According to experts, it is assumed that men often avoid yoga for a few different reasons:
All of these reasons can be nipped in the bud with general knowledge about the wonderful effects of regularly practising yoga.
Fact: There are many levels and styles of yoga and, by design, yoga is intended to help in more than just physical ways. It is a practice that is unique to each individual, meeting them where they are, and evolving as they do. It's not just about bending and flexing; it's about the whole person.
Fact: Yoga helps improve our health in more ways that a rigorous gym workout can. The Yoga Alliance reports that those who practice yoga improve areas such as:
The truth is, yoga works out specific muscle groups in direct ways while also focusing on the whole person. It also includes some super athletic poses that challenge even the strongest individuals. So while free-lifting weights and doing squats might strengthen your muscles, yoga offers strengthening to more than just muscles; it is core-body strengthening combined with balance, focus, and centeredness that will cause you to sweat just as much as a gym workout.
Fact: Yoga is a very personal experience and everyone is unique. A qualified yoga practitioner is one that you can talk to and ask questions about how it works, what you will gain from it, and what to expect. For some, a few one-on-one sessions might be ideal to get a foothold while others might benefit in a group class. Regardless, everyone has their own mat and they're not likely to be traipsing on yours as you stretch and bend.
Fact: Yoga is something you live, rather than just something you do. When people become bored while doing yogic exercises, chances are they are in the Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose) thinking about the office or remembering they need to pick up some milk before heading home. Yoga is immersive; it's all about being present, in the moment, emptying the mind of outside stressors and being fully with oneself.
Still not convinced? Here are four reasons why men should begin to look at yoga differently and make it a part of their lives.
Yoga involves using your muscles to support your body weight, resulting in higher endurance and stronger muscles. Since you typically hold poses for several minutes, it increases the endurance of each of these muscles.
Yoga is a mind-body practice that has been shown to lower blood pressure and heart rate, reducing stress. Getting out of the rigors of daily life to get into your own self, is a highly effective way to reduce stress and rejuvenate yourself.
Men are often stressed and one of the many benefits of yoga is learning different methods of breathing, focusing, and staying attuned to our minds and bodies. Yoga serves men by providing the knowledge of how to stay attuned to themselves so they can carry breathing and centering techniques with them whether they are at the office or the mall.
Believe it or not, yes, yoga contributes to better sexual functioning. Stress and anxiety have been found to result in a phenomenon known as psychological impotence. Since yoga helps reduce anxiety and stress while also improving muscle strength and endurance, it stands to reason that yoga can greatly benefit your sex life.
So forget about the things you thought you knew about yoga. Instead, find the right studio for you, ask questions, and begin practising so you can become one of the millions of men who have decided to take advantage of the many benefits of yoga in their lives.
Photo Credit: Allaoua Gaham