Women greatly outnumber men in most yoga classes. I’m always a bit curious of straight men in yoga classes and what their motivation is for being there. I don’t care if one of a male yoga student’s reasons for coming is to possibly be able to meet a yoga girl. When it comes to straight men teaching yoga classes, it is an entirely different matter. I tend to avoid straight male yoga teachers and am really suspicious of their intentions. I realize that there are probably perfectly decent and well behaved straight men teaching yoga classes, I just haven’t encountered many and I’ve done a lot of yoga.
Women and gay men have sex available to them easily. Straight men have to work a lot harder for sex. A straight male in a yoga class is an anomaly. If he is passably attractive and friendly, he will end up meeting a lot of women. A reasonably attractive straight man teaching a yoga class is going to be at musician / celebrity levels for access to nubile women.
Straight men aren’t used to this. Women have societal stigma and a lifetime of dealing with sexual advances to moderate themselves. Gay men usually binge for a couple of years (or decades) before adjusting to readily available sex and the novelty wearing off. The straight male yoga teacher with classes loaded with fit, flexible, sexually empowered, and adoring women is going to be plenty tempted to tap this abundance.
For this reason, I tend to avoid straight male yoga teachers. It’s prejudiced and not a 100% rule, but it is a general policy. I’d steer most people in the same direction (male or female). And as a male, I’m not worried about being harassed, I just get annoyed be dealing with watching it.
For years, people have known I’m into yoga and asked for advice for finding a yoga teacher. My general advice for someone when I don’t know their particular community is to go to Anusara.com and look for an Anusara teacher in their area. I am not even an Anusara devotee, but of the major, readily-available styles of yoga, they are the most likely to churn out a teacher that will be friendly to beginners, practice good alignment, and not hurt anyone.
The founder of Anusara is John Friend. I’ve never even met the man but heard positive things from peers I respect about him and that he is a friendly and wonderful person. I also have trained with enough Anusara people to respect their attention to detail and sound alignment. John Friend was described to me by a very dear friend as someone whom just want to give a big hug. There has been a lot of talk about him lately in the yoga world:
I honestly could care less about the drug stuff, or even the Wicca thing, and have no idea about the pension matter (which is disturbing if true), but his admission about having sex with female students over the years, including married ones, is just kind of what I’ve come to expect from straight men in the yoga world.
I have three close friends, all women, who have studied with another major yoga guru / celebrity. One of them is highly, highly devoted to him and has followed him all over the world attending his workshops and trainings. She is in her fifties. The other is a sexy thing in her thirties who has done a few workshops with him but more casually. The other and warned me that he is only about the young, pretty girls. With all of this information, I went to a week workshop with this teacher, the two other female friends, and a gay male friend.
As a male and especially a muscular, non-traditional yoga body type, I usually get more than normal attention (not sexual but just instruction wise) from teachers at workshops because I stand out. At this workshop, my male friend and I did not exist in the teacher’s eyes. The guru forgot and then stumbled over the VERY easy name of my 50 something friend who has been his devoted student for years. His eyes just about bulged out of his sockets for my hot thirty-something female friend. Throughout the workshop, he leered at the hot girls and just walked past the men and older / less attractive women. It was almost silly how cliché the whole thing was.
He was good though… good enough that I might actually take another workshop from him. I’m not a person for whom meditation comes easily but I had great experiences with him in this realm. However, that made his sketchiness even more frustrating. Why waste so much talent? I’d rather be able to give a heartfelt endorsement for him instead of telling people only to train with him if they are looking specifically for XYZ and that they will have to deal with him being a sketchy, juvenile, dirty old man.
This isn’t just a national thing or just a problem with yoga celebrities. Locally in the greater Seattle area, there has been a rash of issues with inappropriate advances and “adjustments” by straight males. It’s almost epidemic. I’m sure that there are straight men who are perfectly legitimate yoga instructors who know how to keep their sexuality in check. However, most that I have encountered haven’t mastered this level of self-control. This is why I still avoid straight male yoga teachers and tell others to do the same.