Real Men Do Yoga: The Growing Trend for GuysPosted on Sep 17th 2010 11:00AM by Holly St. Lifer
Holly St. Lifer
That's for sure. Yoga studios all over the country are experiencing an influx of men who are past their prime. "Yoga's become so mainstream that a lot of older men know about its mind-body benefits, and they think, 'I should try that,'" said Andrea Marcum, owner of U Studio Yoga in Los Angeles. Just five years ago, she had a couple of guys over 40. Now her classes average 15 or more. "Many baby boomers know they're at a point when they can't take their health for granted anymore. Then they observe these incredibly fit contemporaries in a class and think: I'll have what they're having," she said.
Within the last six months, Tom Larkin, owner of Sanctuary for Yoga, Body and Spirit in Nashville, has seen an influx of aging men. "I think it's due to word of mouth," he said. "Two stumbling blocks tend to be their fear of being too tight and that the routine isn't rigorous enough. Guys are finding out from other guys that neither are true."
Henselmann's instructor, 76-year-old Joan Klyhn, agrees that it's a domino affect. "When one old guy sees another one doing yoga, the process starts," Klyhn said. "Josh told me he felt isolated doing the machines and then noticed Casper in class so he tried it. And then Bob decided to join in, so critical mass evolved rather quickly, by example. As soon as someone starts feeling better, he mentions it to another in the locker room or club cafe, and there's another yoga convert."
Bill Herguth, 64, took up the ancient practice hoping to loosen up. "I run a boat rental business, so I'm used to lifting 50-pound kayaks all day, but when I hit 60, I began to feel stiff a lot in my upper body. A few women friends convinced me to give yoga a try. Now I go not just to stretch but to de-stress. It's my time to unwind."
The calming benefit combined with the physical challenge proved to be an unexpected, but potent panacea for 47-year-old John Stewart of Beverly Hills. "When I was hit hard by the market tanking, I was so stressed that I couldn't sleep or eat. Someone recommended I try yoga. I felt better after just one class. I had exerted myself and tested my flexibility, all while having to stay calm and clear, and that feeling of well-being stayed with me. I've since recommended it to friends who are also type-A males, and they're hooked now, too."
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