It might seem like yoga is an exercise practice just for women. With female teachers and female students dominating most studio classes, it can be difficult for men to feel like they belong. In reality, no matter what the gender makeup of your yoga class happens to be, yoga is truly a practice for everyone, old and young, male and female, physically fit or not.
Make Your Yoga Practice a Judgment-free Zone
In order to get the real benefits of a yoga class, it is best to walk into the class with an open mind that is free of any expectations. Even if you are the only man in the room, your task is to move through the poses, listen to the teacher, and most importantly, breathe. If your mind begins to question why you are there, notice the thought without judging it and bring your mind back into your breath. This gentle practice of noticing thought without judging thought is an important skill that you can use on and off the mat. This practice brings about mindfulness, even if you are only able to stay mindful for a short amount of time.
Meditative Yoga Practice Delivers Mindfulness
Mindfulness is nothing more than allowing yourself to be alert to the present moment. Too often our state of mindfulness is distracted by thought about the past and future. Or we are distracted by trying to do too many things at one time. A regular asana (physical) yoga practice will help you add flexibility, strength, and endurance to your physical body; but with regular non-attention to thought during asana practice, you actually develop mindfulness, too. In your next practice, try to only listen and breathe. Your body will react to the sound of the instructor’s voice and you might just recognize the spark of the meditative state that can occur when you are really present in the moment.