At 27 years old, my body had already taken its share of beatings. From years of athletics and college football, to a strenuous training regimen involving powerlifting, kickboxing, and bodybuilding, I needed a break. Unfortunately, I was addicted to the weight room. As embarrassing as it is to admit, I couldn’t stop myself from going. For the past two years my workouts had lacked any real passion, yet you could always count on me to be at the gym going through the motions.
About the time I was about to give up after years of training, I came across Y2 Yoga. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Y2 is the epitome of Yoga Studios in the Southeast United States. Founded by Tanner Bazemore with nothing more than a dream, he crafted Y2 into a powerhouse studio in Charlotte where Yogi’s from all walks of life come to get their shot of Hot yoga. I signed up for my first class thinking I was basically going to stretch intensely for an hour. I was confident after years of training that I would crush the class no problem. After an hour in a room in and out of pretzel like poses and holds, I was drenched in sweat in what was the hardest workout I had ever completed in my life. I was instantly hooked and I will never look back.
Getting Started for Men
Getting started in yoga as a man was intimidating for me. I still have trouble defining exactly why I waited for 27 years before trying to get in flow, maybe I just wasn’t ready for it? Regardless, it amazes me now that more men haven’t ditched the weight room for the Yoga studio. In helps of enlightening some of my iron brothers out there, I thought I would put together this, “guide”, for men who have thought about getting started in yoga, but like me, haven’t pulled the trigger yet. Here are a few tips for men who are looking to get started in Yoga.
Tip 1 – Sign up for a class
Gee Tyler, thank you for this groundbreaking wisdom you have shed upon us. I know, it seems so simple, yet most men need to hear that the first step is too simply sign up. I think most men don’t realize that you can’t really google or youtube your way to understanding yoga. See, that’s how I handled my weight training for years. When I wanted to try a new routine, I simply googled something along the lines of, “get strong workout routine”. I would then take what I had read and attempt to apply it to my current training routine.
Yoga doesn’t work that way. Not for men like me anyhow. You can google Yoga workouts all day long, but until you go an experience Yoga for yourself, you will never be able to fully understand the effect it will have on you. Most men are intimidated by yoga the same reason they are intimidated by women, lack of understanding. The only way to fix this lack of understanding is to sign up for a class and experience it for yourself first hand.
Tip 2 – leave your macho expectations at the door
Yoga isn’t anything like going to weight club at 5:30pm on a Monday afternoon (national bench press day). You won’t have to fight for a bench press or silently compete with the guy benching next to you listening to ACDC. Yoga is a welcoming environment where people silently root for one another. No body is really paying attention to anyone but their inner self, yet there is a sense of community where you can feel others rooting for you (crazy but you have to experience it). When you come to your first yoga class you can leave your macho expectations at the door, and just know that you’ll be accepted and expected to bring your best self with you into the practice.
Tip 3 – Yoga is a practice
This will throw all the bro’s off out there clanging weights at Gold’s Gym. You don’t train Yoga, you ,”practice”, yoga. I know you have been, “training”, for years at the gym. But, when you come to yoga, even after 20 years, you will still be practicing. I haven’t researched this topic fully yet, but I think that simple verbiage speaks to yoga’s mentality of continual self improvement over everything.
You can apply your practice to real life
Perhaps my favorite thing about Yoga isn’t just how physical the workout is, but how it effects me spiritually and mentally. Yogi’s are always working to improve upon their entire life’s. The focus being not just in great shape, but being a better person. Someone who shares positive energy with their neighbors and while at work. They make it a point to drive home every parallel between practicing yoga and being a more complete human being.
I remember distinctly after my first class, I was torn between disappointment and satisfaction. I was satisfied that I had gotten a killer workout and didn’t quit halfway through the class. Yet, disappointed in the fact that I thought I would have handled the practice better. The instructor made the comment to not worry about our performance, to realize that tomorrow we where going to do yoga again, and the next day, and the next. I mean isn’t that just like life? Some days we crush it, some days we miss it, but we always get to practice life again the next day if we are lucky. We have to accept our efforts, be thankful, and realize will improve again tomorrow.
I never thought I would give up traditional weight lifting. It’s been two months since I have even laid down on a bench press, and my body is thanking me dearly for it. For my fellow men who are looking to shake things up, I encourage you to take the first step and sign up for a class. Leave your expectations at the door and apply what you learn inside the studio out in the real world. It will forever change your life. I will continue to update you guys as I grow in my practice.
Lets Improve Together,