Still, Petrzela, a fitness instructor herself, can see why some men would be hesitant to trade their dumbbells for a yoga mat.
“But I think that our culture at large is really embracing the ideas about holistic well-being, and a greater appreciation of yoga.” Despite stereotypes and assumed ideal conventions, curiosity during a Buddhist philosophy class in college got instructor Brian Nygard interested in the practice. However, considering himself a “gym guy” at the time, with goals to gain muscle and bulk up, Nygard, 31, first felt frustrated and “overwhelmed” by the practice, mainly because he wasn’t flexible.
“If you think about the more athletic forms of yoga that have come up in the past couple of years, they’re almost like sports conditioning,” said Natalia Petrzela, assistant professor of history at The New School and fitness columnist for the health-centric website Well Good.
“Yoga has become more associated with fitness and stress relief, so doing yoga is not at odds with the notions of masculinity in the way that it did when it was primarily a spiritual practice.” Though today’s classes are packed mostly with Lululemon-clad women, Petrzela noted that the ancient Indian practice of yoga actually excluded women, and only in the mid-20th century did yoga become a “US-specific phenomenon” and largely female endeavor.
“I think it’s totally a turn-on,” said Joseph Alpern, 31, of what women think of the fact that he heads to yoga several times a week, after randomly enrolling in a college yoga class years ago.
“It indicates that you’re interested in a healthy lifestyle and you’re interested in being fit.” And whether you’re a once-in-a-while type or you start every day with a sun salutation, a man who hits the mat knows how to connect with women, according to dating expert Lindsay Chrisler.
I initially went to yoga because I though it was the ~trendy~ thing to do (and let’s be real, I absolutely hate the treadmill and ellipticals are stupid to me).