My dad started private yoga sessions with me last fall. He was having some lower back and hip issues that I was confident yoga could help—they did and he’s now officially a yoga junkie.
The unfortunate thing is that many men don’t even get a chance to experience yoga’s benefits—because yoga has a reputation of being for girls. There are a lot of reasons for this misconception, but I think one is simply that there are a lot of female yoga practitioners in the U.S. It takes a confident guy to walk into a class for girls—yet yoga’s not for girls.
Originally many of yoga’s asanas were designed for male bodies by male bodies, and today’s men can still get so much out of yoga—if they only give it a chance. So here are five great reasons to take your dad to yoga class with you for Father’s Day.
1. Stretch it out. Older American men in particular grew up with strength being primary and flexibility being secondary—and now this imbalance can catch up with them. So take your dad to yoga class with you and get his stretch on.
2. Men need zen. One of the things my dad has benefited from the most—which I know surprised him—is the meditative aspect of yoga. Getting inside of yourself and feeling the sensations in your body quiets your mind by default—you are concentrating on one thing, and staying in the present moment. So zen out with dad—with yoga.
3. Wanna go to the gun show? While yoga does offer a lot in the flexibility department, it does build muscle and strength too. My dad was happily surprised that I was able to give him yoga exercises that largely take away his need to lift weights. All of us can benefit from building muscle—including your dad. Yet another reason to get your yoga on with him.
4. Share what you love. An added benefit to my dad’s new yoga practice is that we share something now that’s really special to me in my life—and he gets it, from actual experience, he understands why I love yoga. Sharing something you love with someone you love is a great recipe for bonding—so go ahead and practice yoga with your dad.
5. Inspiration. At first, you might think your dad will get inspiration from you and your practice—especially if you’ve been practicing for awhile. Let me tell you, it’s definitely dad who will provide the inspiration. I am so impressed with my dad; with how well he listens to his body, and how much he’s able to understand. Practicing yoga requires you to have an intimate conversation with your body, and it often takes time just to hear what your body is saying—much less ask it to do micro-adjustments for you in return. So take your dad to yoga class, and you might find inspiration as you watch him rock out an amazing plank pose or actually be able to feel the shoulder-opening aspect in his first downward dog.
With Father’s Day right around the corner, it’s time for us yogis to reconsider why yoga is considered an activity for girls. Practicing yoga offers benefits that extend way beyond our physical body—and everyone can benefit from peace of mind. So tell your dad that strong dudes try everything once—including yoga.
Happy Father’s Day, future yogis.
Pictured is rock-star yogi, and dad, Baron Baptiste :)