You and yoga? You might have heard of the potential benefits that practicing yoga could have, and they might even be true. But what’s the point in stretching and twisting like a wet towel? And isn’t that a “Girls Only” club anyway?
It’s time for a refresher, guys. This ancient method of relaxation, exercise and healing that’s rooted in Indian philosphy and dates back about 5,000 years was originally designed for men.
No, yoga won’t transform you into a super-sensitive, all touchy-feely, less manly man - but get ready for an intense physical and mental journey that will improve your everyday life. So, grab your mat and get ready.
1. Touch your toes, finally
Have you ever asked yourself how it would feel if you could actually touch your toes? We have good news for you: doing yoga could help you reach this goal. Practising yoga not only improves your flexibility, but also increases your range of motion, both of which can help prevent sport injuries. Plus, stretching aids muscle recovery and repair, allowing you to upgrade your workout routine faster and more efficiently.
2. Calm down, man
Whether its performing a sport with a certain goal in mind or sitting in an office with constant distractions around you, or even trying to read a book on the subway, being able to concentrate on a certain task and at the same time be aware of what is going on around you is not easy. And that’s were yoga come in handy. It can help you tame your inner beast and more importantly, enhances your ability to focus. It’s also supposed to help relieve stress and improve your energy levels.
3. Get stronger
Yoga is more than just stretching: the postures (called Asanas) are a series of focused isometric contractions combined with specific breathing techniques that target flexibility, mobility and strength. It not only strengthens your core by engaging it in practically every yoga pose to stabilise your body, it can also count as cardio (at least if you are moving at a steady pace). By using your own weight, you minimise the risk of injuries as your body only moves in a way that it was designed to. If you find a class with the words “power“, “vinyasa“ or “flow“ in it, you can definitely skip the gym that day. For the more adventurous, try out a Bikram Yoga class (sweat for 90 minutes in a 40-degree room). Don’t expect yourself to be super flexible and mobile after you’ve taken your first yoga class though; it takes patience and time, but it will pay off in the long-term.
4. Get leaner and taller
Another benefit that comes from working with your body weight is that it makes your muscles lean and defined, while having a lower impact on your joints than you would have during your regular weight lifting session.
Why real men do yoga
- - Relieve stress and enhance your ability to focus
- Improve your flexibility and your range of motion
- Get strong, lean and fit
- Cleanse your body and live a healthier lifestyle
- Boost your immune system and your general well-being
- Improve your sex life
If you supplement your workout routine with a yoga practice once in a while, you will activate sections of muscles that are usually ignored (for example the serratus anterior, also called “boxer’s muscle”, that is located under your armpit and gets activated while doing the downward dog). As yoga widens your range of motion, it also increases access to more muscle, which leads to a more substantial hypertrophy - and that’s what gets you buff. Sitting in an office all day can lead to horrible posture, whereas a regular yoga practice helps to improve your stance by strengthening the core and lengthening the spine. Another great side effect: having good posture leads to a more self-confident appearance.
5. Get better sleep
The next time you find yourself wide awake at 3am calculating how many hours, minutes and seconds of sacred sleep you have left until you have to get up, stop tossing and turning and start doing yoga. Research shows that a regular practice can relieve insomnia as well as improve your overall sleep quality, efficiency and duration and cures symptoms of fatigue, anxiety and stress. And, as lack of sleep can lead to other health issues such as cardiovascular diseases (high blood pressure and diabetes), depression and obesity, finding effective treatment for insomnia should be high up on your to-do list. Studies have shown that yoga also regulates the stress hormone cortisol that can lead to a weakened immune system if it is imbalanced. Having said that, yoga can help form the basis of a long-term, sustainable lifestyle that helps you have a more profound and longer sleep, as well as a better overall well-being.
6. Get Clean
No, we are not talking about being more hygienic. Yoga is supposed to have a cleansing effect on your body by promoting detoxification and healthy digestion. As you twist and turn during the practice, you massage your inner organs, stimulating your digestive system. It is also said that regular yoga can support a radical change of your lifestyle, as it is supposed to help you in being a more aware and balanced human being. According to some, even the way your body smells changes while you go through those life changes. Whether you believe it or not is up to you - but a little placebo effect every now and then won’t harm anyone.
7. Have a better sex life
As yoga has shown to relieve mental and physical complaints, it may come as no surprise that it can also boost your sexual activity. Studies have shown that yoga can serve as the key to improved sexual function, including desire, arousal, orgasm, and overall statisfaction. And what works for the ladies has positive effects on a man’s romantic lives as well. A regular yoga practice can lead to enhanced mental focus, as well as a more aware and relaxed body. Special breathing techniques [called pranayama] used during practice and various postures that increase the blood flow to certain areas can make you and your partner benefit in the bedroom.