This yoga thing sounds kinda cool, doesn’t it? From LeBron James and Tom Brady to Robert Downey Jr. and Sting, more and more men are doing it and you want to check it out.
But you don’t want to be that guy. You know, the creepy dude in yoga class who only goes to ogle butts and breasts—and all the women know it.
Sure, you enjoy flexible females in tight yoga pants as much as the next guy, but you want to be classy about it. You want to look cool and convincingly interested in yoga, so all those lithe ladies know you’re genuinely interested in getting in touch with your inner yogi.
If you’re a first-timer, here are ten ways to be yoga chic instead of the yoga creep:
1. Pack properly
Difficult poses equal awkward angles. Make sure the luggage is securely stowed. Wear bike or compression shorts underneath your normal shorts. “I’ve seen all sorts of things I shouldn’t have seen”, said Melissa Tung, an instructor at Equinox and YYoga in Toronto.
2. Go full frontal
Don’t be the downward douche that sits at the back only to stare at backsides. “Practise in the front, practise in the middle, so you’re more focused on what the teacher’s instructions are, rather than the eye candy around you”, said Cynthia Funk, co-director of The Yoga Sanctuary in Toronto.
3. Keep your concentration
A wandering mind can lead to creepy guy glances, so always have your third eye open. Listen to the instructions instead of staring at the sweets. “If a guy comes to class and starts talking to the girls and looking around, then that’s a dead giveaway”, Tung said. “Look at the instructor, not your neighbour.”
4. Perk up your pair
A pre-yoga pedicure is a must, especially if you have gnarly foot fangs. Women eye feet the way men check out breasts: they’re always searching for the perfect pair.
5. Celebrate losing your yoga celibacy
It’s okay to let the teacher know you’re a yoga virgin. Win over the alpha female with a little humility and all the omegas will accept you.
6. Put the squeeze on Lululemon
Nothing says trying too hard like being all decked out in brand-name gear yet being as flexible as fence post. “Don’t go to Lululemon”, Funk said. “Just wearing shorts and a T-shirt, you’re going to be totally fine. Sweat pants, totally fine. It’s so not necessary. It’s so completely not necessary.”
7. Be the early bird
Arriving late will seal your fate as the dodgy yoga guy. Get to the studio at least fifteen minutes early to fill out any paperwork, check out the facilities, and snag a prime spot up front.
8. Sweat without stink
Make sure your scent is absent. Just don’t try to kill it with cologne.
9. Avoid air pockets
Beware of back sweat. At some point you’ll be lying down, face up, and if you roll over too fast, you’ll make an embarrassing sound without the stink.
10. Don’t try to be Yoga Yoda
If you just can’t bend a certain way, it’s best to sit that move out instead of trying to impress the class Gumbys. “Know your limits and don’t be egotistical”, Tung said. “It doesn’t have to hurt to work. If you feel any sharp pain, that’s not good.”
Ronnie Shuker is an associate editor at The Hockey News and a freelance sports journalist. He’s remarkably flexible for a guy, but still an infant in yoga years. Follow him on Twitter at @THNRonnieShuker.