Yoga for Men workshop Sunday September 25th

Te Anau Yoga teachers Kerri-Anne Edge and Nick Hight will be offering a short introductory workshop for men wanting to experience and learn more about the benefits of a regular yoga practice on September 25th from 5-6:30pm at the Fiordland Medical Centre Community Room. It will be a one-off class particularly aimed at beginners. Cost is $10. For more information ph: Kerri-Anne 03-2497170, e-mail

Whether you are training for the Kepler Challenge, engaged in a strenuous and physical occupation, high impact sport, or are just plain sedentary, yoga could be just the thing you need. In fact yoga is often what men need because it is the opposite of what they do about 90% of the time. Yoga helps to bring balance, keep a range of motion in the joints, prevent soft tissue injuries and build bone density. While we have to admit there are some activities that fall by the wayside as we get older, yoga can be with us for life.

While a small number of men regularly attend class in Te Anau, it is generally woman who participate – about 80% – and this trend is not uncommon. Even in the US where yoga is more main stream, 77 percent of the yoga practitioners surveyed by the American Yoga Journal in 2005 were female. Often just getting to a class is the first obstacle. The excuses I often hear are I’m too busy to make it a priority, too inflexible,…coupled with the excuses you don’t hear: afraid of not being able to do something in class full of women, afraid it will hurt, afraid of how they might be perceived by their peers.

Getting men to identify with yoga in the West is a challenge partly because influential role models that brought yoga to the West in the 1900s were women. Russian born Indra Devi, who emigrated from India to the US in the 1940s, was championed by famous cosmetics designer Elizabeth Arden who encouraged her (female) customers to try yoga. Other male teachers used woman to demonstrate yoga poses. By the 1970’s yoga was generally perceived in the west as something for “housewives”, despite the fact that yoga has been mainly taught and practised by men for thousands of years in India.

And guys, if you think you are too macho for yoga then think again. The All Blacks, the Welsh rugby squad and Aussie rugby league clubs are among many professional sports teams that include yoga as part of their training program with an emphasis on flexibility and injury prevention.
We are especially keen to introduce more men in the community to yoga right now. Yoga is a perfect way to compliment the high impact and physical training required for events like the Kepler Challenge. It also trains the mind to work differently. This aspect can be very beneficial in preparing for competitive events like the Kepler or simply dealing with daily stress where there is considerable pressure on us to excel.

Te Anau Yoga will also be hosting American yoga teachers and professional athletes Jason Magness and Chesley Gribbon for a 3-day workshop in March 2012 which will include elements of yoga on a slackline and acroyoga. Jason and Chelsey taught a similar workshop in Te Anau earlier this year and we had our highest participation rate of men than any other workshop that we have hosted.

Acroyoga workshop hosted in Te Anau in March 2010 with (Left to Right) Chelsey Gribbon, Jane Tansell, Nick Hight and Jason Magness

While this type of yoga really appeals to a lot of guys, participants will need to have a minimum of six months experience practicing yoga to attend so now is the perfect time to begin attending a regular class. (note: If you watch U-tv you may have seen Jason and Chelsey on Ultimate Sports recently in Team “Gear Junkies” blitzing the field in a Patagonian adventure race to come second.

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