Do you ever wonder why yoga has become a mostly female thing to do in many western countries? Especially when yoga was mostly invented by men…
For some reason, yoga has become a mostly female thing to do here in the UK, and in many western countries. Which always seems so strange to me, as yoga was mostly invented by men, for men, and it’s often men who run the yoga studios, the yoga shops and run many of the successful yoga businesses.
Yoga Gets Us In Touch With Our Emotions
So it’s a bit odd that men mostly don’t practice yoga. Perhaps it’s because yoga gets us in touch with our emotions, and men are, in this society, taught not to cry, not to be in touch with their emotions, and that they’re meant to get tough and strong. Of course, when many men do want to practice yoga, we see them practicing the strength poses, looking very ‘manly’, rather than opening up to experience the softer side of life, doing a more nurturing practice.
Subtle Signs of Success
I think that the real work that needs to be done by most of us in this world that so values competition, succeeding and strength, is a turning inward. Most of us don’t need to get strong, we have plenty of strength and resilience from living in this tough, outwardly-oriented world.
We’re so used to signs of success being obvious, in a strong body, in amassed wealth, in fame and seeing our names in lights, that we forget to look at the subtle signs of success shining through. To me these signs of success are a contented, healthy, calm person who readily helps others and lacks insecurities, so feels strong enough to put others before themselves.
A Deep Inner Well of Contentment
What many of us need more of is a sense of inner-strength, of happiness coming from deep within ourselves, and not from being a result of fame, wealth or how we appear to be. Our yoga can help us to develop a deep inner well of contentment, so that we don’t need to rely so much on external events going well or comments from other people.
Perhaps this applies more to men than women, as there seems to be even more pressure on men to present ‘success’ to the world, and there is less of a societal norm for men to share how they feel and help each other realise their vulnerabilities and get help with their inner and emotional life.
This weekend is Fathers’ Day in the UK. I’d love to hear from you guys who have found that yoga has helped you to deal with the expectations and experiences of being a man in this tough world. And perhaps the women who notice a change in men when they start to practice. You might think about giving your dad, son, friend or male partner the gift of yoga, so that guys can start to experience the value of their inner world above pressure for outwardly success.
If you can think of anyone who would benefit from the gift of yoga, remember that subscribers get 50% off gift subscriptions.
This post was written by Kat Farrants, founder of Movement For Modern Life.