Recently, I received a cushion from one of my female yoga teachers. A purple cushion. Let it be known, with my red, pink, salmon, and other bright-colored oxford shirtsleeves, I am pretty secure in my sexuality. Still, the color of this cushion is emblematic of American yogic culture–overwhelmingly feminine. But hey, aside from it being a little small for my wide ride it suits me fine. Besides, I’m using it in a class that is almost completely comprised of women.
And that’s the thing about yoga and the male–and especially the older male: in American, he is a minority. When I started this thing a couple of years ago the male to female ratio didn’t matter to me: I was in it purely for my health–like taking a pill. Then one fateful Sunday afternoon the usual teacher didn’t make it and the sub introduced me to what yoga could be for me. Yoga changed for me right there. Since that time it has been an awkward, sometimes frustrating, but rewarding journey.
Mind you I don’t have a problem with two of my four teachers being female. In fact, one of them has on more than one occasion said that yoga magazines and online sites do a great disservice to the male yoga practitioner. Unless you like all the feminine hygiene ads, female models, postures that emphasize benefits to the female body, and articles titled “Any man who wanted to be with me wouldn’t be conflicted” and “Five Ways to Make a Man Feel Really Loved,” the male yoga reader has to wade through a lot of tall grass to get to the practices and other pieces that apply to him.
So, I sit on my purple cushion every Tuesday afternoon, surrounded by women. Sometimes I envision what would American yoga be like if it appealed to men like Crossfit does, or–Hey, wait a minute. Would if us guys all wore kelts!