Think Yoga is just for girls?

Think again.  New research from Roy Morgan Research reveals that the fastest growing group of yogis is men aged 25-34, with one in ten now hitting the mat on a regular basis.

This will come as little surprise to anyone practicing at BodyMindLife – where you can always find a healthy mix of genders in any class.
But men aren’t just practicing; they’re teaching….& they’re are doing a mighty fine job!

BodyMindLife’s line-up of male teaching talent are regular crowd-pullers, their stronger, athletic-style classes attracting both men and women alike.

And we’re seeing the rising popularity of teachers such as Ari Levanael and Christian Ralston.

We caught up with Ari to discover how the practice can benefit men and why more guys in the classroom is a trend set to continue…

Have you noticed more men attending Yoga in recent years/months Why do you think this is?

Absolutely! I think men are starting to realise that yoga is not just about touching your toes. Men are discovering that the benefits of Yoga are not only based on physicality and flexibility. Yoga is about calming the breath and therefore the mind, and a lot of people are now looking for a more well rounded approach to wellbeing.There are so many more great ways to strengthen the body than by just lifting weights, so perhaps bringing various physical and mental disciplines like Yoga into an exercise routine is more appealing these days for a more wholistic approach to health.

What do most men find surprising when they do a Yoga class?

I think men are surprised by how difficult a class can be and the upper body strength and focus that is required in a Yoga class. Learning to breathe in a way that calms the mind and eases the body through a sequence of postures is both challenging and exhilarating.

I also think men are surprised to see a lot of other guys in the studio, and see a guy like me teaching the class as someone that perhaps they can relate to.

How can Yoga benefit men?

As well as all the amazing health benefits that everyone receives, I think Yoga can help men open up the areas of body that generally men feel tightest in. With me for example, not necessarily being of slight build, I find that it helps me open my shoulders and spine and this is something I’m still working with.  Also, a lot of guys have very tight hamstrings and hips, so Yoga, through patience and persistence, really helps with opening those areas.

When we start to unlock the body, we also start to unlock the mind, finding space in both to then be able to move through life with a quality of ease. Every time we step on the mat, we release whatever has come before that moment, and be a more engaged version of ourselves.

What can people expect in your classes?

My regular students at BML know that I teach quite strong classes also with an undercurrent of fun! I tend to teach a lot of interesting arm balances and definitely give students plenty of opportunity to go upside down! I teach a slow flow in a calm and comforting manner but certainly get people sweating and exploring their edge.

I like to weave elements of my own personal experience and knowledge through the practice and always bring it back to the breath and my personal mantra “no force, no strain”.

Check out the timetable to book in a class with Ari and one of the boys of BodyMindLife…

Ari Levanael Yoga Teacher

As teacher, performer and adventurer, Ari focuses on the uniqueness of each person; the demands of both body and individuality. With a long history of yoga practice spanning over 25 years, Ari is a passionate and dedicated student of the yoga tradition. Having studied and practiced with many respected teachers worldwide including; Maty Ezraty, Bharath Shetty, Shiva Rea, Annie Carpenter, Joan Hyman, Simon Park, Nicky Knoff and Shandor Remete to name a few.

Ari is particularly adept at modifying and adapting the yoga practice for any level and is known for creative sequencing that takes students safely to new levels of exploration. With an approach to yoga that fuses breath in relationship to body movements, Ari interweaves elements of creative mandala sequencing in a style that moves between traditional and explorative, in balanced harmony with alignment principles that create a unique and fulfilling yoga experience.

Currently, Ari holds over 1,500 hours of accredited Yoga teacher-training in various styles, merging the traditional with a knowledge of gymnastics, martial arts and aerial acrobatics. Uniting yoga with these great variety of disciplines and embodying it in personal practice.

He now holds teacher trainings, retreats and workshops worldwide while mentoring the next generation of teachers.

Christian Ralston Yoga Teacher

Christian teaches thoughtful and challenging yoga classes that draw on his personal experience over the years of regaining movement in a tight an injured body.

As you flow to some of the slickest yoga playlists around, you'll be guided with knowledge Christian has learned from some of today's modern yoga and movement greats - including Shiva Rea, Maty Ezraty, Ana Forrest, Simon Park, Noah Maze, Les Levanthal, Ido Portal.

Christian is very dedicated to his own practice and is always on the look out for ways to be challenged and grow, both personally and as a teacher. Christian often spends time looking outside the yoga world to see what other forms of movement could help enhance a yoga practice and he will draw on these frequently to offer students the best and most effective experience possible.

A teacher who guides with passion and takes great pride in being as helpful as he can to all students who come to take his class and has a firm belief that anyone can bring the freedom of movement back to their body with focus, time and dedication.