As a yoga teacher there is always a wonderment as to why there are not more men practicing yoga. Based upon my own my practice and how it has changed my life physically, mentally and emotionally I am showing up in the world with a more level-headed perspective and am learning to deal with life’s challenges from a different perspective. When people say to me now, “Will, you are so much calmer then you used to be,” my response is “YOGA.” While it is true that a majority of yoga classes are attended by women of all backgrounds, shapes and sizes, the practice of yoga has begun to attract an increasing number of men from all backgrounds. This movement to join the ranks of practicing yogis is coming from all levels of the fitness world who now realize the benefits of incorporating some form of yoga into their athletic program. Many major sports teams in all fields as well as gyms and workout centers now offer some form of yoga. Contrary to popular belief yoga is not only for the flexible person but beneficial to everyone – a well-established yoga practice go a long way in preventing injuries. There are many more reasons why yoga is a perfect addition to your physical fitness regimen.
With a consistent practice of yoga, looking beyond just the physical benefits, you’ll hone your mental focus, rid your body system of toxins, and maybe even boost your performance in the bedroom. With a consistent practice you’ll even be able to touch your toes and improved flexibility is a bonus for every sport or athletic endeavor. You will improve your physical balance, your mental clarity and focus will increase, you will rid your system of toxins, and perhaps boost your performance in the bedroom.
The bottom-line is that the benefits of creating a regular yoga practice are simple and practical. There is not a great deal special equipment required, just a few square feet of space and a mat. Here is how that extra bit of breathing, stretching and meditation will not only enhance your other fitness programs, but also your life.
Why MEN should practice Yoga.
1. Relieve stress.
Releasing stress is an important benefit to practicing yoga. A key element that is part of a solid yoga practice is a number of relaxation techniques that over time will calm your mind and improve your attitude. As well as training the body, yoga trains the mind to see the bigger picture and act from a place of integrity of not “freaking out”. Pranayama or breathing exercise is used to still and quiet the mind, and to find clarity and focus.
2. Get flexible.
The asanas (physical postures) are many variations of standing, sitting or lying on the floor which usually include one or more spinal twists to loosen the many joints that make up the body. A good yoga sequence will have many elements that will stretch and open-up all areas of the body creating more flexibility thus improving balance and agility.
3. Sculpt muscles.
The practice of yoga uses the weight of your own body to build mass and strength. Seriously! Imagine how many clunky free-weights it takes to bench press your bodyweight (150–200 lbs.) Yoga incorporates the same muscle-building benefits by performing long, extended pushups, squats, and leg lifts. The results are well-worked muscle groups, which get stronger with each class.
4. Prevent workout injuries.
A typical yoga class usually will begin with a reminder to honor your body’s particular needs and limits on that particular day. Doing a quick mental body scan to assess where you are at the start of the practice aids you in guiding your practice so that you minimize the possibility of injury. Listen to what your body is telling you as you practice. Yoga can certainly take you to your edge, however, it should not take you to a place where you will sustain injury. Increased flexibility and well-stretched yoga muscles will help minimize injuries but will aid in quicker healing and recovery5
5. Have better sex.
One way to improve your performance in the bedroom is to translate all those relaxation and breathing techniques from yoga class into better, longer sex. Your strengthened concentration skills will help you focus your mind and better channel your sexual energy, helping to prevent premature ejaculation. This can lead to increased sexual endurance, and will make you far more sensitive and responsive to your partner.
6. Push your limits.
There are many types of yoga classes, from gentle to more demanding but all yoga is geared to incorporate some form of fitness. Broga Yoga is geared specifically toward men and offers a more intense yoga practice. Strong, energetic, and challenging, Broga combines the best core-strengthening, muscle-toning, cardio-working, stress-reducing, clarity-enhancing yoga postures with functional fitness exercises for an amazing workout.
7. Still and Calm your mind.
Let’s face it, in today’s world we are constantly on the go. Imagine in the midst of a jam-packed day, committing to the relaxed space of a yoga class might be the only way to slow down and breathe right. Practicing breathing exercises, called pranayama, have been developed over thousands of years to calm and tame that endless stream of thoughts. When we eliminate the chatter and still the mind it leads to greater concentration as we work our way through our practice —and, in most cases, results in a calmness that lasts the rest of the day.
8. Set the Intention.
As a yoga teacher before we start our practice I ask my students to set an intention for the session or for some other part of their life. The simple act of saying something in your head like, “For the next hour I will be present in this moment and my practice is perfect exactly as it is.” This intention can have a far reaching effect to not only what happens on the mat but what happens off the mat at the end of class. Many of us struggle with deciding what we want and how to get there. Yoga helps clarify the intention and provides a path that is real, tangible, and accessible in everyday life.