Western Yoga is predominately a female experience. The focus of mass marketing of yoga in apps like Instagram & facebook portray an image, thin, middle class women, posturing on beaches, cliff tops, jungles, in fact just about anywhere in the world.
Often these images focus on the advanced postures, that most people would struggle to emulate. Even on a good day.
Yoga is big businesses billions of dollars and pounds are spent on yoga and related merchandise, food, clothing, mats, retreats, and training courses every year. The main target group are middle class woman in the UK and USA.
This reinforces pre-conceived Western views that yoga is for skinny women, or hippies from Totnes burning incense and banging gongs.
This could account for the low level of participation by men practicing yoga.
Women dominate Yoga
Typically the ratio of men to women is s around 80% women, 20% men. Figures vary, by all accounts the number of men trying yoga is growing slowly year on year, and country by country
Fact is yoga is more appealing to women rather than men. Anecdotal evidence suggests that men can feel intimidated attending classes packed with female yogis.
It could also be the fact that men don't see yoga as a manly exercise, compared to other activities such as football, rugby or baseball. Its gentler, in most cases less intense and although its mainly taught in group yoga classes its not team focused.
How can yoga attract more men?
The image of yoga portrayed on social media, needs to change. It should be more inclusive, both in terms of gender but also age, and ethnicity.
Marketing campaigns should include more men. Lets face it, the market is huge but it could be even bigger if more effort was aimed at recruiting men.
The benefits of yoga, are frequently exulted, but these tend to be general benefits and are rarely focused in the benefits for men. This needs to change if more men are to be encouraged to participate.
More Men Yoga only classes?
One way to attract men is to reach out to men and offer men only yoga classes. This is slowly starting to happen in yoga studios. The idea being that men will feel less intimidated and classes can be geared toward mens needs and abilities.
Harrow Yoga have introduced “Men only yoga classes run a weekly class that lasts one hour. It enables men to really switch off from the everyday stresses of a fast modern lifestyle. Its a great workout according" to Simon Chandler Harrow Yoga.
The benefits of men attending yoga classes
The main benefit of men attending yoga classes can be summarised.
- Improved sex life: A 2011 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that men who practiced yoga for 12 weeks reported improved sexual satisfaction, performance, ability to control their ejaculation, and orgasm.
- More productive work Life: a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of 85,000 workers in the U.S., mindfulness-based interventions like yoga improved employee wellbeing and reduced issues like burnout.
- Less Stress: Yoga has been found to increase the body's ability to respond to stress more effectively, reducing heart rate, blood pressure, and easing respiration in stressful situations.
- Better Sleep: Improve sleep patterns, and sleep quality.
- Mobility & posture: Yoga helps counter those effects, as well the results of sitting in an office chair all day.
Its all about emphasis, there are lots of other benefits that men will benefit from, but to get the benefit you have to join a yoga class.
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