A Wits University graduate, she earned a Bcom (Hons) (Cum Laude) in Business Management. She’s a writer, runner and passionate about the 3 f’s – food, fashion and fitness. When she’s not inhaling the latest news, trends and ideas you can find her in the kitchen figuring out how to turn a broccoli head into a meal.
Zissy Lewin
No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.