I've been going to yoga classes for a little over two months now, and invariably I say to myself as I walk out of the gym how much I love them. Sure, I'm walking a little gingerly as my muscles are fatigued from a good workout but they also feel long and loose. More importantly, they're stronger and more flexible too. With many of the positions, the instructor gives modifications ranging from beginners to advanced and I'm abandoning many of the beginner variations and moving on to more challenging ones. Heck, I can even do the pre-headstand one now, balancing on just my head and hands. Someday maybe I'll get my legs off my elbows and up in the air.
It's essentially the same people in class every Tuesday and Thursday...all women. We have the occasional man in the room, usually by accident or to retrieve some piece of equipment stored in there before he beats a hasty retreat.
That's what happened Thursday and it led to discussion about men and yoga. Melissa, who teaches the class, said she'd never had a man participate in a class. While yoga was developed in India by men, for men, it seems to a woman's discipline here in the U.S.
When someone mentioned that they had taught many of the yoga poses to their teenage son who now regularly does them to improve his flexibility for sports, I added that I'd just read an article about Broga, classes designed with men in mind. Apparently calling it "bro" takes some of the chick stigma away. Yoga offers a lot of health benefits, including stress relief, so if it takes modifying the name to make it more appealing to men, so be it.
From there the conversation on yoga class variations went downhill. It seems in some of the big cities you can attend Naked Yoga classes. That's right: yoga sans the yoga pants...and everything else. That's.just.wrong. Believe me, you get some "interesting" views of the anatomy of the person ahead of you as we're twisting ourselves into pretzels but at least they're covered by clothing. I don't want to even imagine what they would be like if all the participants were naked!
Then someone popped up and said they'd seen a segment on Good Morning America about karaoke yoga. There were big screens instead of mirrors and a DJ spinning pop tunes to which the participants sang along. I suppose it depends on what you're looking for out of a workout but I happen to like the New Age sounds of pan flutes and the sounds of the ocean that are played in my class. Dance music and badly-sung lyrics just wouldn't give much of a sense of calm and relaxation in my book.
I suppose some marketing guru is behind these spins on traditional yoga classes...an effort to bring in new members or hold old ones with something different. But from where I see it, newer isn't always better.