I have been practicing Yoga on and off for the past seven years and to this day, I remember the first time I went to class. On a Friday, a dear friend of mine told me with a bossy tone “you’re coming to hot yoga with me today!” I was surprised as I thought Yoga was only for women. She shared with me some videos, definition of the poses, and what to expect during and after class. To be honest, I was skeptical at first but as soon as I got into the studio I asked myself “what did I get myself into?” I felt intimidated as I was the only male in the class.
As the class progressed, I started to feel more comfortable and listened carefully to the instructor, at the same time, any thoughts of intimidation quickly dissipated as she started to increase the heat in the room and my focus shifted to doing the poses the best I could. After class ended, I felt at peace, relaxed, and wanted more. After that day, I knew I had come across something special for my body and soul. Something I could not find at a typical gym.
Fast forward seven years, Yoga has become an indispensable part of my life. I practice 5 times a week and have seen the physical and mental benefits of it. On the physical aspect, I have seen my body get stronger, leaner, and I am able to to do challenging poses. On the mental, Yoga has helped train my mind to stay calm, disciplined, and I am able to maintain clear thinking during fast paced/high-stress situations, especially at work while speaking and presenting to clients.
Yoga for me is an ongoing tune-up of the body, soul, and, mind. Whether you are male or female, it is gender agnostic. What I have discovered through my journey is that I have been able to adapt Yoga teachings into my everyday life and share those learnings with those around me. It may sound metaphysical to you, but to me, Yoga has taught me how to accept myself for whom I am, improve my strengths, as well as learning my limitations.
As a male Yogi, I feel like part of the community, regardless of where I go. I feel a bond with the mat, my practice, and fellow Yogis. In addition, it is a great workout and I feel it can be more intense than going to the gym. To the males reading this that are considering going to Yoga, I would say just do it. You will be taken out of your comfort zone first, but over time, you will get to be comfortable with the uncomfortable.