Relax Here: Yoga for Men

If it weren't for all the baby/pre-natal/bring-your-dog classes out there, themed yoga workshops like this weekend's Yoga for Men at Jaya Yoga (1626 Eighth Ave at Windsor Pl, Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-788-8788, might not seem like they're competing, so much as catering to a need. But, hey, it's a big city full of hundreds of studios, and they've got to find their niche somehow.

This men's class used to be taught semi-monthly, but because of scheduling conflicts, has been switched to a workshop format, and will instead be part of a year-long series. Tonight's Shoulder Openers Workshop (5:45--8:15pm; $30, advance $25) is designed to help men "unlock the tight spots" and ultimately get an education on upper body tension relief. Future male-centric workshops will hone in on things like "Hips & Hamstrings" and "Pelvis."

Leading the three-hour session is faculty member Michael Gates, who regularly attended Jaya classes for five years before deciding to get certified as a teacher. Gates infuses his classes with interpolations on anatomy and how to achieve proper spine alignment during the asanas. "He is like a little scientist when he gets into class. He's kind of obsessed with anatomy," explains Carla Stangenberg, Director of Jaya. While we most certainly aren't trying to steal the thunder from women (or babies, or dogs for that matter), it's refreshing to see the world of traditional yoga give some attention to the guys for once. And no, we're not counting hot nude yoga.

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