Nonsensical Man Logic: “I Don’t Do Yoga Because I’m So Inflexible”

I talk to a lot of guys about yoga (I’m a huge proponent of it for 40+ guys). One of the most-often-mentioned “reasons not to do yoga” makes no sense: inflexibility.

But isn’t not doing yoga because you’re not flexible like saying “I don’t do cardio workouts because I get out of breath,” or “I don’t do push-ups because my chest and arms are kind of weak?”

by

Don’t get me wrong, brothers. I’m not trying to throw our gender under the bus. Women have been known to hold illogical views, too. But that’s a topic for a different writer, one less motivated than I am to stay happily married. Anyway, back to yoga…

I talk to a lot of guys about yoga (I’m a huge proponent of it for 40+ guys). One of the most-often-mentioned “reasons not to do yoga” makes no sense: inflexibility.

As in, “Yeah, I took a yoga class once, but I’m so inflexible…” I definitely empathize here. I’m not one of those super-flexible guys either: there are still things in some yoga classes I just can’t do.

But isn’t not doing yoga because you’re not flexible like saying “I don’t do cardio workouts because I get out of breath,” or “I don’t do push-ups because my chest and arms are kind of weak?”

The “Flexibility” Objection to Yoga and What It Really Means

And yet, a bunch of guys point to “inflexible” as a reason to avoid yoga.

For some, the real unstated reason might be something else. Maybe concerns it isn’t “manly” enough (please get over this, he-man…other fit, strong guys have). Perhaps discomfort with the semi-spiritual stuff some yoga instructors bring into it. In these cases, it’s about 30 seconds out of a typical class. Not a big deal…and besides, a little bit of spirituality probably wouldn’t hurt you, man, kind of like chicken soup when you have a cold.

For guys who really have the flexibility objection as their reason, though, I think this means, deep-down, they don’t see flexibility as that important, at least not compared to strength, endurance, or maybe even just “not being overweight.”

“Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.” -Bruce Lee

But gentlemen: for the OlderBeast, flexibility is a huge part of feeling great, looking our best, continuing to get happier as life rolls by, and living the longest fullest life that’s in the cards for each of us.

Why Flexibility Really Is Key (and Hopefully You’ll Realize It Sooner vs. Later)

Flexibility:

⇒ Prevents injuries

⇒ Prevents back pain (something about half of people in developed nations have at one point or another)

⇒ Enhances performance in endurance, strength and all physical activities

⇒ Improves circulation

Flexibility also makes everyday activities easier and less “old-man-ish.” Like reaching for something in a high or low cabinet, putting on socks, getting out of a chair…you name it.

I had a few months last summer and fall where I didn’t do yoga (due to injury from an obstacle race;  that’s a story for a different day). Among other things, I noticed I couldn’t as easily twist to look over my shoulder when backing my car out of the garage. It made me feel “old” and in decline.

When I was able to resume a regular yoga practice… “younger-feeling me” came back!

At 40, 50, 60+…it’s the little stuff like this that starts to separate the young/spry-looking (and feeling) guys from the old/creaky ones, brothers.

Which one will you choose to be?

Friendly Challenge For You

Which brings us back to the “I don’t do yoga because I’m not flexible” statement. With no agenda in mind other than your thriving, here’s a friendly challenge.

1. Do an honest assessment of your flexibility. Not just “can you touch your toes?” but across various dimensions. You can find a variety of flexibility self-assessments online. Here’s one you may want to use.

2. Yoga or otherwise, commit to working on flexibility more. For example, a 5 to 10-minute stretching routine after every cardio or strength session is a must (warm up lightly before these things, stretch after).

Within the cardio category, this is key for swimmers, too, even though they might not feel they “need to stretch” as much as runners or cyclists do.

3. Yoga. If this post has inspired, motivated or shamed you into trying or re-trying it, that’s awesome. I’d never aim for the “shame” outcome as my preferred one…but whatever it takes, man.

Don’t just go do a single yoga class, though. Commit to doing it 1-2x per week for a month. Most yoga studios have some kind of “new student” or “first 30 days” discounted option, so this fits well.

###

A friend of mine used to say about eventually getting smart on some topic or other: “no stupidity in perpetuity.” Paraphrasing that a bit, I hope you evolve away from the twisted logic of avoiding yoga because of inflexibility!

How about this as a new quote, then: “I’m not that flexible currently, and that’s why I do yoga”?

“Come on, come on, come on, come on, now touch me, baby. Can’t you see that I am not afraid?” (The Doors, Touch Me – click to listen)

You may also like

article-image
Challenges , Flexibility & Alternative Fitness

Six Signs of Unmet Fitness Needs at 45+ (Reasons For Yoga — Yoga Challenge Week 6)

I confess. I’m not always as proactive and purposeful as OlderBeast articles make me sound. When it comes to 45+ men’s fitness, I’ve often just learned from injury-driven needs that motivated experimentation, or by simply lucking into things.

When I started yoga at age 46, it wasn’t because I’d thoughtfully concluded “hey, I have some ‘need yoga’ signs.” I started just because yoga’s a weekly part of the P90X home fitness program. Luck. (Online yoga classes are actually a great place to start – more on that at the conclusion of this article).

I see in retrospect that, as my 40s progressed, my fitness needs were changing. I had many of the “Need Yoga” signs, but I didn’t recognize them. Now, with regular yoga as part of my fitness routine, I’ve turned a lot of these “Need” categories into fitness and wellness positives.

My goal with this list is to help you do a self-assessment, and possibly reach a yoga conclusion sooner than I did (or if not, then at least “better late than never.”)

article-image
Fitness Planning & Gear , Flexibility & Alternative Fitness , Nutrition & Recipes

OlderBeast Weekly Web Picks: 3/3/17 (Stretching and Flexibility)

Happy Friday, gents. I hope we all maintain or improve our fitness and health momentum over the weekend, and in the coming week!

This week’s picks feature flexibility/stretching (a key pillar of the OlderBeast view on real fitness), a look at the confusing “online nutrition info” situation, and suggestions for a Wellness-enhancing nighttime routine.

article-image
Flexibility & Alternative Fitness

Ensure Focus on Flexibility — Three “Stretching Routine” Resources to Help

Advice for fitness after 40 usually highlights flexibility as a key component. Within OlderBeast philosophy, flexibility is one foundation of the “endurance, strength, flexibility and balance” goal set. (Come to think of it, those are good goals for long-term mental state, too. But that topic’s for a different day).

But as much as the flexibility goal is touted, there’s surprisingly little high-quality, standalone advice out there on stretching.

Here are three resources I think you’ll find useful, though. None is perfect. But together, they constitute a good start if you currently do little or no stretching. Or they can help you add to or refine things you already do.

article-image
Challenges , Flexibility & Alternative Fitness

Four Online Yoga Sources for Busy (or Reluctant) Guys — Fall 2017 Yoga Challenge, Week 4

Fall 2017 Yoga Challenge, Week 4. If you need to catch up, no big deal (this is a self-paced challenge during Oct-Dec this year, and you don’t need 12-13 weeks to meet its basic goals). Click on “Yoga for Men” in the Challenges box to the left, to see Week 1 and other posts.

As a reminder, challenge goals are: (1) Do at least six yoga practices during October-December 2017; (2) Have those practices span at least two sources of instruction (yoga studio instructor or online class), including at least one in-person studio experience; (3) Achieve at least three weeks in a row where you get a yoga practice into your routine, during the span of this challenge; and (4) Decide by New Year’s if-and-how you will keep yoga as part of your fitness and wellness routine.

To seek these goals — and for life-with-yoga after the challenge, if you go that way — online yoga classes are a great resource. You can use them when you don’t have time to get to a studio, are traveling, or for any number of other reasons. Including this honest one: you’re just not “up for” doing yoga in public yet. I get that. I felt the same way. But after doing a bunch of online yoga practices, I knew enough about what an in-person class would entail — and could do “enough” of the stuff” — that I was ready to brave the studio.

So here are four recommended online yoga class offerings. Each has a bit of a different style. They all offer free or sub-$1 trial periods so you can experiment with two or more of them if you want.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.