My research on this subject has brought me to several conclusions, some of which did not come as a surprise: there are many different types of women, with many different types of preferences, and many that do not even know what they want. There were other conclusions, though, that were somewhat surprising, definitely reassuring, and good news for all men, regardless of whether or not they do yoga. (Obviously, for the purposes of this article, we are specifically looking at the benefits brought to men who do yoga on the subject of interaction with women who do yoga).
For my research, I gave several women (in their 20s and 30s) a survey asking them to respond to the following:
1) What is your gut reaction to a guy walking into a yoga studio dominated by women?
The bad: Many women who are new to yoga often assume that a guy doing yoga is either gay or trying to pick up women. They also may be concerned that he is are not wearing deodorant.
The good: Most women who regularly practice yoga realize that the men practicing do so for the same reasons that women do, and those women are completely comfortable with other men in the studio with them. Also, with the spread of yoga among men, people have become more open-minded in regards to the sexual orientation of the male yogi, meaning that they do not automatically assume that he is gay anymore. Lastly, women are intrigued by males who do yoga. They want to see what they can do. Men – show ‘em whatchu got.
2) How do you react to a guy telling you that he does yoga? Would you question him on his knowledge of poses to make him prove that he was telling the truth?
The bad: Women will be skeptical at first. Your knowledge of yoga may be questioned, directly or indirectly. She might want to know the style of yoga you practice, the studio that you practice at, or some of your favorite poses. Your motives for attending may also be questioned: Did you go because your mom, sister, or girlfriend made you, or because you personally decided to go?
The good: It is a common interest that can lead into an in-depth and rewarding conversation. The girl will find your knowledge of yoga or the dual training of your body AND mind attractive, and may even be impressed – even if you have only tried yoga once!
3) What do you think is the most non-threatening way that a guy can approach you after class?
Answer: The same as anywhere: say hi, smile, and introduce yourself. Ask a straightforward and sincere question: How long have you been doing yoga? Do you practice here regularly? What did you think of that instructor? Ask for her help with a pose that you saw her doing exceptionally well. (And don’t make excuses about being unable to do that pose because of certain aspects of male anatomy). Or go to the old standby: give her a compliment.
4) Would you be more likely to respect the guy who respects the yoga environment or the one who tries to be the class clown?
The bad: No class clowns allowed. Almost all women interviewed said that they unfavorably view a guy who does not respect the yoga environment and disrupts others. Plus, he might receive an embarrassingly public reprimand from the instructor to shut his mouth.
The good: You do not have to worry about being the funny guy or putting on a show to get noticed. Putting in consistently high effort and smiling and maybe laughing at yourself a little as you struggle with the poses is a great way to be noticed (in a good way).
5) Do you ever utilize yoga as a sanctuary to get away from guys?
The bad: Women DO go to yoga to get away from guys. (But keep reading).
The good: Women also go to yoga to get away from other women. Most women surveyed did not even seem to consider the possibility that yoga was a sanctuary from men until they saw the question in the survey. Yoga is a sanctuary from life in general: work e-mails, responsibilities, relationships, text messages, Facebook notifications, and commuting. It is an opportunity to to meditate and reflect on yourself. You can always talk to people after class.
6) Would you prefer that a guy introduces himself the FIRST time he sees you in the studio, or that he waits until the second or third class to do so? Do guys risk putting themselves in the “friend zone” by not acting quickly enough?
The bad: Nice guys finish last.
The good: WOMEN. ARE. APPROACHABLE. This does not mean that every girl is sexually interested in you, even if you consider yourself devilishly handsome. Still, most women expect the guy to make the first move. Some women said that if it seemed right then they would not mind being approached the first time that you encounter each other. Personally, I suggest waiting until at least the second or third time. This helps the girl understood that you are there to practice yoga, and not because you’ve been having trouble scoring at the bar you usually go to. It makes you more attractive and gives you an air of mystique while building up curiosity in the girl: Who’s the mysterious guy practicing yoga? Just remember not to wait too long.
7) Should guys make it clear from the start that they are sexually interested , or should they play the nice guy? This isn’t blatantly saying, “I would like to insert my penis into one or more of your orifices”, but rather has more to do with body language, tone of voice, and level of flirting: there is a difference between polite and flirty.
The bad: Women may not want to be approached after sweating in a heated room for an hour or more.
The good: First off, respect that the woman is there to do yoga, and not to hook up with you because of your awesome Crow Pose. Be subtle with a mix of directness: the same way that you normally flirt (or if not normally, how you should flirt). Don’t be too aggressive, cocky, or pretentious. Be nice, show a genuine interest, and see where it goes from there.
8) Does a guy have to be good at yoga to approach you in a yoga setting?
The bad: If he’s relying on his ability to rock side crow, he’s probably out of luck.
The good: All women say that it doesn’t really matter how good (or how bad) a guy is at yoga. The fact that he is there and making a positive impact on his overall health is enough. Besides, since when is being *good* judged on your ability to properly execute a certain pose? Being good at yoga has much more to do with the depth to which you can perform yoga without the ego and detaching yourself from the nonsense of everyday life, in my opinion. To put it in the words of one respondent, “A cocky SOB who rocks side crow has nothing on a good-looking but nice novice, IMO. Of course, a good-looking, nice, side-crow-rocking-guy is the best case scenario.”
9) How can a guy say, “I do yoga” to his advantage?
Bad news: If you mess this up, you’re hopeless.
Good news: Women like guys who take care of themselves, and yoga is one of the ways that people can take care of themselves both mentally and physically. Moreover, if you practice yoga, that says a lot about your open-mindedness. It’s also a common interest – something to talk about. Just make sure that can talk about why you do yoga: be able to defines its benefits and how you relate to it.
And of course…
10) Would you be more or less likely to hook up with a guy if he did yoga? If so, would it be for physical reasons (flexibility, core strength, body control), aesthetics, (more tone, lean body), or the fact that you share a hobby?
Bad news: None, if you do yoga.
Good news: The physical reasons are obvious. No girl that I have ever encountered is opposed to a guy who stays in shape. By this train of thought, the same could be said for men who weightlift or run, though – correct? The advantage in saying “I do yoga” has to do with the personalities of men that do yoga. It means they are more open-minded, seek more than physical benefits from their exercise (your better than a meathead), and are obviously confident and lack insecurity because they do an activity that is still viewed by mainstream society as a female one.
If you tell a girl that you do yoga, will it make her rip your clothes off right there? Probably not. However, it is attractive to women that a man has passion for physical activity, whatever that physical activity may be. If that physical activity is yoga, then it has the potential to be a great conversation starter (or more) because of its status as a mutual interest. More importantly, if anything can be taken out of this survey, it is that women are much more approachable than you think. We even had some participants say that they would like to be approached by a guy after the first class they do together, as long as the interest and sincerity is there.
So, to you, yoga man, put on your favorite boxer briefs, some deodorant, roll up your mat, and head to a yoga studio near you with confidence, an open-mind, respect for the practice, and maybe a little charm. Namaste.