Yoga is for Girls, Lifting is for Boys

I just always thought it was something for girls, and not for a tough teenage boy who was trying to prove himself to others.  The girls’ sports teams always cross trained by doing yoga, and the boys’ teams cross trained by lifting.  That’s how it had been and that’s how it would always be.  To be caught by a teammate doing anything considered weak would instantly drop your rank on the team.  So naturally I avoided it like the plague and developed a predisposed hatred for it.  I did not care if I was flexible or not; I was not a gymnast or anything like that, so why would I need to do yoga or deep stretching?

But then I began to realize that the whole “I’m not flexible” thing wasn’t such a good thing.  I used to think, “well hey, no one else on the team is able to touch theirs toes, so why should I?”  I would look at myself as part of the team, and not individually as a single player.  It was not until I came to Colby and stopped playing sports that I finally began to view myself as a single player.  I took a look at my body and realized how poorly I had been treating it.  My diet was pretty poor and my flexibility was horrendous.  I was able to easily change my diet, but I still did not want to do yoga or work on my flexibility.  Sure, I knew I was not flexible, and sure, I knew how to fix it.  But the mentality was still stuck in me, the mentality to avoid yoga because others viewed it as weak.  So I went through all of freshmen year keeping fit and knowing how inflexible I was, but not wanting to fix it.

It wasn’t until finally taking the fitness test for this class and persuasion by my girlfriend to finally break the mentality and years of abuse and finally try a yoga workout.  I did the first one in the security of my bedroom, and thankfully I did.  Although it was a beginner workout, I think about half the time I was either laying on my stomach or holding the position completely wrong.  If someone had been watching they would be hard-pressed to call what I was doing yoga.  Finally after struggling and falling during many positions, I finished the 40 minute workout.  I didn’t feel any different immediately, but it wasn’t until I got out of the shower did it finally hit me how great I felt.  My body felt completely rejuvenated and renewed.  For the rest of the day I felt amazing and my muscles had never felt any better.  I have since continued doing yoga everyday to renew the sensation.  Also I completely take back anything and everything I have ever said against yoga.  It is quite possibly the best workout I have ever done, and would recommend it to anyone!

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4 Responses to Yoga is for Girls, Lifting is for Boys

  1. I used to have the same exact mentality about yoga and never even considered it something that I would try until I tore the cartilage in my hip and could find no relief from any other conventional types of physical therapy. I had been living in pain for almost a full year since my surgery, so was willing to try just about anything. For my first ever yoga class, I had mistakenly gone to a Bikram yoga class (115 degree hot yoga), not knowing what it was, and thought that I was going to die the entire time. It was the hardest thing that I have ever done. As I left afterwards, I vowed never to come back, but as I sat at home that night, not only did my hip feel 100x better, but my entire body was crawling with euphoria! I felt the same thing you were talking about and continued to go back because of the amazing results. It has been the one and only cure that I can find that has kept my hip pain-free since my injury.

  2. ColdWeatherCajun says:

    I can relate. In highschool my flexibility was fair, but the idea of pursuing something like yoga was usually halted by the gender stereotype that “only girls do yoga.” I ended up taking ballet classes (yet another activity with the “girls only” label) at the request of an instructor and my girlfriend at the time who were eager to gather male ballet dancers for partnering. During the time I took ballet I was the most flexible I have ever been. I really want to get back to my ballet level of flexibility and am thinking about taking yoga myself.

  3. Hattrix11 Hattrix11 says:

    I am right there with you. I have always been in decent shape, and never considered yoga as part of being fit. However to this day I am scarred by not passing the Presidential Fitness Test in middle school, all due to my lack of flexibility. I wish I had learned from that mistake back then, because I am almost positive I could have avoided several injuries if I had been more flexible and regularly did yoga.
    Another part of yoga is mental relaxation, and I think if every athlete put as much time into training their mind as they did their body, each individual would improve dramatically. Many of the posts have been about running, which I believe is one of the most mentally tough sports out there. If one can train their mind to be relaxed and focused in stressful times, the more likely they can avoid thinking of pain while running and the less likely they will miss an easy shot on the field, rink or court. Props for being so dedicated this week!
    Also: Yoga classes every day at noon in the AC for anyone who’s interested!

  4. tunesquad says:

    I can totally relate to everything you said. I am in no way shape or form a flexible being, and I used to view yoga as “weak.” This past summer I was working for a track camp on campus and one of the days we had to take the campers to a yoga session, so I figured it was naptime. It was incredibly difficult and made me feel amazing though. I have so much respect for people who do yoga and I wish I did more of it.

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