There’s no denying that yoga is practiced by a predominantly female demographic: a recent study found that 83% of the more than 20 million yoga practitioners are female. But the owner of a local yoga studio has seen an increase in the number of men walking through their doors.
“I would say it’s about 25-30 percent guys. But five years ago, it might have been ten percent.”
Lisa Shackelton runs Yoga Shack in London.
“It’s definitely a quickly growing population. University students come, the rowing team, the football team, cheerleaders, the London Knights come here. A lot of female students end up bringing their partners and talking them into it.”
Shackelton began doing yoga in 1997 Calgary at a time when there was only one studio in the entire city.
“I used to teach jazz, tap and ballet growing up and then I taught aerobics. After my class would end there would be a yoga teacher that came in. So I would often stay and practice and take that in. What kept bringing me back to it was how it made me feel compared to how I would feel after working out at the gym. Just from the inside out feeling amazing and rested.”
She praises the mental and physical benefits of doing yoga and specifically hot yoga, when the heat is cranked and the sweat is pouring.
“The premise behind it is that when you’re warmer your muscles are more likely to relax. The sweat adds another layer of detoxification. You get to sweat out a lot of impurities, cleansing your body.”
Despite all this, is there some kind of stigma attached to men doing yoga?
“I hope not. It’s kind of sad that sometimes people don’t feel as open to try new things. If you feel like there’s a stigma around your gender or your ability or your size or your shape don’t be afraid to just try it. Just let it go.”