Get Dad into Yoga this Father’s Day – 5 Tips
I’m guessing that this Father’s Day, as usual, you’re stuck on a present. He’s either the man who has everything or the man who doesn’t want anything. So, instead of the usual offering of craft beer, slippers or a book he’ll never read, why not give your Dad a present that will be good for both his body and mind? Yoga.
The problem with this brilliant present is that he doesn’t know he wants it – yet! So, we’ve come up with five ways to convince your Dad that this is actually the best Father’s Day present he’ll ever get.
If the thought of going to a yoga class gives your Dad the heebie-jeebies, then why not offer to show him a few simple yoga moves in the safety of his own home, with the promise of an Indian takeaway, or a nice dinner together afterwards?
When putting together a short sequence, start with the basics, adding in plenty of child’s poses. Focus on gentle lengthening of the hamstrings, stretching of the shoulders and, if there’s time, some hip-openers. Most important of all, give him a nice long savasana, with support under his knees if necessary. That should ensure he wants to give it another go.
By combining a bit of yoga and dinner, he gets to spend time with you and does a bit of yoga before being treated to a meal in or out (whatever he’s got the energy for after his attempts at yoga).
Somehow, most fathers seem to exist in this make-believe land where they think they’re much fitter than they actually are, despite the fact that they haven’t run further than 10 metres in 10 years.
The sad truth is, as men age, they start to lose muscle and gain fat – even without the helping hand of alcohol and over-eating. Then their testosterone levels start to drop off, causing loss of bone density, stiffening muscles and ligaments that can make older men more injury-prone.
So, next time your Dad makes an ‘oof’ noise when he gets up from the sofa, or starts puffing going up the stairs, take the opportunity to mention that he’s only going to get worse – unless he does something about it – like take up yoga. And then hand him a voucher for a few local yoga lessons and see if that does the trick.
This is a tough one, as most fathers like to think they know everything about anything. However, there is a pre-conceived notion about yoga that it is for women. But really, yoga is best-suited for those that need it most, and I can’t think of anyone who needs it more than middle-aged and elderly men.
So, in order to reassure him that yoga is for men too, tell him about Broga (a yoga class geared for him), or send him a youtube video of Adam Husler, yoga teacher and all-round nice guy. Or fill him in on the renowned hard man and DJ Goldie, now in his mid-50s, who credits his yoga practice with saving his life and inspired him to set up the clothing brand ‘yogangster’.
Even better, buy him a book on yoga for his present, such as Cool Yoga Tricks by Miriam Austin, or her other book, ‘Yoga for Wimps‘, which doesn’t show super-bendy yogis, but has photographs of real people doing adapted poses that will work for even the stiffest Dads.
The thought of going to a regular yoga class can be frankly terrifying for many men – especially if they’re a bit older and stuck in their ways. But if you think he might be up for a yoga class, find a beginner’s class that’s near to where he lives, with a gentle teacher and a mixed bunch of students, and then book the class for both of you as a Father’s Day present.
Guide him to a mat in the middle of the room, so he doesn’t feel exposed at the front of the class, or can’t see what’s happening from the back. Let him know that he doesn’t need to have a complete yoga outfit, but just a T-shirt and shorts will be fine. Part of your yoga present could be a practical yoga mat, so at least he feels he’s not sharing germs with the last 100 students to use the mats provided.
With you, by his side, he’ll hopefully have the confidence to get onto the mat and give it a go.
This is the long game, but make sure your Dad knows how important yoga is to you. Tell him about how it’s helped you, both physically and mentally. After a while, ask him if he’d ever consider having a go at it himself.
If he isn’t swayed by your opinion, then hit him with the facts. Yoga is known to be good for: reducing depression, controlling hypertension, keeping your heart healthy, helping to control diabetes, relieving back pain, improving digestion, relieving osteoarthritis and so on. If he suffers from any (hopefully not all) of the above, then that might just give him a reason to give it a go.
He might think that it’s too late for him to start doing yoga now, and that it’s something for young people, but there’s no right age to start on the yoga path. Take Queen Elisabeth of Belgium, who at the ripe-old-age of 86 met B.K.S. Iyengar and asked him to get her up into a headstand, which he duly did. If an old Queen can do it, then there’s no reason why your Dad can’t!
Whether any of these tactics work, it’s worth a shot, because yoga will give your Dad greater flexibility into old age, as well as a sense of peace and wellbeing, and there’s no amount of socks or Old Spice that can promise that.