Yoga for blokes
If you're a bloke who cringes at the thought of performing the downward dog in a confined space full of lithe ladies on brightly coloured yoga mats, then Power Living Yoga could be the answer to your yogi prayers.
Blokes' yoga, or Broga as it is known in the US, is full of the traditional physical, core- strengthening and muscle-inducing yoga poses but it’s performed in an environment where om-ing and New Age music take a back seat — and it’s perfectly acceptable if you can’t touch your toes or balance on one leg.
Power Living Yoga’s Duncan Peak, a former army officer with the elite parachute regiment and football-playing yogi with 15 years of teaching experience behind him, says that although he doesn’t run yoga classes purely for blokes, he does orient some of his classes towards males looking for a more physical experience.
Mr Peak says he was introduced to the power of meditation initially at a young age and then to yoga following his medical discharge from the army at the age of 24.
Injured and suffering from stress after his discharge, he says his physiotherapist initially took him along to help with his injuries and to lower his stress levels.
He was hooked from day one.
Mr Peak’s yoga journey has seen him train under some of the world’s leading yoga figures. He established his first Power Yoga studio in Sydney’s Neutral Bay.
He says Power Living Yoga is ideal for very physical men who often come to yoga as a way of ensuring they can continue to play sport at higher levels of intensity and as a way of slowing down the body’s ageing process.
Although class ratios hover around the 70:30 men to women mark, he says the numbers of men using yoga as a way of retaining flexibility, stretching and reducing stress levels has grown as the practice becomes more mainstream.
“For younger guys, say under 25s, they see it just as a normal part of their world, ” he explains.
“However often for the older guys, they’ve come because a partner or girlfriend has pushed them, or a physio or chiropractor has suggested it as part of injury management or rehab.
“A lot of blokes who may be new to yoga, like to see a male up there teaching, who is somebody they can relate to.
“I’m a footy player, I’m a fairly big bloke and I’m physical and maybe that helps some guys feel more comfortable in an environment they might not be used to, ” Mr Peak says.
Mr Peak says when he first started taking yoga classes for NSW rugby league team the Waratahs, he was told not to mention the word yoga and to simply refer to it as “stretching classes”.
“These days every single professional football team has weekly yoga classes for their players and I currently work with the Manly Sea Eagles, so I think that shows just how far yoga has come when it comes to men.”
Lululemon spokesman Dusty Allen says often men are not so much intimidated by a yoga class full of women but of being unfamiliar with the poses and routines.
“Rather than being worried about going into a class that is female dominated, I think the feedback is that they worry more that they’ll look silly because they don’t know what they’re doing, ” Mr Allen says. “However once they realise that the only way they can keep playing competitive sport, or to play sport at all, is to stretch during the week with yoga, they just tend to make it a part of their regular routine.”
He says men’s yoga gear currently equates to about 18-20 per cent of Lululemon’s apparel business, which is probably reflective of the ratio of men to women currently practising in studios around the country.
Tamara Graham, who runs classes for both men and women from her Claremont and Bibra Lake Tamara Yoga studios, says more men do yoga than ever before.
“I do have certain classes that will be up to 80 per cent men but that’s generally at a particular time of day, ” she says.
“Often with men, particularly older guys, they get to a certain age and they find they have a bad back, or old injuries flare. They start doing yoga and even after a very short period of time they find they have more flexibility and they can continue playing sport or golf without experiencing pain or difficulty.”
© The West Australian
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