I’m so glad to see that yoga these days is attracting more and more men in the western world. I remember that twelve years ago, when I started a meditation course, I was the only man (or I should say boy) among quite some older women. And at that time I was only 15 years old, so imagine how weird it felt to me to be the only male presence there AND to be 50 years younger than the other people.
As a man I found that it is quite hard to find the proper mat when it comes down to having a yoga practice. In the beginning it didn’t bother me so much, but at some point my own yoga teacher told me that my shoulders were too wide for the regular size yogamat. Thus, my search began! Luckily for me the trainer course I was following had a good assortment of mats and therefore also the mat I was looking for and still use.
But what is the proper yoga mat for men?
I don’t want to really point out the differences between men and women, but for this article I have to. So, to start with, men are on an average taller than woman, that’s a fact. For most men the regular size mats will do I have to say. But if you see that your hands are reaching further then the mat itself, it might be wise to look for a larger mat than the 68 inch. It might not be that easy as it there are more people with an average hight then those who are taller. I’ve found a few and later on I will share them with you.
Most yogi’s have heard this term, “put your feet shoulderwidth apart from each other”. According to the build of your body your shoulders might be a bit wider than others though. I also found that when in downwardfacing dog, my hands were always on the edge of the mat when I was using a standard-size mat, which is okay if you’re just starting to practice and if the surface underneath your mat is quite comfortable. But it’s not so nice though when you are doing yoga on a concrete floor and your hands are touching the cold surface, for example. Than it might be wise to find yourself a mat that is a bit wider than the standard size. I was very lucky that I found a wide yoga mat the second that my yoga practice got more serious.
Owning your masculinity
I might hear you say now: “that’s all well, a taller and wider yoga mat for men, but what about the space?” I do have to say that in the beginning it’s quite weird to bring a large or wide size mat to your yoga class. At least for me it was. To me it looked a bit cocky to put my oversized yoga mat there to prove that I’m a man and I need to be different than all of you. And of course that’s not what yoga is about. I have to say as well that for me it always has been hard to take my own spot, I would always let others walk over me and in the end I wouldn’t get what I want. So for me it was a lesson in learning to stand up for myself, to find my inner strenght, my masculine power. And that mat showed me that for sure ;). With that said, men, don’t be too shy among all those women, they’re all in their own practice and they’re all there for the same reasons as you are!
Those were just a few things to be aware of when you are starting your yoga practice, I’ve been focusing here on men, but I also have to add that this is some advice for the ladies reading this article as well. When you are taller or wider, don’t be too shy, just buy the yoga mat that suits you best as well.
Soon you’ll find some reviews on some yoga mats that are larger and/or wider, so have a look every now and then to see if there is something to your liking!
P.S.: Feel free to share your own experience you had when you had your first yoga class!