Trinity Grad Update July 2011
Making Yoga Accessible For Men:
Recent research in the US found that men have a great deal less flexibility than women, and their response to flexibility training was much slower relative to womens’. This is something that perhaps you have already noted as a yoga teacher, but how can we use this information to make yoga more accessible to men? Well, firstly the study explored the fairly significant difference in ankle flexibility between men and women – meaning that men have less mobility in the foot/ankle. As yoga teachers paying attention to the comfort and accessiblity in poses like Downward and Upward Facing Dog, Inclined Plane, intermediate Head to Knee Pose variations, and transitions in and out of poses can help. Adding some warm ups and site-specific stretching for the foot/ankle/knee can also help, as can using props, modifications, and taking more time to explore this area of the body. And most importantly, letting people know that they are coming with varying degrees of functional and structural flexibility and to work at their own pace. Reminding ourselves that yoga isn’t about ‘doing’ poses but ‘being in’ poses give encouragement to all students, and particularly those who are struggling with mobility issues.