So you’re a dude and you’ve decided to take your first yoga class? Good job! You are now one step closer to being date-worthy for all those yoga-pant-wearing vegan chicks out there. But much more importantly, there’s a very good chance that you will be an a lot more healthy, balanced and flexible person sometime soon. That is, of course, if you stick to your yoga for a while and stop eating cheese pizza and Big Macs for breakfast.
Now, let’s be honest here, your first yoga experience can be a scary endeavor. Being a fairly new yogi myself, I can tell you that there will be a selection of painful, weird, and crazy stuff happening during your first couple of classes. But don’t worry, it’s not all that bad if you know what to expect and believe me, it’s worth it. So let's break this down...
1. There Will Be Spiritual Stuff
Sounds cliché right? It’s true though! Most yoga teachers I have practiced with incorporate spiritual elements into their classes. Examples that I’ve seen are:
- Meditation, ohming, Namaste-salutations and putting your hands together in front of your chest
- Pictures, statues and other merchandise featuring Hindu gods that look like monkeys (Hanuman) or elephants (Ganesh)
- Words of wisdom or moral stories that will usually encourage you to be more compassionate, loving and nice to people
The level of spirituality varies a lot from teacher to teacher and it also depends on the type of yoga you’re doing. I like many of the spiritual elements, but not everyone does. If this kind of stuff doesn't float your boat, that's cool.
2. There Will Be Weird Sh**
As with all new things, you’re going to see some stuff that you’ve never seen before. Good stuff, boring stuff and some weird sh**. I have personally witnessed my yoga instructor playing an instrument that looks like a hybrid between an accordion and a piano while the whole class chants a song in Sanskrit. It is rare, but I’ve seen it happen at a mainstream yoga studio… and people actually knew the lyrics. I had no freaking clue what was going on, but everyone in the room looked like total PROs and serious about yoga (except for me). Go with the flow. If you feel like chanting along, do it. If you've always wanted to know what it feels like to "Ohm" in a group, yoga can be your chance!
Having said that, I'd like to add a warning. Many yogis have a tendency to be very enthusiastic about things that they believe are very yogic. Vegan food, organic yoga mats, and chanting loud ohms are just a few. Some people think yogis are weird, but they're openly weird, and I love that (except for the yoga snobs).
3. There Will Be Unmanly Poses
I can promise you that there will be poses that you will not want your buddies to (ever) see you in. You will find yourself trying to achieve physical postures that definitely don’t make you look like Schwarzenegger in Pumping Iron. This is mainly because you don’t master the poses yet, but partially also because yoga has been practiced for thousands of years. People didn’t know Schwarzenegger back then, so the poses are optimized for tons of physical and mental benefits that go beyond muscle mass and that will perfectly complement our huge guns and epic deltoids. Some of the most unmanly (but very common) poses are Downward Facing Dog, Cat Cow Pose, and Child Pose.
Generally, my recommendation is to just entirely let go of any ambition of trying to look extremely manly (especially in your first couple of classes) and focus on the awesomeness of the poses.
4. There Will Be Gay Dudes
Be it fellow students or teachers, the percentage of gay dudes is higher at a yoga studio than in most other places. This is the 21st century, so if you don’t like getting your wrong postures corrected by a gay yoga teacher, you most likely have a general problem nowadays and I recommend you get over it.
5. There Will Be Hot Girls In Stunning Poses
It’s not a myth. It’s just the truth. There will likely be hot girls at many of your yoga classes. They’re going to be wearing yoga pants and they’re going to be striking sick yoga poses.
Yoga classes are superb places for meeting girls. There are significantly more girls doing yoga than there are guys. On top of that, everyone is there to sweat, work out and shape their bodies. The perfect storm!
But let me tell you something. Focusing on chicks during the class is going to mess up your practice… and possibly make things awkward. So my advice is, do your yoga first and chat up the ladies later.
6. There Will Be Pain
You think you’re tough? Think again, bro. Yoga can be freaking hardcore. And I’m not even talking about insane bends and stretches. Ever tried to hold your arms straight and parallel to the ground in Warrior II pose after 60 minutes of Vinyasa Flow? Girls probably laugh at this, but the more biceps you have, the harder it gets to hold those guns up. Yoga has a ridiculously painful way of showing you that there are plenty of other muscles that you’ve apparently never used before. So be prepared for major amounts of sore muscles after your first intense yoga classes.
Finally, let me tell you that there is a lot more to yoga than what I mentioned above. In fact, I haven't even started to grasp the whole universe of yoga. My quest has only just begun and the only way for you to start finding out is to DO IT. I'm loving it so far.