The new faces of yoga?

Today was a nice reunion in my Saturday morning class. These are all of my original male students who have been studying with me since 2004. What is remarkable is not the fact that I have been teaching for 12 years, but the fact that these men have been regulars for a large duration of that time.

Dr. Malcolm Ing, seen in the black shirt to my right in the photo (I’m the guy with the red tank top), has an impressive resume. He graduated from Yale Medical School and is a pediatric ophthalmologist. He’s well into his 80s and surfs longboard as well. He is a great model of what it looks like to age well.

Howard Wiig, the man to his right, works with the State of Hawai’i on alternative energy solutions. He is a stalwart in my class and comes rain or shine when he is not traveling extensively for his work. He is an avid runner and works out far more than I do. He is well into his 70s. Another great model of aging well.

Joe Teipel to my left in the grey shirt was an auctioneer for many years. I saw him recently on A&E’s Storage Wars when they came to Kailua. He is now pursuing other career interests in real estate. He is also an avid surfer and has been a part of the Hawai’i surfing community from the early days. He has a golden voice and often gives speeches for money. He has a great cameo in the movie “North Shore” which came out in the 80s. He of course was the announcer of the big surf competition. I think Joe is in his 60s, but reminds me of someone in his 30s.

Not to knock the ladies, but yoga nowadays seems to be dominated by young, lithe, 20 something women who have been doing yoga for only a few years. When I see my male students in class with over a decade of yoga experience, and they keep coming back week after week, it gives me hope that there is also a bright future for yoga being more open to men as a means of relieving stress and staying healthy as they age. With these guys, I get the same feelings of healthy camaraderie I felt was a youngster in my grandfather’s barbershop.

 

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6 thoughts on “The new faces of yoga?

  1. swtspontaneous

    More like “The Old Faces of Yoga”! When yoga began, it was all men! Just like acting roles were all performed by men when theater began. My favorite local yoga teacher is male and many Iyengar classes I’ve taken were taught by males. All of the most famous yoga teachers are male. I will admit, however, that the most popular yoga classes these days seem dominated by females (don’t know whether or not that’s also the case in India). I think this is sad because males need to be healthy too, not just women! 🙂 This photo and entry is refreshing! I am glad there are males out there staying healthy too and in good company! 🙂

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    1. yogibattle Post author

      It is funny how the pendulum swings. It is nice to see other demographic represented in Yoga other than the fitness ad models. Thanks for your comments!

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  2. babycrow

    Great post!
    I couldn’t resist mentioning ‘broga’ to my teacher recently just for the pleasure of watching him roll his eyes! I’m glad there are quite a few men who attend the classes I go to — it gives class a different feel.
    But all those lithe 20 year old women might also stay the course and practice for many years, right? It’s less about gender than about continued practice I hope.

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    1. yogibattle Post author

      Thanks babycrow! You bring up a great point about gender. I have often written about how men feel intimidated by yoga on many levels because of mass marketings’ allure to the Lululemon habitué. So I am not knocking gender, but rather the limited view that commercialized yoga has placed so that people only think that yoga is for a young female triathlete, which as we all know if very far from the case.
      I have plenty women in my classes as well who are similar aged as the men above and who were practicing just as long. So I hope this post isn’t coming off as sexist, but rather more inclusive for aging men who want another alternative to grinding weights or much worse, loneliness. I appreciate your insights 🙂

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