Yoga for the downward facing dudeby Peter Smith, Minnesota Public Radio
Yoga is all the rage in Minnesota these days.
We've got storefront and strip mall studios and health club classes running 18 hours a day. Target is selling yoga clothes, mats and towels. Yoga water bottles. Yoga tote bags. Yoga everything. People just can't get enough yoga.
Except middle aged Minnesota males. Something owly and obstinate deep in their "guy psyche" just can't let them get with the program.
It's probably just as well. Who wants to see a mirrored room full of sweaty guys doing the child pose, or the lotus, or the warrior, or any of those other poses? Not even guys themselves.
It's a perverse question. Chicken or egg? Which came first -- all those inflexible bodies or all those inflexible minds?
The guy in me wants to say that years of snow shoveling, yard work, old athletic injuries and other kinks have made yoga impossible for us.
I suspect, though, that that rigid "guy" mindset keeps middle-aged men from embracing yoga.
What guys need are yoga poses they can relate to as husbands, fathers, and members of the community -- as, well, guys.
They need poses they can achieve in baggy old sweat pants. Poses that take into consideration tight tendons, well-marbled meat and sedentary lifestyles.
How about a pose called, "searching for the remote," where a guy gets down on his knees somewhat gingerly, puts his forearms flat on the floor, and turns his head to the side as if peering under the sofa?
Or, "balky lawnmower," where he places his feet wide apart and stretches, one fist at hip level in front of him as if holding the lawnmower handle, the other flying far out behind, like he'd just pulled the rope and the mower hadn't started.
Maybe we could replace yoga's iconic "downward facing dog" pose with something called, "downward facing dude."
Yoga for guys. It's a big idea. An important idea. An idea that could improve life for thousands of men across the state.
I'm going to meditate on it as I do my guy yoga today. That is, if I do guy yoga today.
I seem to be stuck in a non-yoga pose called, "reclining chair."
- Morning Edition, 02/08/2011, 8:45 a.m.
Peter Smith lives in Hopkins, Minn.