Not many men are man enough for yoga. «That's women's stuff,» they rumble with a dismissive hand gesture from behind the empty beer mug, making fun of something they have no idea about. The fact that even many of their role models have long been doing yoga themselves has apparently not yet reached the oh-so-tough guys. Time to dust off the male image of yoga and shed some light on the Neanderthal.
«Yoga reduces the risk of injury» says the General Manager of the Washington Capitals and tells us that the NHL team around superstar Alexander Ovechkin meets regularly on the mat. Those toughest of guys on soft yoga mats?! Unfortunately still unimaginable at our regulars' tables, but commonplace in the world's best ice hockey league. For years, Swiss NHL players such as Nino Niederreiter, Roman Josi and Nico Hischier have been swearing by the effects of asanas and pranayamas.
But what else convinces the icons of the stronger sex of the gentle, Indian teachings?
«Yoga makes you more flexible,» Novak Djokovic is convinced. The Serb is considered one of the fittest and most agile players on the entire ATP tour. In addition to his work on the tennis court, his daily training routine also includes regular meditation and yoga. This also benefits the game of many of his colleagues, such as Juan Martin del Potro, who also emphasizes the regenerative effect of yoga.
This conviction is also shared by the self-confessed yogi and seven-time Ski World Cup winner Marcel Hirscher, who sums up his motivation with the following words: «Yoga helps my body to regenerate.» In addition to the physical aspects, athletes like him or golf pro Tiger Woods also benefit from the psychological advantages. After all, yoga increases the ability to concentrate and provides inner balance.
In the run-up to the 2006 summer fairy tale, Jürgen Klinsmann introduced yoga into the training program of the German national team. He has long since lost his job as national coach, but his yoga instructor Patrick Broome has remained to this day and was even allowed to help celebrate the World Cup title in 2014. Admittedly, it's not easy to imagine a joker like Thomas Müller calmly sitting on a yoga mat. But according to Jogi's yogi, the Bayern player knows exactly «when it's time to make jokes and when he needs to concentrate.»
As this little foray into the biggest men's sports shows, yoga has become an indispensable part of many athletes' training and, in some cases, even their lives. And if even these archetypes of men dare to get on the mat, perhaps this article will give individual skeptics the courage to just try the 'women's stuff' for themselves. You'll be surprised how strenuous yoga is and how many styles and alignments there are between spirituality and sport.
A fun fun fact about this, by the way, is that most people start their yoga practice to improve their physique. But the longer someone sticks with it, the more important the spiritual component becomes. On that note:
Namaste and hope to see you soon :-)
Pictures from shutterstock und Pixabay