A new class, Yoga for Dudes, at Pure Yoga in Stillwater aims to get guys involved in yoga.
“I decided to start the class to get husbands and significant others of my other students in here,” said Pure Yoga owner and Yoga for Dudes instructor Suzy Schaak. “It’s intimidating for some people to come into a class with mostly women in it, and lots of men assume that yoga is just for women. I wanted to break that facade.”
The class began a few weeks ago, and Schaak has gotten a really positive response from it. A group of doctors and administrators have signed up in conjunction with a work wellness program from Stillwater Medical Group that has paid part of the cost of their yoga time. Schaak has geared the class toward fulfilling what men participating in yoga need to get the most benefit out of their workout.
“Generally females are more flexible than males, so I make sure to focus on strength,” Schaak said. “Men in general have tighter hips, hamstrings and shoulders, so I modify the poses accordingly.”
Schaak said the class is enjoyable and challenging with a cardio and athletic workout.
“I make them sweat and hopefully, as they learn, they’ll pop into other classes as they get more comfortable with yoga,” Schaak said.
“It’s been a really good experience especially for those of us who have never done this before,” said first-time Yoga student Andy Dorwart. “You sweat like crazy. I didn’t know you had to bring a towel or wear a headband. Now we do, and a lot of the guys joke around that they need a bigger towel because their mat is getting slippery.”
The class is geared towards beginners but is really challenging for some of the participants like Dorwart, who opted to try yoga for the first time after the Stillwater Medical Group wellness program was introduced.
“It’s challenging, which is a good thing,” Dorwart said. “I never realized that yoga was so strenuous. Being new, it would be intimidating to do a class and have women that were really experienced in yoga for me to go in and join a class. We have a couple of guys going in that are new. That’s a good way to start because that way we can get used to it in a non-intimidating environment.”
Schaak said classes are very laid-back and there’s lots of joking amongst the guys.
Dorwart said he’s improved a lot since he started.
“I learned that it can be a fun and vigorous exercise and that even a group of inflexible middle-aged men can learn yoga,” Dorwart said with a laugh. “It’s also a good outlet for stress.”
“Yoga with Suzy has been a really great experience,” said Dominic Frecentese, a year-long yoga student. “I love yoga, I’ve been taking it for a year through her, and I think Yoga For Dudes is more of a beginner class than I’m used to. But I use yoga to balance out my CrossFit training. I wanted to do something to counter the high-intensity workout, and it’s been really beneficial for me.”
Both Frecentese and Dorwart said those who are interested should check it out.
“Give it a try and know that it will be a lot more vigorous than what you think,” Dorwart said. “I went in thinking, ‘Stretching, this is gonna be easy,’ but what I found is it’s a vigorous activity that makes you sweat.”
“It’s a great thing to learn and their significant others love it when the men invite them to yoga. Our classes have expanded to include some couples and created more of a community as well,” Schaak said.
Yoga for Dudes is ongoing. Classes take place on Wednesday nights from 6:45-7:45 p.m. at 105 New England Place Suite 130 in Liberty Village of Stillwater. Various options are available for payment, including a $15 single drop-in fee. Ten-packs cost $120, while an auto renew plan costs $89 a month. First time visitors can also try out the studio free for one week.
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