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Bringing men into the yoga fold

Updated: Jul 4, 2019

Experts say not even a third of all yogis in the West are men.

But Yorkshire yoga instructor Matt Appleby, of The Wholesome Apple, doesn’t need some survey to tell him it’s hard getting men on the mat. He need only look at his average class. “I may have one man in the class, if I’m lucky. Sometimes two. And that’s in a class of 10-15 plus. That’s the kind of ratios I’m looking at,” says Matt.

"My average student is a lady that’s maybe 45, works, has kids.”

So why do dudes demur? “There’s still a big stigma because it’s something bendy women do,” says Matt, who remembers feeling insecure himself as the only male in many classes early in his yoga career.

Matt’s solution was to create the Men’s Yoga Collective, “a safe space for men interested in self-development and the transformational power of yoga.” The group meets monthly, “in a neutral environment away from the usual confines of a yoga studio or gym.”

Matt explains that when training at the British Wheel of Yoga he learned that yoga was “a lot more than stretching and breathing”. A whole lot more: it helped him overcome his personal struggle with depression. Mental health through yoga is a gift he can now share with his fellow men. “It’s yoga and self-development.”

It’s also a hit. “They have this regular monthly appointment where they get to switch off and take some time out,” says Matt.

As one satisfied customer put it: "I was looking to take quality time out to focus on my inner peace and give myself a mental break.

I got all this and more…. I thoroughly recommend it to guys wanting to de-stress and take a step back from the rat race!"

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