Yoga– it’s for everyone

By JT Whitt |

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JT Whitt practicing acrobatic yoga with partner Mary Hickox.

Walking into my first day of Yoga Asana II, I was immediately greeted with a room full of awkward stares. No one was acting particularly rude, but the initial judgment from my peers was unsettling.

I was puzzled until I realized why I was recieving these looks – I was one of the only men present in a classroom packed with women. Brushing off the tension, I put my things down, took off my shoes and sat down awaiting instructions.

Up until that point, I had never practiced yoga. Five minutes into the class, everything seemed to click – I knew that the class was for me. Not only was I surprisingly good at yoga, I was more flexible than I realized.

After our last sequence, my instructor approached me and was shocked to hear that I had never done yoga before. Bewildered, she told me that I could go extremely far in the practice.

Her words were the encouragement I needed to move forward. After my classes, I rushed home and began to follow “yogis” on Instagram and YouTube. I was eager to learn more yoga and try my hand at the more difficult poses. The next couple of classes were just rewarding as the first class, and I found myself improving with time.

The awkward stares I got the first day of class began to transform into something else. Once my peers realized that I didn’t join the class because it was full of girls, and that I was serious about yoga,  they no longer stared at me like an outsider. Many of them approached me outside of class and asked me questions about my practice. Now, I’m just another “yogi” trying to further his ability.

Now that we are halfway through the semester, I find myself working harder each class.

The instructor also pushes me to my true potential. She notices my abilities, and pushes my peers and I try to bind positions, or to stretch a little deeper into a lunge. At the end of each class, she asks us to salute ourselves for our hard work.

Through Yoga, I have found confidence. Yoga has not only helped me build strength and flexibility, I’ve become self-assured through the positive feedback i’ve received. I’ve found a passion in yoga, and I plan to continue moving forward with my practice.

While the first day might have been a little intimidating, I’m glad that I was able to move past the stigma.  To any men who might feel hesitant, I encourage you to give yoga a try. It’s a great thing, and it’s for any gender to enjoy.


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