As part of Men’s Health Awareness month (Movember), it’s lovely to connect with the YAP community and give my experiences of teaching Men Only yoga classes. As a yoga teacher, Health Coach and Health tech entrepreneur, I’ve looked at the whole Men’s Health package and tried to incorporate all the best parts into my weekly Men’s Yoga classes.
Having struggled with my health for 15 years prior to this calling, I understand the physical and mental barriers when it comes to improving health. I think it comes down to self-efficacy, that self-belief, which is what I try to instil into my yoga classes and for all that attend. Some men really struggle to get their heads around this activity that they perceive to be female-dominant and, anecdotally, get quite intimidated at the thought of going to a class predominantly female.
In September 2020, Men’s Yoga Club (MYC) was formed, at the beautiful Grace & Gravity Studio, Howbery Park, South Oxfordshire. The plan originally was to get more men to the mat. As a patron of many yoga studios in the South East of England, I was always surprised at how few men did a regular studio yoga practice. The studio owners and I wanted to promote the benefits of yoga to the uninitiated male community!
What actually happened was a whole lot more!
It has become a great community of men, some who want to complement other physical activities with a regular yoga practice, and some who just want to stay strong and flexible and love the community that’s been built. This community appears to love the early 7 am start, which fits in with both work and family life schedules, so it gives them very few reasons not to attend. The community does have quite a few who work away at times but always come back enthused and ready to practice. The conversation ranges from events they are entering/have just completed (such as Ultra Marathons - Triathlons), local events, general gossip, personal challenges and the next MYC social meetup. The ‘Club’ members are very supportive of each other, injecting a certain amount of friendly banter to soften life’s ups and downs.
If asked how a man should get started in Yoga, here are a few ideas:
Men’s Yoga Club, Thursdays at 7 am at Grace & Gravity Studio, Howbery Park, Wallingford, Oxfordshire.