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Guys, Is This Is What Yoga Is Like For You?

in YD News, YogaHaha

This video is called “Guys Try Yoga for the First Time,” but, guys, we really want to know, is this what yoga is like for you?

From the folks at Buzzfeed, the video shows a few dudes stepping onto the mat for the first time resulting in a dubious combo of confused faces, super tight hammies and socks. Save for the awkward scenario of a private one-on-one (plus camera) setting and singing bowl solos, this may actually be a pretty accurate depiction of what it’s like for guys in an average open-level class. You want me to put my foot where? Feel my energy what? Balance on my hands and kick my legs out how? “Pretty sure this is break dancing.”

It’s kind of funny and cute, but it’s not really fair. Hopefully, there would be a bit more guided instruction and more of an intro in real life (like mayyybe no side crow for the first yoga class?), but we also know there are some guys out there who jump right in with that mentality of “I see women do it before so its not a big problem for me.”

Mm hm.

guys-try-yoga

But we want to hear from the yoga dudes out there? What was your first yoga class like? Or if you haven’t yet tried yoga, does this make you more curious? Or does it has it reaffirmed yoga as your worst nightmare?

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Earlier

25 comments… add one

  • Dave Smith

    As a Dude with a steady Yoga practice I really did not find it all that funny. Those characters portrayed are more the fears of every dude in yoga not the realities of a guy in Yoga.

    A much funnier skit would have bee on the thoughts of the teacher and women students when a guy walks into a new class. The month of November I dedicated my practice to Practicing with Strangers. I have been taking classes at studios and with teachers I have never practiced with.

    In the last 7 classes I have only practiced with only one other male student. The reactions of the female teachers and students has been the same as it has for my entire practice. It ranges from Amusement. “Oh, Isn’t that cute, his girlfriend is making him take a class”. Also there are the people that seem to think the only reason guys practice yoga is to find their “Next ex-girlfreind”.

    Teachers are almost always a tad bit condescending with a new guy in class. “don’t worry sweetie, I’ll give you modifications you can do when we get to something you can’t do”

    To top it off, I have had my ass adjusted twice. Both times not 5 minutes into the class. Once in a forward fold and once in child’s pose. I’m guessing the “Adjustments” were for their benefit, not mine!

    Thanks for listening and Namaste!
    Dave Smith

  • Mary

    Yikes. Keep looking for better studios. Tell those teachers how they make you feel. That’s wacko.

  • Michele

    Dave, If you are ever in NYC go to Dharma Yoga Center and take a Noon Master Class with Sri Dharma Mittra. He’s been teaching for over 50 years and created the “Master Yoga Chart of 908 Postures” 30 years ago. Usually equal ratio and a beautiful, challenging class with a focus on spiritual knowledge. It’s the real deal if you are looking to deepen your practice. Namaste. :-)

    BTW Yoshio is excellent as well!!!

  • DST

    I guess your ass was something that needed to be adjusted!

  • In my first yoga class at Jivamukti in New York City, the instructor corrected my form in one pose by telling me to pull my shoulders back and open my chest. She followed that by looking me right in the eye and asking “why are you hiding your heart?” I wanted to respond with, “because this is a cruel fucking city.” But I stayed quiet and tried to fit in.

  • Dwayne

    Aside from the above criticisms, the selection of postures seems really fake. I seriously doubt a private class for several absolute beginners would include the pigeon (“mermaid”) variation or the eka pada koundinyasa I variation shown. Otherwise, the video was better than I expected, though not a home run.

  • daryl morazzini

    This is sexist. You should be ashamed to post this.

  • Oh come on, this video is just silly, and not an actual beginner’s practice. King pigeon with a flipped grip? Eka pada koundinyasa? In the first time someone’s trying yoga? Nope.

    My husband says yoga is “worse than working out” – for whatever that’s worth haha.

  • Michelle

    This was, frankly, kind of silly, but I guess they were trying to be funny. I agree, too, it was a bit sexist. (Think about how you’d react if the genders were reversed in this video, ladies.)

    As for the guys who’ve commented here regarding the classes they’ve taken: I’m sorry you had negative experiences, and suggest going to a Mysore-style class at a traditional Ashtanga studio – there’s more men practicing Ashtanga (and many times, the teacher is a guy); also, you won’t EVER be told to “open your heart” or “surrender to bliss” in an Ashtanga class – nor will your teacher condescend (if they are a good teacher, that is.) Yes, there’s a bit of chanting, but if you don’t like chanting, no one will care if you keep your mouth shut during it, and it only lasts about a minute. Suck it up and just breathe! Finally, you won’t be subjected to people talking about you in an Ashtanga studio – or to you for that matter – because no one talks that much at all! They show up at their convenience, do their practice with some help from the teacher, and leave when they are done.

    As for assists, well, you will have to get used to those in Ashtanga – that’s how much of it is taught. But, if you don’t like your ass grabbed, no matter what kind of yoga class you take, just speak up and say, “I’d prefer you grabbed me elsewhere, thanks!”

  • Very funny :) And right on. Depends what classes you go to. Iyengar also is very alignment based with highly trained teachers and a lot of men practice this style. Actual although it can be seen as sexist it also shows men as adorable. We can also celebrate our differences and yes, men do have a certain conditioned response to yoga so this was playing with that. Nothing more. Real men do yoga. And all men are real :)

  • John

    The video isn’t all that funny, sadly, there’s the potential for something hilarious, but it doesn’t begin to develop it.

    To answer the question – No. I came from a background that demanded much more strength and balance and (in several areas) similar flexibility.

    There’s a certain amount of condescension – the number of times I’ve heard “you’re very flexible – for a man”. There’s a lot of incomprehension – no, saying “you’re very strong… ” is not magically going to flatter me into whatever it is you’re wanting to ask me to do. No, the reason I’m less flexible than I might be in pose X is not because I’m “so strong”, or because I do handstands. There’s a fair bit of being blinded by normal strength – the first Astanga practice I did the teacher came over and whispered “you have amazing bandha control!” I still don’t, over a decade of intense, regular, practice later, but I can hold an L-sit for a while, like most healthy men with a similar background. There’s a certain amount of defensiveness – ranging from the teachers who come up to me after class and tell me they’re too flexible to do handstands through the teachers who embarrassingly decide that having a normal man, in class is a reason to loudly “celebrate” that man’s “inspiring” practice, up to the rare teacher who decides that all men are ego driven idiots to be held to scorn at every opportunity.

    On the positive side, there are many more teachers who just take every body they find on a mat and teach it to the best of their ability, and many students who quietly and pleasantly go out of their way to make a man feel welcome despite being the only male in the studio.

  • As a male who has spent many a years as the only guy in the back of a yoga class, I really didn’t find this video all that funny. It makes me want to take a 500 hr. teacher training this year and run a class just for guys.

    I would start by covering the relationship between breathing and moving and some basic anatomy complete with PowerPoint projected illustrations to explain to the left brained males what is actually happening inside their bodies,. For example, whey we want extension and why it’s OK to bend our knees in forward bends, how we can avoid stressing our spines and how to avoid injuries. Not just to say it but to see and understand it.

    I wouldn’t even go to asana until we learned how to sit for a 10 min meditation and got clear on what we are here for, or how/why to establish a daily practice for your body and mind. How does this relate to my everyday life?

    Most guys crave context and a logical blue print to a healthy life. Of course this applies to anyone including women.

    Om Shanti

  • As a male who has spent many a years as the only guy in the back of a yoga class, I really didn’t find this video all that funny. It makes me want to take a 500 hr. teacher training this year and run a class just for guys.

    I would start by covering the relationship between breathing and moving and some basic anatomy complete with PowerPoint projected illustrations to explain to the left brained males what is actually happening inside their bodies,. For example, whey we want extension and why it’s OK to bend our knees in forward bends, how we can avoid stressing our spines and how to avoid injuries. Not just to say it but to see and understand it.

    I wouldn’t even go to asana until we learned how to sit for a 10 min meditation and got clear on what we are here for, or how/why to establish a daily practice for your body and mind. How does this relate to my everyday life?

    Most guys crave context and a logical blue print to a healthy life. Of course this applies to anyone including women.

    Om Shanti

    ronen

  • Suzanne Dulin

    I saw this going around on Facebook. The setup is funny and the execution of the video is, too, but when I was done viewing it I thought, “And that’s why a lot of men don’t do yoga…and really a lot of women too.”

    Even though the teacher acted nice, the poses were not suited to the student before her and the sanskrit alienated him. When do practicing yoga become about making the teacher feel superior?

  • Suzanne Dulin

    I saw this going around on Facebook. The setup is funny and the execution of the video is, too, but when I was done viewing it I thought, “And that’s why a lot of men don’t do yoga…and really a lot of women too.”

    Even though the teacher acted nice, the poses were not suited to the student before her and the sanskrit alienated him. When did practicing yoga become about making the teacher feel superior?

  • vq2

    Not really a film critic, but two middle fingers up for the clueless instructor. (And that is an American mudra–but it’s used Siskel and Ebert-style here …)

    Absolutely clueless! [Even if that were supposed to be Bikram]

  • It is PR like this that makes yoga teachers look like idiots and airheads. I certainly hope this was intended as a satire and not in the ballpark of reality. (Sadly, there are “green” teachers out there, with little A&P who have no business teaching people to move their bodies, (mind you not just in yoga) so I am sure some folks have had this type of gymnastic experience. As a teacher you instructing new students, A) you do not do advance pose B) You don’t use sanskrit, it means nothing to a new student C) you explain what and WHY and HOW, (in the video she is in her own little pathetic delusional world (I would not pay her) D) you do a screening, history of knee, shoulder, back, injury, any recent medical issues… So this was a great lesson in poor teaching, and insult. Namaste! (Which I would NOT use with a new student either!)

  • Grant Standen

    I have had a committed Iyengar asana practise for six years now. And a pranayama practise for the last four years.

    I am a former rugby union player, way 127 kg and am 5’11″ tall. I am muscular and have a powerful build. As a person who has played sport (rugby, rowing, boxing) all my life, and been very fit, I have a high level of body awareness. As an introvert I also have a degree of natural stillness and containment.

    When I walk into a class with a teacher I have not worked with before, I ocassionally get the “are you in the right level/class” look (I am at level 2 at present).

    This look turns to total confusion sometimes, later in class – usually when I bust out a dead-straight shoulder stand for eight minutes, kick up first time into pinca mayurasana or move into urdhva dhanurasana along with the others with more “yogic” builds.

    The point I am making here is two-fold. First, in my experience the confusion around men in yoga is all within the teacher – they often haven’t a clue how to teach men. Even the male teachers. Secondly, asana is not gymnastics, and there should never be any kind of conversation about who is suited to it, and who is not. Yoga (in all its forms) is about awareness and presence. And men are as capable of awareness, presence, focus and persistence (tapas) as anyone else.

    A truly good teacher can work with any body, and get it moving in the right way. The rest is in the student’s control.

  • hImix

    Yea, I was more amused by the teacher’s faults than the guys.

  • Nathan Wrightsman

    No teacher should make any 1st time students do the advanced postures. This teacher could have injured these students, and I would have never gone back to yoga a second time, if this was my experience. It seems like she was just trying to humiliate them, if not injure them. Bad, bad teacher.

  • Nathan Wrightsman

    No teacher should make any 1st time students do advanced postures just to prove how hard it is. This teacher could have injured these students, and I would have never gone back to yoga a second time, if this was my experience. It seems like she was just trying to humiliate them, if not injure them. Bad, bad teacher.

  • Run away from teachers like this. First class- advanced postures? That was makes people stay away from yoga in general.

  • It’s BuzzFeed, people! Sure it promotes stereotypes; and a teacher shouldn’t lead newbs into advanced poses. But the video is just meant to be fun. IMO, Yoga should be more fun. Falling is fun (as long as you don’t get hurt); it means you’re exploring new territory.

    My first studio class was terrifying. I was self conscious, awkward, unbalanced, clumsy. Now a few years and a Teacher Training later, I’m composed, connected to my body & breath, maybe even graceful. I still like to try new things and fall out of postures. And I laugh when I do.

  • That was hilarious. If it was real they were all laughing at themselves for having broken the stereotype of what they thought yoga was. I thought it would have been more interesting using an experienced male instructor instead.

  • brad

    I have attended yoga classes for the last 3yrs, I am the token guy in 80% of the classes that I attend. Our classes a pretty focused on the Physical aspects of yoga. I see this same scene play out daily, as I see new guys come in to the class. At first they are freaked out by any mention of the softer side of yoga being practiced. Next they are harshly confronted by the limitations of their bodies to pull off most of the poses. And the final Blow is to their egos (that results in them never coming back), is the fact all of the older ladies in attendance have more endurance and stability and they don’t even break a sweat.

    Even in conversation outside of the Gym, people immediately tease about: finger symbols, incense, taking naps,……. I just tell them it has helped me loose 45lbs and absolutely transform my body’s shape and look. I also tell them how it prepares my body for when I want to be extreme (without injury or Fade); Skiing, Dirtbike riding, Construction….

    …Soo I endure this little mentioned Stigma, I let the Old Ladies Kick my ass, I find My quiet corner, and Close my eyes & listen, …Next thing I know, the hour is up and I feel Great!!

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