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The Yoga Blog

12 Questions With Kerry Duggan: Let's Encourage Working Men Into Yoga

1. Let's start with your practice; how did you enter the yoga world?

I actually took up yoga to help with my mobility for athletic performance. At the time, I was participating in monthly half marathons and a few other activities. Still, I needed more mobility in the hips. Like most, I got quickly drawn into how great I'd feel after class.

2. Did you find that yoga did help your athletic performance?

Yes, obviously all my numbers were up, but it was the confidence that knowing what my body and mind were capable of and recovery was quicker. It really bridged a gap athletically.

3. Did the results from your yoga practice make you want to share the excellent benefits of yoga with other men?

Yes, I definitely wanted to share the results with people. When you hear men in the workplace huffing or giving it the 'oooowwww' as they do something as simple as sitting or getting off a chair, you find yourself saying, "Start going to yoga. You'll stop all that creaky, stiff movement."

4. Did you become a yoga teacher hoping to bring more men into yoga?

Yes, I wanted a Men's class from the start of teaching and working-class men at that. It was just trying to find the right language to make men feel comfortable going to class.

5. You said that you offer Yoga for Men classes every week. How long have these been going on, and what made you offer these classes

Over a year now. Late summer 2021.

I wanted men to find the benefits I found. Especially as they enter middle age and team sports of your youth are phased out, your body needs a little TLC. Or they are at a time in life when responsibilities are high, and they need to get out of their heads for an hour and let go of the day.

6. How do you grow these yoga classes?

I have found that dropping an old-school flyer door-to-door is the best way to get that intro to men new to yoga. The info is there in their hand, or their partner is like, "this will be great for you."

I enjoy a creative approach to classes with new sequences or transitions into poses we've workshopped. The feedback is that they like the surprise of where we are going, and boom, we are in a pose we know!

7. Why do you think men view yoga as an exercise for flexible women?

Marketing really. It's been practised mainly by men for millennia, but since the 60s, it's been heavily marketed toward women. This is probably where men get the "oh no, I'm not flexible enough for yoga" they only see the hypermobile in the ads; let's face it, they are generally selling yoga clothing or accessories rather than the practice, but people connect the two.

8. Do you have any advice for other yoga teachers who want more men to come to their yoga classes?

Find the right language to connect the working man to get them in the door. Sometimes, the esoteric has to be sugar-coated or drip-fed so they get on the mat. The practice will take care of the rest.

9. What do you find most fulfilling about teaching yoga to men?

A few have mentioned how it's had a positive effect on their well-being, and that was pretty boss.

10. As time has passed, have you found that men are more open to adding yoga to their routines now than last year?

There have been more enquiries in the last few months.

11. Do you have any theories as to why men are more open to yoga now?

For Men with an athletic interest, they can see that their sports star will have some yogic/flexibility programme.

For others, the research from Western science has shown in a relatable language that it can help with everyday stress and anxiety levels and the physical benefits.

There may be more men looking for some answer within, a deep connection with life.

All theories but all possible!

12. Do you have anything else to add?

Let's get working men to classes.

Kerry Duggan

Join my yoga for men classes every Wednesday at 6:30pm.
Taking place at Bristol Dance Company, Fishponds, Bristol, BS16 3SQ

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