YogaJack is a new company offering yoga gear made exclusively for men. Their products are designed for “a man’s style, length needs, and support.” While I think it’s awesome that YogaJack’s products encourage men to do yoga, I guess I wasn’t aware that there was really a need for male specific products.
The company sells thicker, longer yoga mats, as well as a “STAY STRONG” bag and “STAY STRONG” strap. Chief Marketing Officer Mike Foster says:
The average guy isn’t going to want some floral print, pastel colored, thin, flimsy mat. For men just starting yoga, the practice itself can be intimidating at first. We want to give guys confidence in the studio by providing them with yoga gear and products that are designed just for them.
I can definitely see the benefit of making longer, thicker mats more appropriate for male bodies. But I haven’t ever heard any men who practice yoga complaining that the gear doesn’t fit them, though. Have you? Sure, a lot of the mats are purple or have lotus flowers on them….but I’ve seen plenty that are brown or blue or green or unisex, too.
Although I think that yoga has somewhat of a feminine association within greater culture, I’m not sure if that’s true within the actual yoga word itself. There are lots of male yogis and yoga teachers; Rodney Yee and John Friend are just two that come to mind off the top of my head. Lots of other well-known men are avowed yogis, too, like Adam Levine, Jon Bon Jovi, Sting, Russell Simmons, Robert Downey Jr, Woody Harrelson and more. Men comprise nearly a third of the multi-billion dollar yoga industry, according to SFGate.com.
With classes like Broga and the Star Wars-themed male only class in Portland, tailoring yoga specifically to men isn’t a new development, per se. But I find myself wishing that the yoga industry overall could become more inclusive to men, rather than creating niches where men can be accepted. After all, yoga is as much about the mindset of acceptance as it is about alignment, breathing and strength. Still, if YogaJack products will make it more likely that some men will start and continue a yoga practice, I can’t argue with the value of that.
What do you think? Would you use this yoga gear made specifically for men? Do you think it’s a great way to get more men doing yoga or do you think it’s creating a false dichotomy in the yoga world?