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Yoga for Men

Think Yoga is just for girls? Think again.  New research from Roy Morgan Research reveals that the fastest growing group of yogis is men aged 25-34, with one in ten now hitting the mat on a regular basis. This will come as little surprise to anyone practicing at BodyMindLife - where you can always find a healthy mix of genders in any class. But men aren't just practicing; they're teaching....& they're are doing a mighty fine job! BodyMindLife's line-up of male teaching talent are regular crowd-pullers, their stronger, athletic-style classes attracting both men and women alike. And we’re seeing the rising popularity of teachers such as Ari Levanael and Christian Ralston. We caught up with Ari to discover how the practice can benefit men and why more guys in the classroom is a trend set to continue...

Have you noticed more men attending Yoga in recent years/months Why do you think this is? Absolutely! I think men are starting to realise that yoga is not just about touching your toes. Men are discovering that the benefits of Yoga are not only based on physicality and flexibility. Yoga is about calming the breath and therefore the mind, and a lot of people are now looking for a more well rounded approach to wellbeing.There are so many more great ways to strengthen the body than by just lifting weights, so perhaps bringing various physical and mental disciplines like Yoga into an exercise routine is more appealing these days for a more wholistic approach to health.

What do most men find surprising when they do a Yoga class? I think men are surprised by how difficult a class can be and the upper body strength and focus that is required in a Yoga class. Learning to breathe in a way that calms the mind and eases the body through a sequence of postures is both challenging and exhilarating. I also think men are surprised to see a lot of other guys in the studio, and see a guy like me teaching the class as someone that perhaps they can relate to.

How can Yoga benefit men? As well as all the amazing health benefits that everyone receives, I think Yoga can help men open up the areas of body that generally men feel tightest in. With me for example, not necessarily being of slight build, I find that it helps me open my shoulders and spine and this is something I’m still working with.  Also, a lot of guys have very tight hamstrings and hips, so Yoga, through patience and persistence, really helps with opening those areas. When we start to unlock the body, we also start to unlock the mind, finding space in both to then be able to move through life with a quality of ease. Every time we step on the mat, we release whatever has come before that moment, and be a more engaged version of ourselves.

What can people expect in your classes? My regular students at BML know that I teach quite strong classes also with an undercurrent of fun! I tend to teach a lot of interesting arm balances and definitely give students plenty of opportunity to go upside down! I teach a slow flow in a calm and comforting manner but certainly get people sweating and exploring their edge. I like to weave elements of my own personal experience and knowledge through the practice and always bring it back to the breath and my personal mantra “no force, no strain”. Check out the timetable to book in a class with Ari and one of the boys of BodyMindLife...


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