Is Women's Yoga Sexist?

Dec 6, 2011 | Anatomy, Health, Yoga practices | 3 comments

- is women's yoga sexist?

Ardha Chandrasana

When I was first learning yoga in the 70’s, it was the time of women’s lib and the sexual revolution. Many women wanted equality in every way with men, especially in terms of job opportunities and income. In the way I was originally taught yoga, there was no real distinction between the asanas a man and a woman might do in class. I was shocked the first time I attended the Iyengar Institute in Poona in 1984 that some of the classes were men-only and women-only. It seemed like such a backwards approach to this westernised girl. However, I trusted that the Iyengar family knew what they were doing, and I discovered I enjoyed the feminine atmosphere of the “ladies’ classes”. Gita Iyengar has had a powerful influence in promoting a subset of practices she has especially created for women through their menstrual cycles, pregnancy, postpartum, and menopause, and post-menopause. Her book, Yoga: A Gem for Women, is a classic, and has spun off many specialised women’s yoga tomes. We are fortunate to have had her fine teaching and training of many teachers. Women have a different physiology and physique, and produce different hormones from a man. Now that I have been through several women’s stages in my life, it makes sense to me to do women’s yoga, when necessary. Woman’s biology dictates who we are in the world and by extension the kind of yoga we do in our various seasons. Interestingly, I have now started to hear more about men’s yoga classes and men’s retreats occurring.



  1. Loved this one Eve. You are on a roll. Lovely to hear your perspective on women’s yoga and to embrace the possibilities.

  2. Have you seen “Yogawoman” Eve? Supports this post completely!

    • No, I haven’t seen it yet, but I’ve heard great things….


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