We know you’ve been tempted. You see those fine ladies in black tights and tank tops toting their yoga mats on the daily. You see buff dudes in yoga pants, with Chinese symbols tatted on their rippling muscles, seducing said babes. Admit it, you’ve thought about going to yoga. While hanging with a bunch of sweaty ladies in a candle lit room sounds wonderful, in this context, it can also be intimidating. You probably imagine sitting on a colorful mat and whispering “Namaste” the same way a woman sees the testosterone infested row of squat racks at the gym … you know it’s going to be good for you, but taking that first step is the hardest part.
As always, the crew at Sneaker Report is here to help. We sent one of our intrepid reporters to yoga class and asked him to record all the missteps he took, from the first downward facing dog to the last sun salutation, so that you can feel like a warrior when you move from Warrior One into Warrior Two. It's time to take note if you want to live in the land of limber ladies. Here are The 10 Things Every Guy Should Know Before Going to Yoga Class
No. 10 - Don’t Eat Too Much Before You Go
You dedicated gym rats out there are probably used to loading your body with protein shakes, eggs, and peanut butter right before you hit the gym. Save it for after yoga or you won't be able to do much besides the Beached Whale Pose. Maybe you want to grab a granola bar or some vegetables beforehand, so you aren't focused on your empty stomach while attempting to empty the mind. That being said, the question you are asking yourself while mentally preparing for the practice should not be, "do you want fries with that?"
No. 9 - Wear the Right Clothes
Unless you are one of those tools who goes to the gym in their clubbing outfit, we doubt you step foot in the gym without the right gear. If that's not the case then, well ... we're performance gear website, damn it, have you learned nothing from us?! You have to dress correct for every fitness occasion. For yoga, you can either go lose or tight, just make sure you are prepared to move around in ways you didn’t think you could.
No yogi lady is going to be impressed by your rhinestone Ed Hardy tee or your muscle constricting Tapout shirt, so save them for the Nickelback concert.
No. 8 - Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help
You might think that beckoning your instructor for a little assistance will be a distraction. They would prefer you do this rather than do something stupid and fall to your mat cursing in pain. It would kill the meditative mellow that all of the incense, mood lighting, and ambient tunes have gone so far to create. Just like you asked your older friends about proper bench press form in high school, look to the flexible females around you for support … no not that kind of support.
As my buddy who took up yoga when the Army stationed him in granola-crunching Colorado put it, “when we were lost, we would always look to the woman to our side so see what the f*** to do.”
No. 7 - Go at Your Own Pace
There are going to be some people in your class that can twist themselves into pretzels. You are not one of those people. At least not at first. Just like lifting too much weight too soon can result in a “85 LBS” imprint on your forehead, going too hard too quickly can put you on the yoga DL indefinitely. Think about how many pairs of bootie shorts and sports bras you won’t be seeing while you're laid up, eating Ben & Jerry’s and sobbing, because you can barely hobble to your window, let alone do a Sun Salutation.
No. 6 - You are Going to Sweat
You might think that yoga is just a bunch sweating and splits and what not, but truthfully, it is far from a warm up. In the class I attended, we were put through a series of push-ups that would put most high school football teams to shame. The trick of yoga is that much of what you do is supporting your body weight, which is likely heavier than any dumbbell you would swing at the gym. So not only are you far less experienced than your largely female classmates, but you likely have over fifty pounds more body weight to support than they do.
Don’t worry, it gets crazier. For the advanced yoga lover, they have hot yoga, where you are doing this stuff in a room that is heated to over one hundred degrees.
No. 5 - Don’t go Commando
Your legs are going to go places that you never thought they would. Please don’t ruin someone poor woman’s hard-earned zen by turning your inversions into perversions.
No. 4 - Practice
Just like anything, if you want to get good at this, it is going to take more than a bi-weekly trip to the fitness center. Experts will tell you that going once a week is like starting over again every time you hit the mat. If you want results, you are going to have to get yogic 3-5 times a week. Unlike weight lifting, however, yoga veterans can safely practice several times a day. We don’t recommend doing yoga as often as your eat a meal until you are seasoned, but if you want to look like Adam Levine (who attributes his physique to the practice), it is going to take more than a few impromptu sessions.
No. 3 - Your Instructor Doesn’t Want to Sleep With You
Yes, she might be touching your hips, or even your thigh, but that’s because … it’s her job. Please don’t be that dude who hangs around after class to get a little “additional instruction”. You might think you’re the first male to ever unroll a yoga mat, but believe it, there are guys in every class she’s taught today who got the same naughty idea while watching her "flow".
Same goes for your classmates. You can’t reach your spiritual center if some skeezy dude is spitting game in your direction. Be quiet. Be mindful. If any of your classmates want to discuss any mutual upward or downward facing dogg-y style situation with you, that conversation will begin after the last “Namaste” has been chanted and the final gong has been rung.
No. 2 - The Other Guys Are Not the Enemy
Maybe that smugly serene dude in the capri pants looks like a complete douche, but he is your ally here in the land of the Amazons. Unlike you, this guy comes here every day. He knows the ladies in the class by name. He knows the challenges of being an inflexible man in a new world. He understands your fear. The weight lifting area of your gym might be a macho, solitary place, where everyone checks themselves out in the mirror while blasting new metal through their Beats by Dre headphones, but you're in a new world now. In this new world, that dude might be your greatest ally.
In fact, it may be wise to enlist one of your gym buddies to accompany you to weather the storm, if he is man enough to yoga.
No. 1 - Yoga is Spiritual
You may not like all the rhythmic breathing, chanting and acoustic jams mixed in with sounds of the ocean, but you need to learn how to deal. Just like a fast-paced iPod mix can make the morning run all the more bearable and the uptempo headbangers can aid you in pushing out one more set, the environment created in your class is going to help your practice. Who knows? if you buy into the spiritual end of things just a little bit, yoga might calm the frayed nerves that come after a long work week. But, even if you don’t go in for that spiritual stuff it’s never going to work if you don’t give it a shot.