“Men most often know what they want, yet they are not always sure how they feel. Women most often know how they feel, yet they may not always know what they want.”
Now, that above quote may or may not be true. You can decide.
Personally, I’m not sure that I always know what I want, and although I may know how I feel, those feelings are prone to change. Perhaps we are not all so easy to categorize based on gender or culture or ethnicity. But one thing’s for sure, I’ve always shied away from female friendships because I wasn’t sure that men and women could be just friends without things getting complicated. However, my opinions beginning to change on that matter…
A few weeks ago I was introduced to Hot Yoga by a female friend who’s recently become close to me. This friendship started off as a prospective relationship, but it wasn’t feeling quite natural and yet we still had quite a lot in common. She’s obtained her Masters in Psychology and it’s an area of study that I’m currently working towards; we also enjoy healthy eating and exercise. So it would have been a shame to just let that relationship die out just because weren’t doing the horizontal Mambo. So we blossomed into the type of male-female friends that I’ve not had the pleasure of having so many of in my life.
I believe that as a man (especially when it comes to understanding women), it’s invaluable to be able to have a female perspective at your disposal for when things just don’t make any sense to you. Especially when dealing with your other female relationships. The fact that she’s a Psychologist also means that she looks a little deeper into the why behind my thoughts or actions and I find that to be quite helpful as well. It does make me wonder, perhaps it takes the sensibilities of a woman to balance out some of those rough edges that can come with too much masculinity and perhaps a little masculinity can be beneficial to the life of a woman in the same way outside of a romantic relationship.
Anyways, I digress… Steph introduced me to Hot Yoga for the first time in my life and it’s not something that I would ordinarily choose to do on my own. I’ve always thought of myself as a fairly athletic guy; I work-out, run and stay active as much as possible. Yoga seemed relaxing perhaps but it just never looked like much of a challenge to me and so, I’ve ignored it. But when Steph offered to bring me with her to a class, I didn’t want to say no to a new experience and so I gladly accepted the invite.
So, we went for a run one night until we were good and warmed up and just a little tired. Then afterwards we made our way over to the Modo Yoga studio and caught our late-night class in that sauna-like hot room. Now, I was a little nervous because I’ve never been the type of person who enjoyed being very warm. I crack my car window in the winter and I hide in the AC on those hot and humid summer days, so I knew this was going to be a challenge. But I enjoy a nice challenge from time to time.
Steph kindly lent me a water bottle and a yoga mat as I was a highly unexperienced Yogi myself. I’d felt a little bit like an imposter as I stepped into the Yoga studio, mat in hand, soaking up the spiritual zen vibes. After we entered the hot room and took our places upon our mats I knew I was in for trouble because my toes began to sweat as I lay there motionless. I wasn’t even aware that my toes needed sweat glands!
Soothing music played in the background as the lights were dimmed and the atmosphere was set for our hour-long Yoga session. Our yoga teacher broke the peaceful silence from the front of the room by welcoming us and reminding us to drop our worries, find our breath and stay present. I’m a big fan of meditation and so this felt very familiar to me. I was beginning to notice how Yoga blended meditation with some strength, stretching and stability in good measure. I was intrigued.
And so we began… Downward Dog, The Tree, Warrior, Pigeon Pose etc. I was contorted and twisted like a pretzel, muscles shaken by long posture holds and dripping sweat in such abundance that I was afraid I was becoming a human raisin.
My heart was beating fast and my muscles were working hard as my clothes began to absorb what moisture was once part of me. My water bottle depleted quickly and by the end of the first half an hour, I was already looking forward to the end of class. I also found a lot of humour in it as I fumbled my way through the poses or spooned puddles of sweat out from the inside of my ears. No one else was laughing though and I didn’t want to intrude on the serious atmosphere.
When I attempted the Pigeon pose I thought for sure something was going to snap inside my leg, but hell, it felt good actually. I’d probably never stretched some of those muscles in my damn life. By the end of the class, I was exhausted and felt like I just had jumped into a pool with my clothes on.
When the instructor finally thanked us all for our time, I sighed in relief and laid exhausted in my puddle before making my way out of that hot room. I threw my coat, socks and shoes back on and cringed as my wet clothes clung to my body underneath then I stood outside to enjoy the cool air.
Now, It might sound like I disliked the experience, but that’s not really true at all. I had just severely underestimated how easy it would be! Today, as I write this, I have been back multiple times and even purchased a one-month unlimited membership to really get my Yogi on. I find it a great addition to my resistance training and a nice way to combine my meditation practice with some additional exercise. The sense of community is also beneficial in my opinion.
The moral of the story? Make some new friends, male or female, leave your prejudices behind and try something new, even if you aren’t sure that you might like it. You could be surprised!
How do you feel about male-female friendships? How about Yoga?
Let me hear in the comments below! Take care, my friends. ❤