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Why aren’t men doing yoga?

Former American football star and Broga founder Matt Miller shares his tips on getting more men to attend your yoga classes. Take a breath and listen up.

You are an amazing yoga teacher. Students seek out your classes and come to your workshops. There is a genuine love in your heart for sharing what you do with others. One small problem: 80-90% of your classes are women. Fine, you get the bendy male yogi and the odd “my girlfriend dragged me here” but what about all the rest of the guys out there who actually need you and the expertise you bring to the studio?

The biggest trend in the fitness market today is people moving away from solo workouts and training and joining in group classes that build community and camaraderie, such as CrossFit and INSANITY. The second is yoga. In both these cases, male participation is skyrocketing.

 So why aren’t they coming to your class?

 Here are five things you can do to upsell yourself to the male market without losing your own voice:

1. Men like to have an objective and goal. While women in a yoga class are perfectly happy to go with the flow, men typically schedule their week in terms of activity goals. Play up to this. At the beginning of class, tell them where they are headed in your choreography of the day’s practice. Briefly explain what you want to achieve and what you are focusing on for that class. A little explanation goes a long way in getting men on board with your intention.

2. Never patronise a man. We hate it. It just doesn’t sit well when, with a soft consoling voice, you are actually asking the class to perform at an exceptionally difficult level. Men want to know you are in it with them during the tough bits, not standing back and judging smugly. So, if you know it is going to be a bumpy rough bit, do it with them and get in the fight with the team.

3. Remember, this is not your moment to shine: it is your students’ moment to grow. By all means play up to your advanced-level regulars but always offer a modification so that, while you are doing a difficult asana, the gents will always have something to work on. This way, rather than the boys just watching you be amazing and feeling less adequate, you will have managed and challenged both groups simultaneously.

4. Don’t be afraid to touch and physically adjust a man. I will promise you that the last thing on a guy’s mind will be anything sexual or gender orientated. Mostly they will just be trying to survive the next 45 minutes without dying. Teachers tend to gravitate towards assisting the BEST practitioners in class, not the worst ones who really need it. Part of this comes from aesthetic appeal; it is pleasing to watch people really succeed and create exceptional postural forms. But part of this comes from fear of taking on the harder challenge of someone who is further from the mark. Give a guy a leg up and support him in achieving a little progress and you will help to significantly build his confidence in class.

5. Explain your namaste. Share your sanskrit education and chakra-balancing knowledge. It does you no good as a teacher to speak in a foreign language that your audience does not understand. So, if you use something that is not English or speak about something that is more esoteric than logical, take a moment to educate and elevate. I like to pick one thing per class to educate my class about. Then I sprinkle it in in small, bite-sized bits to my students during that class rather than a big, boring lecture. Before you know it, you will be able to bark out your trikonasanas and people will be throwing out impressive triangles all by themselves!

Try these out and you are sure to create a whole new market and demand for your talent and passion in yoga. 

 

Participants hold a pose in Miller's class

Participants hold a pose in Miller’s class

The Broga story

 

Broga® was founded by larger-than-life former American football star and yoga lover Matt Miller. When southern California-born super-heavyweight bodybuilding champ Matt (or ‘the Pillar’ as he is often known) is not filming fitness television shows like Fat Fighters on Channel 4, he is busy transforming the lives and physiques of his clients at Gymbox in Covent Garden. 

On the mat, he is smashing the ‘yoga is for girls’ myth and is a strong advocate of male athletes using yoga practice to be the best they can be. Increasing flexibility and teaching muscle groups to work in harmony reduces risk of injury and builds dramatically better athletes. Matt will tell you that, while Broga is a yoga practice engineered for the male athlete, it is a killer workout for women too.

Matt is a qualified yoga fitness instructor, and holds a degree in sports training and physiology from the National Association of Sports Medicine and a Certificate of Advanced Nutrition from the University of California system.

For more information on the next Broga teacher training course in late October, visit broga.uk.com