Real Men, Including Jeremy Piven, Do Yoga

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
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Yoga has quite a polarizing effect on people. They either love the strength, calmness and flexibility that yoga affords them, or they're turned off because they think they have to be super skinny and bendy to do yoga. (Not true!)

The number of people practicing yoga in this country has tripled in just seven years, so some of those long-held stereotypes are dissipating. Jeremy Piven, one of the stars of Entourage, is among those who were initially apprehensive of the practice.

He thought he would have to hold incense and wear a leotard to do yoga.

Not so, he learned.

Soon, he fell in love with yoga.

"I loved the way it made me feel," he told Men's Fitness in the August issue, which hit newsstands on Monday. "It opens you out and you get great twang. It's incredible. Ari's got some quick-twitch anger, and to do that repeatedly you have to come from a place of stillness. It's so funny because I'm naturally kind of calm. To be healthy you have to have those dualities in your life."

Piven is right. Yoga does help you mellow out, and it helps you develop concentration. The combination of holding poses and focusing on breath allows you to shift attention away from any discomfort your mind might be feeling and teaches patience.

Though we've progressed a long way in terms of gender equality, there are plenty of fitness activities that seem to be preferred by one gender or the other. Yoga, Pilates and dance-type classes like Zumba tend to more popular with women, at least in my experience. Boxing and weightlifting are traditionally male-dominated activities. (Though that's changing. Read this fascinating story about a beauty editor who took up boxing.) However, that doesn't mean that certain activities are off-limits to men or women. In my experience, I think the tide is starting to turn, especially with yoga.

During my yoga teacher training, I offered a free class to friends and family on Sunday mornings. I sent out an email to most of the people in my address book, hoping I would get a few eager students. I wasn't surprised that people came, but I was surprised that my class most weeks was half men and half women.

Most of the women had taken a couple of yoga classes, but none of the men had. I'm proud to say that most of them stuck with it and continue to take yoga classes occasionally.

I hope more men follow Piven's example and give yoga a fair shot.

Do you think that some fitness activities are considered to be for men or women only? Do you participate in any activities that are dominated by the opposite sex? If you do practice yoga, is your studio pretty mixed or are there more women than men?


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Comments

  • REBIRTH7209
    38
    Sure yoga is mainly down by women, or it may seem that way but who says men dont participate. Its like a form of meditation and of course is good for your health. - 7/22/2009   5:01:54 PM
  • 37
    My boyfriend and I tried yoga together for the first (and only) time a year ago or so. He wanted to try it, so I tried it with him! We already go to the gym together on a regular basis, and yoga classes are included with our gym membership. He was a natural and was more flexible than me. We haven't been to any more yoga classes since then, but we do still go to the gym together on a regular basis. However, I go more than he does because I want to lose weight and he just wants to maintain his weight and stay healthy. - 7/20/2009   3:07:23 PM
  • BEHMOM
    36
    I take a class called Body Pump (it's a Les Mills syndicated class) at my gym, and the majority of the class is women. I think the guys like to pump weights on their own, but the class teaches control and technique. And the music is great!
    We also have a few guys in our Zumba class. We have had up to 80 people in one of the Zumba classes I take each week - usually all women, of all ages!
    I'm into classes that emphasize the cardio benefits, taking 8 classes per week (a mixture). No yoga at this time, although I have tried it. Just not enough time right now. Another Les Mills class, Body Flow, is similar to yoga. - 7/18/2009   8:26:14 PM
  • 35
    I have to say I'm shocked by some of the comments. If so-called MEN are afraid of a yoga class then they might want to look deep inside for what are they afraid of! I started doing yoga over a year ago. I was over 340 pounds and really struggled in the beginning, but I was determined to stick with it. Now that I'm 80 pounds lighter I still have trouble with some things, but my flexibility has improved drastically. If I miss more than a class all of my muscles start to stiffen up.

    I just came back from riding 75 miles on my bike and the first thing I was thinking was I needed some yoga to stretch out.

    MEN grow up it's the 21-century and yoga is not just for the ladies!
    Namaste! - 7/18/2009   8:12:12 PM
  • 34
    I tried Yoga. Hubby made me sign up for 8 weeks of classes. Hated it the first day. Was told my mat was too thick. Huh? The floor was rock hard. TEN mats stacked wouldn't have been padding enough for it not to hurt! Lying down killed my back. Couldn't do the kneeling poses cuz of bad knees. Once I sat on floor, I couldn't get back up. So painful! I'd have to lose 100 pounds before I try it again.
    After the third week, I didn't go back. Went shopping for that hour instead. Told the instructor not to call my house looking for me. Hubby would have been pissed. What a waste of money. It was worse than Zumba. I liked the meditation/breathing part. I do that at home ... in a chair. - 7/17/2009   2:59:05 PM
  • 33
    The class I go to is about 25-35% male on any given day. One of my best friends has been doing Judo for about 13 years, is one of the biggest guys you'll see and he started doing yoga this year - he loves it. It's given him an edge because of the added flexability and he really enjoys the yoga itself - all around win. - 7/17/2009   11:25:49 AM
  • 32
    I have gotten my spouse to consider doing yoga with me on the weekends...I keep telling him that it will help with his lower back and how he walks...he walks on the outsides of his feet and i told him that to remedy that he would need to strengthen his ankles....and yoga would do that......we were gonna start last weekend but he got sick so we will begin this weekend.... - 7/17/2009   9:42:17 AM
  • 31
    Of course real men do yoga. Ever taken a good look at the body of the singer Sting (remember The Police). Check out a Rodney Yee yoga workout. Now those are bodies to be proud of! - 7/17/2009   8:18:24 AM
  • BIENVENIDO
    30
    I am e-mailing this to my DH! I've been practicing Yoga for a few months now and I absolutely love it! It helps me relax and my blood pressure numbers are decreasing! - 7/16/2009   11:14:58 PM
  • 29
    I can just imagine my husband doing this now!!!! Lots of laughter and rolling on the floor crying. - 7/16/2009   10:28:35 PM
  • 28
    Yoga is probably what I need. 30 years of concrete construction has left my body arthritic and very tight. I try stretching now and its kind of painful. I think yoga will help me. After I get to a more comfortable weight I will try it. As a 52 year old biker who has done construction all his life I'm not feeling intimidated at all. And if you girls don't mind, I sure don't. - 7/16/2009   9:23:20 PM
  • 27
    My husband went with me ONCE to a yoga class that was full of about 30 young women and we LEFT. I figured out later the HE wouldn't have been able to deal with them bending all over in leotards! Since I'm not interested in women, the thought had never crossed my mind. SO, I figure that is probably why a lot of men don't go to YOGA class. - 7/16/2009   4:57:57 PM
  • 26
    I see more men walking, running, and hiking on the paths than I do women. It's unusual enough that I get stares, not because I'm in a wheelchair but because I'm a female doing this exercise. - 7/16/2009   4:17:39 PM
  • 25
    I mostly do water aerobics at the Y and I'm glad to say there are a few men in the sessions I attend. I'm also happy to learn that women such as Lala Ali are successful in sports like boxing, a male dominated sport. - 7/16/2009   2:03:31 PM
  • 24
    I've never really seen men doing step aerobics, but I hate it too so I don't blame them. I like exercises that actually get my heart rate up!

    The yoga classes I've been in have been all women save for maybe one or two guys. But they weren't unwelcome! - 7/16/2009   1:07:26 PM
  • 23
    I lift weights 3 days a week with a trainer, and I am always the only woman in the gym, so I feel like this is more of a guy thing to do. I've tried yoga twice and really enjoy it, but I can't find a class in my area that works with my schedule. Doing it with a dvd just doesn't seem the same to me. - 7/16/2009   12:27:41 PM
  • AZHIKERCHICK
    22
    I got into yoga because of my guy boss. He's been practicing for years and got me hooked as well.

    Now, only if I could afford to go as often as I like AND pay for my gym membership! - 7/16/2009   12:21:57 PM
  • 21
    My yoga classes are almost all women, but more men show up every week, which I think is neat. My dad has back problems due to poor flexibility so my siblings and I are trying to get him into a yoga class (even my construction worker brother is trying to get him on board). I don't think there's anything "girly" about it, but convincing men of that seems to be a challenge in itself. - 7/16/2009   12:15:20 PM
  • 20
    I teach a pretty challenging vinyasa yoga class, and I frequently have a class that's at least half guys and half women. My husband loves yoga and comes to almost all of my classes. Plus, my favorite teacher that I take classes from is a guy. - 7/16/2009   12:10:04 PM
  • 19
    I definetely wouldn't take any advice from Jeremy Piven. Gee spark lousy example of a man....LOL

    However I do love yoga and the men in my class really enjoy it as well. - 7/16/2009   11:50:12 AM
  • 18
    My Yoga class is 75% woman and 25% men and more men are realizing that the stretching is something they need to continue or improve in other athletic persuits (golf, anyone?). There are many different types of instructors, from the "granola-eating" to the "power-yogis", so find a class or style you like (you may have to sift through a few). I love it. - 7/16/2009   10:29:49 AM
  • 17
    Maybe men have finally figured out that yoga class might be a good place to meet women. LOL.

    Seriously, I need to get to a class and try out yoga. I have always wanted to. - 7/16/2009   9:15:35 AM
  • 16
    Piven. Hmmm. After the whole mercury poisoning flim-flam, I'm not too inclined to take his recommendation on anything health-related. - 7/16/2009   5:33:32 AM
  • JAMIE320
    15
    I do think there are some fitness activities that are more for women and some more for men. It is nice to see men doing yoga. - 7/15/2009   10:20:32 PM
  • 14
    I don't believe there's such a thing of gender specific exercise. Rather, the exercise chosen should fit your personality. Some people like group exercise while other enjoy solitary. Some like competitive workout and a lot of people like me, just want to feel good. A lot of my clients ask me what the best cardio exercise is and my answer is "the exercise that you enjoy doing." If one enjoys yoga by all means go for it. I personally am not a yoga person. Had tried it a several times in the past couple of years. The bottom line, I prefer something else. - 7/15/2009   5:30:49 PM
  • 13
    I don't practice yoga. However, after reading this convincing blog, I may try it. - 7/15/2009   4:33:58 PM
  • 12
    What is most interesting is that yoga was created by men, and many years ago when it was developed, women were not allowed to do yoga. The modern incarnation of yoga however has become dominated by women because, as one other poster commented, modern men feel like yoga is not "hard" enough. And to address someone who commented about instructors talking about menstrual cycles, its because some poses are not recommended for menstrating women. In fact, when women were finally allowed to do yoga, they were still not allowed while they were menstrating. - 7/15/2009   3:37:43 PM
  • 11
    I'd have to say - bellydancing is usually pretty much guy free, but I think exercise - mental and physical is an equal opportunity aide. Exercise for all! - 7/15/2009   2:38:57 PM
  • 10
    interesting thread here....I recently took up yoga and my nephew came to the house one night while I was at class and asked where I was, my husband told him I was at yoga, nephew asked what that was, my hubbys response..."a bunch of women sitting on the floor in a circle humming", I told him that he seriously needs to come to class....lol....he did and has an absolute new appreciation for it, but one class was enough for him. - 7/15/2009   1:23:31 PM
  • 9
    I know that Bob from the Biggest loser does yoga.. and i do not think it is just for ladys !! - 7/15/2009   1:22:42 PM
  • 8
    The music mogel, Russell Simmons is constantly talking about Yoga on Twitter so I guess he must love it and it appeals to men just as much as women. I am thinking about trying it myself. If it can help me be a happier person overall, I'm for it. - 7/15/2009   1:20:43 PM
  • 7
    Men who practice yoga are hot !

    But, seriously for a moment, I've found that most aerobics classes at the gym tend to be dominated by women. However, there are two classes where men seem to be gaining ground. Those would be spinning and yoga.

    I take a yoga class every Sunday morning. When I started taking it a couple of years ago, there were two or three guys. Today, that same class has 6-7 guys. Some days it's more than that.

    More men are being turned on to yoga and I think that's fantastic ! I wish more people (men and women) took yoga. I love it.


    - 7/15/2009   12:59:16 PM
  • 6
    Men are typically stronger and need - or think they need - an intense workout. What they may not realize is that yoga comes in all forms, from gentle hatha to sweat-til-you-drop hot ashtanga. I've gone to classes where the instructor spoke about menstrual cycles (hello!) and I've been to other "athletic" sessions where I was surrounded by buff yummy men. Let's make the classes men-friendly if we want them to come. - 7/15/2009   12:57:41 PM
  • 5
    I was at the gym right before a yoga class was about to enter and I was so surprised by the amount of big muscular men lined up to go into the class! - 7/15/2009   12:19:15 PM
  • 4
    My brother-in-law is a devoted yoga practitioner and has been for several years, He became critically ill and was in the ICU for several days and close to death. He was in such good shape thanks to yoga that doctors attributed his survival to his fitness level. It's a great workout with a lot of benefits! - 7/15/2009   12:03:53 PM
  • 3
    I don't do yoga myself... not my cup o' tea, at least for the moment. But my husband has done yoga for years. He loves it, and he's become quite remarkable at it. His strength and toning are amazing. From what I can tell, the classes he attends are still pretty much female-dominated (listen up, single guys... that alone might be a good reason to try it, LOL!). But he's living proof that yoga isn't just for the new-agey, granola-eating crowd anymore.

    -- Jeannette - 7/15/2009   11:29:00 AM
  • NKENGA
    2
    I wish more people would see that you don't have to be flexible, thin, or male to benefit and enjoy yoga. My favorite yoga teacher is a large woman, her classes are usually at least 25% men, and she encourages people to use props to achieve any posses they are having difficulty with - props that sometimes include chairs! She truly believes yoga is for every BODY! - 7/15/2009   11:08:30 AM
  • 1
    just because you don't hear about it doesn't mean men don't do it. My boyfriend & the rest of the football team HAVE to do some yoga poses after all the workouts they do. - 7/15/2009   10:49:16 AM

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