Downward Facing Dude
Jun 23, 2014 06:00AM ● Published by Cate Reynolds
Physically, structurally, women are more flexible than men. It’s a muscle mass difference; a pelvic hip difference. It is common knowledge that men have more muscles. (According to Livestrong.com: “studies have proven again and again that men have a greater amount of skeletal muscle than women. In one such study that examined 468 men and women and was published in a 1985 issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology, researchers determined that men had an average of 72.6 pounds of muscle compared to the 46.2 pounds found in women. The men had 40 percent more muscle mass in the upper body and 33 percent more in the lower body.”). And muscles decrease flexibility. Picture a muscle-bound bodybuilder who can’t even reach around and scratch his own back.
But this basic strength vs. flexibility issue is only logical and evolutionary. Men need to be strong to lift all those tree trunks, rocks, and woolly mammoths. Conversely, women need that lithe, flexible edge when birthing babies. Just stop in at any yoga class in the country and you will affirm the pretzel-like possibilities of womankind.
However, that yoga class surveillance may reveal something rather surprising. Not all those pretzels are female. Men want in on some of that Zen-ness and have slowly been entering the world of yoga—or should we say re-entering that world since yoga was first practiced in the Far East by men. Yoga, according to industry figures, is nearly a $7 billion a year business. According to a study conducted by Yoga Journal and Sports Marketing Surveys USA, between 2008 and 2012, yoga participation in the U.S. increased from 15.8 million to 20.4 million—a 29 percent increase. Baby Boomers and men are credited with much of that increase. —S.H.
Bottom Line: Guys, watch out for injuries though; yoga isn’t the girly-girly activity you might think it is. You can get hurt if you let your natural machismo drive you to overdo it.