Even though yoga was originally practiced by men, the typical yoga class in the United States is full of women. Of the 36 million yoga practitioners in the US, only 10 million are men. Still, that’s good news: in 2012, there were only four million men showing up on the mat. Interest in yoga among men is growing, and you can take advantage of that in your studio.
Getting more men in your yoga classes comes down to one thing: creating a safe, comfortable space. No one wants to feel like an idiot the first time they do anything, and if a man feels it’s likely that he will be the only guy in class, and that he’ll be laughed at for not being able to touch his toes, he’s not going to show up.
Offering beginner-friendly classes is important at any yoga studio, but of course sometimes people show up to that power hour because it’s the only class that fits with their schedule. A teacher can’t be expected to slow the entire class for one new student, but a good teacher will stay aware of who might be in over his head, give him alternatives to the poses, and speak with him after class to let him know he did well and that there’s a beginner class he might like to try.
Here are a few ideas for marketing your yoga studio to men:
Offer Specialized Classes
Yoga for golfers, yoga for runners or yoga for injury recovery will appeal to men and women, and it will give men who are nervous about trying yoga for the first time a common bond with everyone else in the room. It immediately offers a greater purpose for being there. He can think, “I’m here to improve my golf game, whatever it takes,” rather than, “I’ll try yoga, but I don’t know what it will do for me.”
Talk to Both Men and Women on Social Media
There are plenty of articles about yoga in Yoga Journal, personal blogs and women’s magazines, but don’t rely on those alone. Keep an eye out for articles from respected news sources and men’s publications that talk about the benefits of yoga in a gender-neutral or male-oriented way. For example, this article in Men’s Fitness speaks directly to men about why they need yoga in their lives, mentioning that it can help them get flexible and prevent workout injuries.
Subscribe to Google alerts on yoga and related topics to find articles you can share with your Facebook followers.
Keep Your Advertising User-Friendly
It’s easy for men and women both to feel intimidated by photos of people in advanced poses. If someone sees that flyer and believes that’s what your classes are like, they might turn away. There are many beginner-friendly poses that are photogenic, so think about featuring downward dog, warrior II and seated twists in your advertising.
Don’t Neglect the Non-Exercising Men
Not all men are gym rats. Some are couch potatoes who are looking for that first step to a healthier lifestyle, wondering if yoga might be the way. And many are somewhere in between.
Improved physical fitness is far from the only benefit of yoga, and it’s not the only reason people start practicing. Share information about the other benefits of yoga: reduce stress, manage illness, get better sleep and more. These are important issues for men as well as women.
Equip Your Studio and Your Shop for Both Men and Women
Have longer, wider yoga mats on hand to suit taller guys. Sell those mats in your shop, along with clothing in men’s styles.
Don’t Underestimate the Power of the Partner
Lots of wives and girlfriends would love to get their men to yoga. Consider special events and offers to give them that opportunity:
- Offer one week of free classes for the member’s spouse (33 percent of yoga practitioners got started because of a free class!)
- Host a partner yoga class or workshop
- Combine yoga with another activity, like hiking, that new-to-yoga men might be more comfortable with
- Offer half-priced memberships to a member’s significant other on the day of a special event
- Hold a short workshop on a practical topic like stress reduction. Heavily incorporate yoga along with discussion and other methods, like art or walking meditation. This way, they have a chance to get familiar with yoga in a low-pressure situation.
Men are interested in what you’re doing at the yoga studio. This interest will only continue to grow, so make sure your studio is ready to reach those men when they’re ready to step on the mat for the first time.
Looking for additional marketing tips? Get your copy of our free 10-Step Yoga Marketing Guide.