“What is the measure of a man?” was a question posed by Shakespeare. Traditionally a man is expected to be strong, logical, authoritative and stable. Women have always been thought of and expected to be sensitive, nurturing and emotional caregivers while the men took up the role of hardworking and disciplined providers. Historically and socially, men have rarely been given the opportunity or complete liberty to explore their emotional side.
As we know, yoga is a holistic practice, which effectively strengthens the body, mind, and the spirit. Unfortunately, a common misconception that ‘yoga is for women’ gets in the way of men experiencing the miracles of practising yoga. Ironic but true, in the ancient times, Yoga was practiced by men too, many sages stand examples of this fact. The Yoga Sutras are believed to be designed by Patanjali who was also a man. Moreover, Swami Sivananda also first took yoga to the west. But over the years as we progressed scientifically, our society’s thought process started subsiding. Myths like yoga is for women and only physically demanding workouts are for men started rising.
Since the ratio of women practicing yoga is higher it started to be interpreted as a highly feminine practice. Modern men are not inclined to take up yoga because it doesn’t seem competitive or sporty enough to them. This perception is highly unfortunate as they miss out on the various benefits of doing yoga. Men are infamous for ignoring aches and pains. They believe in showing no weakness, as that is what macho men do, which further aggravates and worsens these pains or injuries. If they were to simply practice yoga regularly, these pains would be released, leaving their body strengthened and mind more peaceful over time.
Fortunately, in recent times there has been a rise in the number of men taking up yoga. They have also coined the term ‘Brogi’ for this new community of ‘men/brothers practicing yoga’. Men are slowly beginning to see that yoga is more than just stretching and relaxing and is a full-fledged workout. A lot of sportsmen like Sachin Tendulkar, Shikhar Dhawan, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray etc are turning to yoga as well to improve flexibility, muscle strength and focused concentration that in turn improves their game.
With gender roles being challenged and redefined, more and more men are looking at yoga for physical and mental health. Gone are the days where men and women need to fit in the traditional gender roles. Yoga is famous for increasing focus, improving posture, improving flexibility, aiding digestion and so on. Additionally, yoga also does wonders in improving one’s sex life.
All in all, yoga is an amazing mind-body experience and benefits everyone irrespective of gender. Let’s look beyond what’s ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’ and concentrate on getting ourselves into a practice that benefits our mind, body, and soul, which is yoga.