We decided it would be good to have a guy write about doing yoga.  Thanks, Willis Plummer for your honesty while writing this piece.  Follow more of Willis’ writing here. Enjoy and be sure to visit HeyKiki.com to find friends and teachers for every activity/sport/craft you might be interested in trying.   ***********************************************************

I’ve always been intrigued by yoga, but as a man, it can be pretty intimidating to walk into a yoga class in New York Citywhere almost everyone else is probably female. Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about why so few men practice yoga, and while some have suggested that men have a harder time connecting with the type of movement that yoga requires (see Dudes and Yoga article), I don’t think that’s really the main problem.

For most men, the problems start long before setting foot in a yoga studio. There seems to be a stigma surrounding practicing yoga. I was finally able to overcome my anxieties about practicing yoga as a man, and I would like to see others do the same so that we can eventually eliminate these socially constructed ideas about who can benefit from this great movement practice. Here are a few strategies that I found helpful when I was psyching myself up for my first yoga class.

Go With A Friend – going to a yoga class alone can feel a lot like walking into a shopping center and finding yourself in the women’s section – your immediate instinct is to turn and run. For many men, the easiest way to go shopping is with a female friend, and yoga is no different. For your first few lessons, if you go with a female friend who you feel comfortable around, you’ll feel a lot less anxious about being the only guy in a room full of women. You might also try finding a male yoga aficionado in your area to attend classes with on HeyKiki.

Start Off Practicing At Home – If you are confident about your abilities and technique before you set foot in a yoga studio, you won’t feel self-conscious about your form in the class. You could try watching some instructional videos on YouTube or even checking a few instructional videos out from the local library.

Find A Class For Men – One new trend that is just now gaining momentum is “Broga.” Broga classes are yoga classes which are geared towards men. Creating this kind of division between the sexes seems somewhat drastic, but if you’re feeling extremely anxious, it might be a good way to start off your yoga practice before moving towards mixed gender classes once you have built up some confidence.  Both Mel and Kim of SMARTer Bodies ™ have male clients that do private sessions specifically to get prepped for bigger group classes.

Ultimately, the path to overcoming your reservations about practicing yoga is going to be a personal process. The most important thing is to find a method that works for you and then to keep at it. In time, you will find that the benefits of yoga are so great that you won’t feel ashamed in the slightest when you walk into a yoga studio.  I expect that in a few years, we’ll see yoga classes around the United States packed with men. If you’re looking for yoga lessons in your area, you can find them on HeyKiki.