By Paul Irish
Psst, tough guy — time to hit the mat. Really. Yoga for men is in the big leagues now.
Don’t believe me? Just ask former Blue Jay slugger Joe Carter, who just released a DVD he co-produced with Trish Stratus, pro wrestler-turned-yoga instructor, and has been doing yoga for years.
Called Stratusphere Yoga for Men, the 25 minute workout incorporates moves you wouldn’t expect in a traditional class, including lunges, squats and push-ups.
“I used to shy away from yoga because I thought it was for sissies,” says the 52-year-old-old Carter. “I was wrong — it’s a great workout that every man needs to do on a regular basis.”
It doesn’t hurt that major sports teams, including the Maple Leafs and the Argonauts, use yoga in their training. “Guys are clueing in,” Stratus says. “Athletes are discovering that it helps their injuries and even extends their careers.”
Men are a growing market for yoga, says Michael DeCorte, who teaches Jock Yoga and says his classes are about 40 per cent men.
“This is a generalization, but when the average male hears the word yoga, they think of spiritualism and things like that,” he says. “But if you want a good workout, I’ll give you one — no chanting, no incense, and you’ll be doing a lot more than touching your toes.”
He says far from lying on a mat, a lot of repetition and stretches work the major muscles.
Stratus, who was a seven time World Wrestling Entertainment champion, befriended Carter a few years back at charity golf tournament.
He talked to her about his injuries from playing pro ball for decades, saying he’d give anything to get rid of the pain. Stratus gave him the beginnings of a routine that quickly made him one of the converted.
“I wish I had this workout 20 years ago,” says Carter. “I probably could have won another championship.”
But Stratus says the truth of the matter is that like most men, the baseball legend wouldn’t have even considered yoga two decades ago.
And although she says men have grown from 10 per cent of her classes to 40 per cent, she admits many men are still hesitant.
Her first classes directed to men was called Yoga for Guys Who Like Fries in an attempt to break down the “new age, touchy, feely” image of the discipline.
“Guys still think they’ll look stupid,” she says. “Some think they have to be the best and when they see this thirty-something woman who’s way more flexible than them, they don’t like it.”
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