My body’s tight after a week of skiing, flying, driving, and sitting.
As soon as I publish this, I’m looking forward to hitting my exercise room and doing some yoga to stretch and free my muscles.
I’m no yogini — far from it — but some form of yoga has been a regular in my workout repertoire for about a decade or so and it’s been a very positive addition.
As one of the teachers says on her DVD, “A flexible spine means a flexible mind.” Sounds cornball, I know. But I don’t disagree with her.
Lots of my male friends exercise, but hardly any do yoga.
I suspect it’s due it part the fact that yoga has a more feminine, (and sometimes an overly spiritual) vibe surrounding it. That said, having done lots of different types of strenuous workouts, from physical perspective, yoga ain’t for pussies.
In my experience, yoga requires you to stretch muscles you didn’t know you had. Yoga is about flexibility. Yoga is about opening your body (and the mind that’s guiding your body) in new ways. Yoga is about inner strength.
At a core level, I believe yoga for men requires vulnerability. You’re likely to “fail” the first time you try it.
And one of things I notice about most men?
They’re not very flexible. They opt to do nothing than to try something new and fail. Men struggle with the vulnerability of losing their balance.
Certainly this is true physically, but the flexibility I’m really talking about is between the ears.
In practical terms, men form an opinion and stick with it, new information be damned. Somewhere along the line the thought of changing your mind became feminine.
Lots of men stop learning new stuff, especially when it comes to looking inward and understanding themselves. They stop exploring. They stop creating. (If you’re a man who eschews any new music in favor of the songs you’ve heard 10,000 times, doesn’t read much, lives within the bumpers of routine, or your sense of adventure is fulfilled by watching SportsCenter highlights, I just may be talking in your direction.)
Men become overly dependent on logic to guide them through life. And then when they hit the wall of this strategy (“Hey, I’m doing everything right. This should work! This should work! Why the fuck isn’t this working?), they don’t have the flexibility to change course. They have not practiced the inner awareness to access something so feminine-sounding as their feelings to guide them. Instead they double down on logic, hit the wall twice as hard, and end up frustrated, usually in their relationships with women, money, and so on. Perhaps there’s a “mid-life crisis” in there somewhere.
But here’s the thing…
If you remain rigid long enough, one of two things happens.
1) You break.
2) You don’t break, but you start to thin out. You become hollow. A husk.
Neither of those outcomes seem very attractive to me.
I’m not saying yoga is a panacea, but rather an idea to explore.
In fact, if you’re a man reading this, whether you ever get your downward dog on or not is probably a lot less telling than whether you are willing to do so.