In today’s article I am giving a shout out to all the dad’s out there that practice yoga. With Father’s Day still in the air, I salute the dad’s who put their health and well-being in their own hands. Even though back in the day only men were aloud in yoga class, there are still a lot of dudes out there who feel yoga is just for females.
I love it when a man who has been on the fence about coming to yoga finally makes the decision to start practicing. Sometimes it is because their doctor suggested they practice yoga to relieve pain. Sometimes it is to meet a woman or men. Often its because they feel really stiff and they want to get more flexible. Many of my male students are athletes who desire to have longevity in their sport of choice.
The fears of starting to practice yoga can be debilitating. Men and woman alike have said to me they don’t want to look stupid in class. Or they don’t want to feel out of place. This makes me sad. I am hoping the papa yogis below can shed some light on the subject for anyone feeling too embarrassed to begin the life changing yoga journey.
I reached out to three papa yogis who are all at different stages in their lives. I loved talking to the guys about yoga. They kept their answers simple and to the point. I learned a lot from what they had to say and I hope you do too.
Dad #1- My brother Stephen Lee. Steve and my two adorable nephews, ages 10 and 6, live in Helsinki, Finland. That’s right, they are neighbors with Santa Clause. My brother is one of the most in shape people I know. He also used to be one of the stiffest people in the world.
One could never tell Steve’s lack of mobility by looking at him. This man is a runner, mountain bikes, does cross fit, swims laps almost daily, and skis downhill and cross country.
Yoga was not on his radar. Maybe a stretch here and there. Just to make me happy, every time Steve visited LA he would come to my yoga classes. I go ice swimming in Finland and Steve takes yoga in LA. He always felt better yett it never became a regular practice for him until recently.
Steve’s favorite pose is handstand. Steve said, “It has a sense of accomplishment and reward at the end if the workout. I love all the stuff that involves balance. Probably because that is what I am best at. I am really inflexible but I can see my progress which is nice. I have gotten past feeling like an idiot in class by focusing on my progress. Being able to barely touch my toes finally has been great and the whole yoga experience has been great for my back. I am primarily practicing Ashtanga Yoga and I like it because if the structure. I’m an engineer nerd.”
Go Steve! Keep up the good work.
Dad #2- Jon White. Jon has been a student taking semi privates with me for several years. Jon is a businessman and a public speaker who is
a devoted dad of two teenagers. His life is pretty full and he still creates the time to take 2-3 yoga sessions a week. Admittedly he really doesn’t enjoy yoga but he likes how good he feels afterwards. I love Jon’s honesty! As you’ll see, he is pretty hilarious too.
“I like the forward bends because they open up my hamstrings and it reminds me of the progress I am making in my flexibility and practice. I love the half pigeon because I have noticed the past few years my hips are tighter. I like the squat thing you have us do and the low lunges. The various twists are good for me, but not so enjoyable. Lastly, the foot work we do is painful but helpful–a metaphor for life. That which does not kill you makes you stronger–perhaps a bit melodramatic, but my dogs (feet) really don’t like some of those poses. However, later in the day I am thankful for the work.”
Nice Jon, that is the spirit. Sometimes you gotta do what ya gotta do. You are going to like those foot stretches!
Dad #3- Allen Stetson
Allen is an overall wonderful, super nice, talented and well rounded human being. Allen is in one of my corporate yoga classes. Allen is grateful to practice yoga at work. Although he is blessed to have his dream job, work can be very intense, fast paced and hectic. He is a husband and a father of three young kids. Allen has been progressing gradually in yoga with patience, practice and diligent attendance. This is what Allen said when I asked him about his favorite yoga pose.
“That forward fold twist (janu sirsasana with a twist). Oh my goodness. I carry so much tension in my shoulders and in my back. I realize that I’ve been exerting my shoulder muscles for untold hours. It’s tremendously hard to find a masseuse or pose that truly relieves all of that tension. But when I get into that pose and relax into the stretch, it positively penetrates through all of that tension, forcing me to release. The release is so intense that it’s actually visceral; I can practically see those tense moments of my day undoing themselves as I stretch. It’s as much an emotional release as it is physical, which is an experience I must say I never had until I tried yoga.”
Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful. I am a proud yoga mama. The science and art of yoga speaks for itself.
It’s no secret to most of my readers that my dad has struggled for years with taking care of his health and well-being. I’ve moved past being frustrated and judgmental. Everyone has their own health journey including me.
It warms my heart that men in the 21st century are really getting how important it is to move consciously. We need men out there in the world, at work and at home who consistently take care of themselves from the inside out.
It’s never too late to experience freedom in your body. I encourage you to check out and find a class that is right for your needs. There are so many different classes, it is important to go to the appropriate class for YOU. I recommend starting with a basic class. You can always move along to something more challenging when you are ready. It’s not football, No Pain No Gain. Although yoga can be challenging and very uncomfortable, it is meant to heal, not injure your body. Be patient with your ego. It may have you running out of the door when you first start yoga. Trust me, it’s all a part of the process.
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Image Credits- Google images, Cindi Lee