Do women tend to make it a happening and meet their best friend in the studio, while men prefer to practice at home alone with YouTube videos?
Yes, I think that’s part of the culture that was created out of it. Going to a yoga studio and meeting like-minded people is an important point for women, but not yet for men. Men often feel uncomfortable in a yoga studio surrounded by flexible women because they think that’s what yoga is all about. But it is not. It’s about practicing yoga with exactly the skills you have right now. This can help with physical flexibility, but also with strength, stability, clarity and concentration. And I know that this may not be very popular with men, but yoga can help them to get in touch with their feminine side or their non-linear masculine side. Even if you don’t want to put a stamp on it, there is a gender-specific assignment to certain types of movements or feelings.
Do men still have prejudices against yoga?
In very practical terms, yoga is an activity for the upper middle class. Classes and studios are expensive and some studios exude a feminine atmosphere, almost like a beauty palace. Not every man likes that. Then they go there and there are women everywhere who are much more flexible than they are and they are the stiff guys. The spread of all these online programs makes yoga more accessible, not only for men but also for different social classes.
If someone has prejudices, whether man or woman, how do you counter them?
I’m not confrontational, because that doesn’t really work and doesn’t fit with the philosophy of yoga, but I’m encouraging and open and as a teacher I try to convey consistently good experiences.