Hey Man, Do Some F**king Yoga Already

Unscientific breakdown of reactions I get when I mention yoga to fitness-minded guys:

A. 10%* use yoga as a part of their fitness approach…and swear by it

B. 25% “did a class a while back” (usually with wife or girlfriend), but didn’t continue. Usually, I don’t hear “it wasn’t good” or “I consciously decided to not continue”…so non-engagement is driven by other things, I think


Unscientific breakdown of reactions I get when I mention yoga to fitness-minded guys:

A. 10%* use yoga as a part of their fitness approach…and swear by it

B. 25% “did a class a while back” (usually with wife or girlfriend), but didn’t continue. Usually, I don’t hear “it wasn’t good” or “I consciously decided to not continue”…so non-engagement is driven by other things, I think

C. 65% have never tried. I’ll say something like “the right yoga workout is pretty challenging, you know” – and about half the time, I get some acknowledgement (i.e. fewer guys nowadays think “it’s too easy”)

So, if maybe half of group B and a third of group C are persuadable, that’s 33% of all fitness-minded guys. Brother, if you’re in that group, I urge you to overcome your skepticism or inhibitions.

I wasn’t born  a yoga cheerleader.  I lucked into yoga, via the P90X fitness program’s weekly “Yoga X” workout. I discovered  it became my favorite day of the week, made me feel great in ways nothing else did, and was the thing I continued even as I stopped strictly following the rest of that highly-regimented program. With hopes you’ll also benefit, here’s my two cents on why and how you should bring yoga into your life.

Why? You know yoga proponents say it helps with strength, flexibility, balance and tranquility-of-mind. I want to emphasize and expand on parts of this, instead of repeating it all.

Strength. Yoga hits muscles other workouts ignore: core and trunk…secondary leg muscles not worked by running, cycling, or squats…lower back. Try the right yoga class, brother, and I guarantee you’ll be sore in unfamiliar places. Do you want those places to keep getting weaker as you age – or will you do something about it?

Flexibility and balance. What fitness-minded guy doesn’t know he should work flexibility more? Yoga actually does it. As for balance, most of us don’t think about it much. But it’s those under-worked muscles that help balance, so balance is really a sign of all-over strength. More interested now? For further motivation, observe some 70- or 80-something guys. Balance is one of the unsung things that makes some look old and tentative, while others keep looking spry.

Tranquility-of-mind. I ruminate on this in other posts, so just one point to make here. The rhythmic, deep breathing of yoga is a lot of what drives the mind/body benefit we seek from fitness (swimming is great for this, too). More and more is being understood and written about the powerful benefits of breathing – and yoga delivers.

Put these things together. A 1-2x per week yoga practice is an awesome complement to our other endurance and strength activities: it’s low-impact, works un-worked muscles, keeps our bodies pliant and in balance, and brings peace.

How? I see three hurdles to overcome.


First, a lot of guys think of yoga as a women’s thing. It’s true most yoga classes are mostly women. Respectfully, are you secure enough in your manliness to not let that stop you? Various NFL stars, UFC fighters, and men’s fitness gurus are. As your friend, I urge you…get over this. And single guys: what’s wrong with being in a room full of fit women with whom you now have something in common?

Second, there are different kinds of yoga with confusing names. It’s hard to know what class to attend. One simple solution: look for classes with the word flow, vinyasa, or power in the name. These will feature strength poses, movement that will get your heart rate up, and leave you feeling like you got a workout.

Finally, there’s an ironic hesitancy about the “class” part of this: I don’t want to take a class until I partly know what I’m doing. A good yoga instructor will get you over this right away, but you can also do your own practice for a while at home, with an online video class. In the near future, I’ll suggest a number of these, plus great yoga studios for guys, and some thoughts on yoga gear.

# # #

I feel strongly about this, man, and I’m confident that you won’t conclude I’ve misled you. Do a three-month experiment by folding yoga into your routine once (or better twice) each week. Then let me know what you think!

“Let it grow, let it grow. Let it blossom, let it flow.” (Eric Clapton, Let it Grow)  

* A recent “Yoga in America” study sponsored by Yoga Journal and The Yoga Alliance says 28% of yoga practitioners are men…but based on my observation, I don’t believe it. Maybe in LA or NY, one out of four people in a class are men (maybe), but I think the overall # is lower.

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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.

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.

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Owed to Yourself: 6-Week Plan for Guys to Give Yoga a Fair Shake

Among 40+ guys who don’t do yoga (which is to say, among most 40+ guys), I think there are three reactions when I tout yoga in OlderBeast articles.

1. Inspired to try it. Man, I hope there have been at least a few of these…please?

2. Tuning me out. Kind of like the grown-ups in the old Charlie Brown TV specials – blah blah-blah blah.

3. Feeling somewhat persuaded, and a little motivated. But not enough to overcome remaining hesitancy or inertia.

You in Reaction mode #3? If so, this is for you, dude.

Here’s a step-by-step, no-commitments way for you to figure out more about yoga, try it, and decide if it’s for you. This envisions a 4 to 6 week period, after which you can “fish or cut bait” on the whole topic of yoga and you. 

Challenges , Flexibility & Alternative Fitness

Something You Need for 2018: Your Next (or First) Yoga Mat

If you’ve been trying out yoga, you probably fall into one of two main camps when it comes to owning a yoga mat. (If you’re not aware of our Yoga Challenge and want to check that out for context, click on the “Yoga Challenge” link in the box to the left).

Maybe you ran out and bought one soon after your first class (the male stereotype is that we do love our gear, after all). Or, you might have figured you’ve got other stuff to worry about — like surviving challenging yoga practices — and using borrowed or rented mats seems fine for you.

In either case, if you’ve been stringing together some weeks of yoga and intend to continue in the new year, now’s a good time to think about a mat. Either your first one, or the one you wish you’d known to buy the first time around.

“What’s the big deal?” you might ask. What’s so great about the “right” mat? This is one of those things that’s best understood in the reverse. As in, what issues does the wrong mat bring? So let’s start off there — hopefully to motivate you, man. Then we’ll identify a number of mats that might have your name on them.

  1. […] 2. Reduce your running and pick up some other activities for strength, flexibility and impact reduction, if you’re running more than 2-3 times per week right now. Add swimming or cycling as alternate cardio.  Do more strength work (even if just taking 2-3 miles off a long run and using the time for push-ups, pull-ups and core work).  Or maybe overcome your self-imposed barriers and try yoga. […]

  2. […] about fitness and happily mixing diverse sources of cardio…doing strength work…maybe practicing yoga…and getting outside and away-from-it-all sometimes – that can add up to a lot of days per […]

  3. […] Try yoga. Pretty much all studios have new-student offerings where the first week or two is a fixed, low […]

  4. […] For almost all that time, you are breathing in a deep, even fashion. So in addition to all of yoga’s other benefits for 40+ guys, as a huge bonus you get these controlled-breathing […]

  5. […] talking back and hips/butt area, too). One thing that actively works on posture is yoga (they’re called “poses” for a […]

  6. […] 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: […]

  7. […] than writing (beating a dead horse?) about? yoga and suggesting “stretching” as part of weekly plans, though, OlderBeast hasn’t yet […]

  8. […] a lot nowadays. Of course, in reference to the growing interest in meditation. Related to yoga which bears some similarities to meditation, while having great physical benefits. Even in […]

  9. […] Include swimming and/or yoga in your fitness routine (for sure, at least one of these, since they have special benefits from […]

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