Why Men Should Not Do Yoga
When the best of us start to question our actions and purchasing decisions for the first time, it seems completely foreign to us why anyone would be living their lives in any other way.
Whether it’s changing your diet, taking up yoga or even starting up your own business, the old life you’d led is now a distant memory. The person you once were is long gone, leaving you confused as to why anyone would choose to live their lives that way.
Why was I wasting my time in that awful unfulfilling job?
Why was I eating that awful food?
Why wasn’t I doing yoga?
Maybe you’ve found a new group of friends who you can relate to now, so your happiness is dependent on positive feedback from them.
Vegetarians, Entrepreneurs, Gym buffs, Yogis, Foodies etc all stick together amongst themselves to further enhance their sense of identity. We human beings are social creatures, forming communities for survival long term.
So when a man decides to start doing yoga, it’s perfectly natural for him to seek out like minded people to relate to. Like minded people give us the positive feedback to help accelerate our identities, helping to rationalise our life decisions as beneficial.
He’s created a new identity for himself and in his eyes broken free of an old draining head space. For a lot of men it was an uphill battle to start doing yoga in the first place, society has otherwise told them not to. Indeed, this emotional roller coaster could cover their old identities in distaste.
A man will stand on his pedestal now and look down upon his old non yogic self, and even perhaps anyone associated with that old self.
What I pose to you now, is to make sure real change actually happens in your life and not to just jump from one identity to the next.
You see, it’s not uncommon these days to meet a vain yogi who gossips and complains, or a vegan who looks down upon those not as worthy in their enlightened presence. You’d think that these people first and foremost would be the spokes people of world unity, making everyone feel good, since they’ve taken the steps to understand the world better for themselves.
However, all too often these very people are the worst to be around. In fact, regarding a lot of the spiritual community in particular, they’ve isolated themselves away from any sense of unity in to what seems to be a spiritual high ground over others.
I’d much rather be in the company of someone open minded, regardless of their lifestyle choices. In my opinion, having similar interests to someone isn’t the marker of a true connection, rather it’s whether your character matches or not.
Let me explain…
In the book ‘The 7 habits of highly effective people’, Stephen Covey suggests that in order to achieve true personal growth our character needs changing, not our personalities (identities). Our character can be defined as the ‘mental and moral qualities of an individual’. It’s the basis of morality which you choose to live life by (compassionate, open minded), regardless of what we choose to do in life (yoga, watch TV, ride a motorcycle).
On the other hand our identities are something which we have largely inherited, perpetuated only by associating with people with the same opinions and disregarding those with opposing opinions.
Indeed, even though the yoga teacher is doing something which is better for their body and mind, they may still be running through the same patterns of judgement and close mindedness. In my eyes, these people have missed the point of yoga, in the same way religious extremists have often missed the essence of their religions.
In relation to all religious disciplines, the horrible actions of some fundamentalists have always given religion a bad reputation. This often disregards some of the most spiritually welcoming people that religion has also bred. Even though I’m not religious myself, I’d much rather be around an open minded religious person than a vain yogi.
Be real honest with yourself…
Are you regularly doing your yoga practice, but look down on others and your old self for not doing the same? — You’ve changed your identity but still possess the same character trait of judgement.
I urge all those taking steps to better themselves, to not only concentrate on their identity shifts, but to have a look at how their character can mature as a result.
See in order for any sort of evolution to happen, what we need is a paradigm shift in thinking. We need to make immediate changes to our character by being fully acceptant and welcoming anyone’s lifestyle choices, thus truly coming full circle into a place of unity.
In my opinion, each one of us has a role to play in our brief existence on this big spinning rock. The sooner we accept one another, the closer we’ll get to a shift in consciousness.
When you find yourself in the throes of judgement a good exercise to start doing is one of constant self-reflection. Yes, on the surface you may seem to be more aware of your body than the people around you, but rather than worrying about how others choose to live their lives, in that moment ask yourself –
How can I be more appreciative of the yoga practice I’ve found, regardless of its source, and make the people around me feel good for their lifestyle choices?
What you’re doing here is strengthening the character traits of appreciation and compassion for others. Long term you’ll do a lot more for the people around you by making them feel good about themselves, regardless of their lifestyle choices.
The more you concentrate on bettering yourself, the nicer you will be to be around and your energy will become magnetic. In turn, people will indirectly emulate you as a result.
We justify our existence on the existence of others. So I urge you, on the path to bettering yourself, if you decide to start doing yoga make sure you’re respecting other people’s decision not do so as well.
Thanks for reading!