Yo-guys: Real men do the downward dog

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Reformed hellraiser Colin Farrell previously revealed how hitting the mat helped him turn his life — and looks — around.

“It’s made a big difference to my life” the 42-year-old fan of hot yoga told Access Hollywood. “It takes you out of your head for a while and puts you back in your body.”

With other celebrity poster boys including Michael Fassbender and Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine, for others, the discipline — which dates back more than 5,000 years — could be as much about cultivating a six pack as cultivating inner peace.

Although still outnumbered two to one in many of her classes, yoga instructor Lydia Sasse says Irish men are slowly warming up to the idea of bending it like Beckham — who, incidentally, is also a huge fan of the activity.

“Twenty years ago, the aesthetic ideal for a man was that very big, brawny, Arnold Schwarzenegger kind of look,” explains the Dublin-based founder of Yoga with Lydia.

“People were looking to guys who could lift huge weights.

“Now the aesthetic is more lean, with defined muscle groups, and you just can’t get that if you only do gym work.

“When you see someone with very defined biceps or triceps, or a really defined six-pack or legs, chances are they’re into yoga. It’s no different for men as women.

What yoga doesn’t do is give you really big, thick muscles because it’s all bodyweight exercises — you’re not using any external weights.

“When I started teaching yoga two years ago, it would have been almost entirely women,” says Sasse, who teaches Hatha yoga, among other styles, at venues throughout the capital.

“Since then, the number of men has slowly increased.

“Usually, they come along either because they do a lot of cycling or they do a lot of football, and their hamstrings are really tight or they’re tearing groin muscles because they’re not stretching enough.

“Once they come to a class, they realise it’s a real challenge — it’s not just people sitting around deep breathing. Then they get hooked because there are so many other wellness benefits.”

Stateside, while men are still in the minority in the ashram, they’re gradually getting more Yin-to it. In the four years from 2012 to 2016, the number of male practitioners rose by almost a tenth, up from 17.8% to 28%, a Yoga in America study found.

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