THE WHOLE MAN Men and Yoga

men-yoga-462A Yoga Journal article Where are the Men says “We still run most of the government and hit the major league home runs, but yoga is a woman’s domain. According to a 2005 Yoga Journal market study, 77 percent of the yoga practitioners in America are female.  It’s not that men don’t know what we’re missing. Nowadays, there seems to be a yoga studio on every corner.

There are social, physical, and emotional realities that discourage men from practicing.

Getting men to identify with yoga has long been a challenge in this country. It doesn’t matter that yoga, since its beginnings in India thousands of years ago, has mainly been taught and studied by men. Restrictive American immigration laws of the early 1900s stunted the spread of Indian culture on these shores, and only a handful of influential yogis arrived here through the decades. One such important teacher was Indra Devi. Russian born and Indian taught, she came to the United States in the 1940s and was championed by none other than celebrity cosmetologist Elizabeth Arden. That name resonated, of course, with the women who gobbled up her products, and Arden encouraged her customers to try yoga. A few years later, teacher Richard Hittleman published yoga books and landed on TV—but always had women perform the poses. Yoga’s next media celebrity was a young instructor named Lilias Folan, who began teaching asanas on public television in the 1970s. Folan had a gentle style that empowered millions of stay-at-home moms to follow right along. By the time Power Yoga emerged in the 1980s and began attracting more men, the mainstream view of the practice had, fairly or not, taken root: Yoga was for housewives.

A guy’s first act of yogic bravery, says the article, “is to introduce himself to the teacher. Find out if the class is appropriate… admit any fears or anxieties.”

Once the line of communication is open, a good instructor will tailor a class for individual students—male or female. Scott Achelis, a 54-year-old general contractor in Walnut Creek, California, began taking classes locally early last year because his back was tweaked from decades of construction work. The key was a positive first experience at the Yoga & Movement Center: a men’s only, one-day workshop held by studio director Diane Valentine. Her agenda? Make it fun, and let guys be guys. “It was unthreatening,” Achelis says. “We were all stretching and making off-color jokes.”

Men, it seems, are naturally tight. Boys and girls may be born equally limber, with an ability to comfortably put their feet behind their heads. But by adolescence, boys generally lose flexibility faster than girls, and as boys become men, the differences in flexibility tend to grow. Researchers have noted this gap, although they can’t specifically link it to differences in hormones, musculature, or connective tissue. “It’s hard to attribute to any one thing,” says Lynn Millar, a professor of physical therapy at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan.

Whatever is to blame, the typical man’s pursuits and lifestyle, from sitting at a desk all day to grabbing beers after a twilight softball game, put little importance on flexibility.

These are brain cells that receive signals from another person and trigger similar reactions in the observer. Watching someone cry, for example, might more easily cause you to cry. While mirror neurons often detect emotions, they also help an observer match posture and breathing. “You use mirror neurons to watch and imitate your yoga instructor,” says Louann Brizendine, a neuropsychiatrist at the University of California at San Francisco and the author of The Female Brain.

For men…the catch is that they don’t respond as well as women to such transmitted signals. Scientists are still speculating whether women have more of such cells, or just more active ones. Either way, the neurons don’t inherently make women superior jocks, since men may have been born or raised with other athletic advantages. But because females’ mirror neurons are more easily activated,” Brizendine says, “on average, women can mimic better than men.

Fortunately, men can raise the performance of their mirror neurons if they consistently employ them. But until then, men enter the yoga studio at a disadvantage. New poses will be harder for them to get right. “The instructors need to be more patient with the male students,” Brizendine says. “They have to perform more demonstrations for them.”

Yoga not only exercises the body, it improves mental clarity and provides a centering and relaxing focus that can be taken away from class.

Learn more about this article here.

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ENTERTAINMENT Pet Shop Boys

Ovpetshopboyser 25 years after the release of their worldwide hit ‘West End Girls’, Pet Shop Boys return in grand style, setting the record for the most number 1’s on Billboard Magazine’s Dance/Club chart among groups with ‘Love Etc.’ the first single off their acclaimed album Yes. It’s the ninth time the band has hit the top spot, vaunting over fellow electro-pop veterans Depeche Mode. Yes, the band’s first album on Astralwerks and tenth album overall, debuted at an impressive No. 32 on the Billboard 200, achieving the act’s highest position on that chart since 1993’s Very debuted at No. 20.

Earlier this year the duo performed at the Brit Awards, sharing the stage with admirers Lady Gaga and Brandon Flowers (The Killers), and receiving an outstanding contribution to music award. The band will be bringing their celebrated stage show to the states this September. Dubbed the ‘Pandemonium’ tour, the dates will be filled with wild surprises and extravagant fun, in which ‘every night is Friday night’ according to Pet Shop Boys keyboardist Chris Lowe. A recent poster contest for the tour garnered nearly 700 entries.

The London Financial Times have noted that Pet Shop Boys ‘pride themselves on mounting artful visual spectaculars: previous tours were co-designed with the likes of Derek Jarman, Zaha Hadid and Sam Taylor-Wood.’ And in the words of the Guardian UK, ‘this extraordinary show both consolidates and extends the Pet Shop Boys’ multifaceted appeal…It’s an art gallery, musical, gay disco and pop concert in one…This show is a triumph of staging and pop’s ability to entertain, move and subvert.’

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OUTINGS: Gay Camping

Camping was popular with gay folks long before it became “staycation” chic. Yet again trailblazing, in more ways than one! You can do it in a tent, or in a cabin or even in a trailer. However you do it, camping can be very gay.

GAY ADVENTURE CLUBS

You don’t have to go to a gay place for gay camping. You can just be with gay friends! Being outdoors is so much fun with family you love.


Florida Great Outdoors is “a social, recreational and educational membership organization that offers outings mostly in Florida that are specifically designed for active individuals that are comfortable with same sex relationships.” This group goes camping in places like Canaveral National Seashore (which does actually have a stunning nude beach nearby) as well as Long Pine Key in the Everglades Nat’l Park and Jonathan Dickinson State Park, which features diving and snorkeling trails.

Would you like to canoe down the Suwanee River or through Ichetucknee Springs State Park? Maybe just go for a walk in the Everglades National Park. Or a park near you! You can find activities all over in the Gay Outdoors Calendar and a list of outdoorsy organizations including but not limited to gay in the Open Directory.

CAMP GAY USA

Camp Gay USA also has a list of camping clubs and adventure opportunities.
This site lists all the known gay campgrounds and gay friendly camping facilities in one directory “to make it easier for gays to find campgrounds where they can be comfortable and meet other gay campers. A feeling of safety is offered at gay camping resorts because at these campgrounds gay and lesbian campers can be themselves. This site supports and encourages the growth of gay camping and promotes gay owned, gay operated and gay friendly camping facilities.”

Unlike many of the links to follow, this site is a labor of love and your best resource by far. The webmaster is an avid gay camper, has owned a camping resort since college, has served as past president of a state campground owners association.

The web site includes a directory of gay campgrounds and gay friendly camping resorts, for gay and lesbian campers and a directory of the gay camping clubs across the USA. There is also a directory of gays and lesbians with a suitable site at their home or cottage and would like to host fellow gay and lesbian campers in their travels.

See Gay City Campgrounds for more gay campground guide information, as well as Gay Campground Listing and International Gay Campgrounds.

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POLITICS Human Rights Campaign

HRC LogoThe Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, HRC envisions an America where LGBT people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.  Founded in 1980, HRC promotes “fairness for LGBT Americans.  HRC’s board has long been one of the top forces behind the organization’s success. The Human Rights Campaign’s staff works to ensure progress toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality.

<!– Contribute to Candidates Links –>HRC also invests in the campaigns of political candidates who will support pro-equality legislation when they arrive in their new offices.  Find out about HRC’s work at their website: hrc.org

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CULTURE Queer Cartoonist

soldier
“Combatting bigotry the gayest way I know how,”   says Mark in Canada, who posts cartoons on his blog three times a week.

Funny  and political, visit Slap Upside the Head to learn about anti-gay propaganda and how to combat it. Slap has been featured in The National Post, Vancouver Sun, Montréal Gazette, and Calgary’s Swerve Magazine—the latter featuring an original Slap illustration as the cover. Slap was also a regular feature in London, England’s Qwer magazine during its run.

non-religious-violation

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CULTURE Demosthenes

Demosthenes_bust-_r280_BC.2jpgDemosthenes (384–322 BC) was a prominent Greek statesman and orator of ancient Athens. He overcame personal challenges and political attacks regarding his relationship with young men and is remembered as one of the greatest logographers of all time.

“If you feel bound to act in the spirit of that dignity, whenever you come into court to give judgement on public causes, you must bethink yourselves that with his staff and his badge every one of you receives in trust the ancient pride of Athens.”
Demosthenes

Demosthenes made his living as a professional speech-writer (logographer) and a lawyer, writing speeches for use in private legal suits.  During the 4th century  BC Demosthenes learned rhetoric by studying the speeches of  previous great orators. He delivered his first judicial  speeches at the age of 20, in which he argued effectively to  gain from his guardians what was left of his inheritance.

According to Plutarch, he had a weakness in his voice of “a perplexed and indistinct utterance and a shortness of breath, which, by breaking and disjointing his sentences much obscured the sense and meaning of what he spoke.”Demosthenes soon undertook a disciplined program to overcome these shortcomings and improve his locution. He worked on his diction, his voice and his gestures.  His zeal and perseverance have passed into proverb.

According to Longinus, Demosthenes “perfected to the utmost the tone of lofty speech, living passions, copiousness, readiness, speed”.  Cicero acclaimed him as “the perfect orator” who lacked nothing, and Quintilian extolled him as lex orandi (“the standard of oratory”) and that inter omnes unus excellat (“he stands alone among all the orators”)

Demosthenes played a leading part in his city’s uprising against the new King of Macedon, Alexander the Great. However, his efforts failed and Alexander’s successorsent his men to track Demosthenes down. Demosthenes took his own life to avoid being caught.

His political rivals accused Demothenes of several sexual scandals involving younger men living at his house. “There is a certain Aristion, a Plataean…, who as a youth was outstandingly good-looking and lived for a long time in Demosthenes’ house. Allegations about the part he was playing (‘undergoing or doing what’) there vary, and it would be most unseemly for me to talk about it.”  It was also said Demosthenes put his wife in bed with the youthful Cnosion  so as to get children by him. Others claimedg that his wife bedded the boy in a fit of jealousy.

Despite the attacks and his own personal weaknesses, Demosthenes has been remembered and honored as a talented orator and writer throughout the ages.

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ENTERTAINMENT My Fair Son

280696_aaFrom ground breaking gay Chinese film maker Cui Zi’en (Feeding Boys, Ayaya, Star Appeal) comes a tender and touching tale about a father and son trying to reconcile their separate lives. Ray, a tall, thin and handsome young man returns to live with his father after having grown up with grandfather. He is angry and disconnected over his father’s middle class life style and hard line ways. Ray enrolls in art school where he makes a new friends and starts a relationship with a another student. One morning, Dad discovers the two young men naked in bed and, after being surprised, must begin to understand his own feelings toward homosexuality. Then Ray meets Bo, one of his dad’s top employees. From the start, sparks fly and Ray falls in love. But Bo is to be married, how will the two connect and what will Ray’s father think? Brilliantly shot, this art house film shows gay life in China in a different light than ever before. Written and Directed by Cui Zi’en Produced by Liu Shujing and Wang Weiming Featuring: Wang Junrui, Wang Weiming, Yu Bo, Wang Guifeng and Li Ziqiang China/2007/92 Mins./Color/Chinese w/English subtitles

Click here to purchase movies from MC Film Festival

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Bulge of Steel

jla3aWhen did they start giving Superman a bulge in his red briefs?
See for yourself on this website that shares an image from the classic comic books.  See how the ultimate hero has changed over the years and how different artists have emphasized different aspects.

Somewhere along the way it seems they decided to make him just a bit more “manly” in the shorts, which makes sense as the rest of his muscles show so clearly through that tight blue suit.  Except for the undies, he might as well be naked!

superman26-2

Get your Man of Steel on Daily Basis at the Daily Superman blog.

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EDITORIAL What Makes a Man?

beadultSays Wikipedia,

“The term adult has three distinct meanings:

* Grown man or woman; mature person.
* Plant or animal that has reached full growth.
* One who is legally of age. Opposed to minor.

Adulthood can be defined in terms of biology, psychological adult development, law, personal character, or social status. These different aspects of adulthood are often inconsistent and contradictory. A person may be biologically an adult, and have adult behavioral characteristics but still be treated as a child if they are under the legal age of majority. Conversely one may legally be an adult but possess none of the maturity and responsibility that define adult character.

Coming of age is the event; passing a series of tests to demonstrate the child is prepared for adulthood; or reaching a specified age, sometimes in conjunction with demonstrating preparation. Most modern societies determine legal adulthood based on reaching a legally-specified age without requiring a demonstration of physical maturity or preparation for adulthood.”

Indeed, we are required to allow nobody under 18 in our club, for that is the boundary set by the credit card company and laws. “The legal definition of entering adulthood usually varies between ages 15–21, depending on the region in question. Some cultures in Africa define adult at age 13.

According to Jewish tradition, adulthood is reached at age 13 (the age of the Bar Mitzvah), for Jewish boys, for example, were expected to demonstrate preparation for adulthood by learning the Torah and other Jewish practices. The Christian Bible and Jewish scripture has no age requirement for adulthood or marrying, which includes engaging in sexual activity. According to The Disappearance of Childhood by Neil Postman, the Christian Church of the Middle Ages considered the age of accountability, when a person could be tried and even executed as an adult, to be age 7.
In most of the world, including the United States, the United Kingdom and China, the legal adult age is 18, with some exceptions.”

Culturally speaking, there is no official “coming of age” experience in the modern world, but a series of small indices of maturity. Drinking, driving … sex! These are the primary benchmarks popularized in the twentieth century. But these are simply external activities, events in life rather than actual personal maturity. Anybody can stick their penis in a hole. But does that make them an adult?
Regulation of penis-poking ensues as age restrictions penalize pokers who do not observe calendrical prohibitions. So, regardless of individual adulthood, a year (18) is chosen as a catch-all. If you are not adult yet, too bad. Society says you must be, so here you go. Ready or not!

What, then, if not hormonal capabilities or annual attainment, are the true indices of maturity?

“There are some qualities that symbolize adultness in most cultures. Not always is there a concordance between the qualities and the physical age of the person.
The adult character comprises:

* Self-control – restraint, emotional control.
* Stability – stable personality, strength.
* Independence – ability to self-regulate.
* Seriousness – ability to deal with life in a serious manner.
* Responsibility – accountability, commitment and reliability.
* Method/Tact – ability to think ahead and plan for the future, patience.
* Endurance – ability and willingness to cope with difficulties that present themselves.
* Experience – breadth of mind, understanding.
* Objectivity – perspective and realism.”

Men4Men.com® is for adults who seek more than just a relationship based on sexual encounters, grown men who prefer to make friends first and grope later, men who are not into tricks, games and juvenile decision making.
Other sites may encourage dangerous behavior: we question it. And we ask you to tell us what makes a man all grown up to you? Send your comments and tell us what characteristics you look for (or look out for) in the men at men4Men.com®

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POLITICS Marriage Map

Keep an eye on the map and see what states in the USA allow gays to marry:

800px-Samesex_marriage_in_USA

If you think the Yanks are in disagreement on this subject, worldwide feelings vary even more.

800px-World_homosexuality_laws

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