Yoga For Men
(Editor’s Note: In America, the majority of people in a yoga class are women. But in India, the roots of yoga lie with men. Yoga for Men is not a new concept. Kundalini Yoga for Men is not a new concept. But if it is new for you, I encourage you to embrace it and learn from the article below. It will change your life.)
The mainstream definition of masculinity is rooted in some primitive image of a territorial animal. Men are rated not on their valor or courage. Men are not judged by their benevolence or wisdom. We have been reduced to being judged by what we own and who we own and how many women we’ve conquered. Let us break the mold. Perhaps these few yogic practices will help us free ourselves from this “Man Box”.
1. Read “Man to Man”
“Man to Man” is such an important manual for men and women to read. It is an amalgam of ever male-specific course that Yogi Bhajan taught. Compared to women’s courses, he taught very few just for the men. The lectures cover so many aspects of what it means to be a man and how to maintain your grace and strength as a spiritual man. He is very frank in his language and speaks directly about everything from sexuality to diet to marriage. I can’t recommend this book enough.
Hit your mark. Be successful. Archer pose is an awesome challenge and a great way to get the blood flowing. Really bend the front leg and put your weight on the front foot. Archer pose is designed to sustain and build courage and self esteem. Build up from three minutes on each side.
Part of Yogiji’s whole thesis is to relate to yourself as a benevolent sovereign saint. In “Man to Man” he says a man should never eat on the run. I’m paraphrasing, “I don’t care if all you are eating is a carrot, you should be sitting at the table with silverware and a nice plate.” In other words, it’s not only what you eat that matters, it’s also the energy and intention with which you eat.
There are many recipes that are great for men’s health and potency in the manual. One of the recipes that really stuck out was the simplest: Chyawanprash on toast. Yogiji often states that men in this society have spent themselves and destroyed their sexual/creative potential and health with over-stimulation. When a student asked how to heal that damage, he gave chyawanprash spread on whole grain toast.
4. The Evergreen Exercises
You’ll find these in the manual as well. The set is long and challenging. It will test your balance and perseverance. The point of the set is to keep you young and spry. You’ll find other sets like this one. Throughout the teachings, Yogiji comes back a concept of creative potency. The idea is that as a man, rather than waste your creative/sexual energy on base sex or masturbation, use these powerful exercises to harness that potential. It’s a really beautiful concept. It’s very freeing from the pattern of comparing yourself to other men on the basis of worldly things. The trick is to harness your sun strength to light the world around you.
I have a beautiful personal relationship to this bani of Guru Gobind Singh. As a teenager, I was going through a very insecure time. I was surrounded by friends who were all in relationships and I began to feel very lonely. In fact, that loneliness had been an issue in my life for some time. What can I say? I can be a romantic fool. One day, I read a quote of Yogi Bhajan. The quote was about “turning loneliness to oneness”. That concept alone was so freeing. In the quote, he mentioned Jaap Sahib as a vessel to transform that feeling. I began to read it every morning.
Jaap Sahib is a warrior’s hymn. As you master the wording you will find a rythm. Your voice becomes a beating war drum. When you’re finished your eyes will be cool and glowing and your heart will hum. Yogiji described Jaap Sahib as the sun energy to Jap Ji Sahib’s Moon energy.
What stuff are you made of? Will you rise to the challenge to be a saintly man in this lifetime? It’s tough to get across such a message in a blog post, but we have the ability and technology to shift our approach to manhood. I’m in, are you?