While some people see yoga as a women’s only activity, that couldn’t be further from the truth! Today, men all over the world are using yoga to benefit their physical and emotional health. Instead of wearing a yoga bra and skin-tight leggings, men can choose from a variety of men’s yoga clothes. In this article, we explore yoga for men in more detail.
First things first, let’s discuss what you’ll need to get started. Whether you’re planning to attend a studio class or practice at home, there are a few things you’ll need before you can begin. One of the most important accessories is a yoga mat. While some studios offer communal mats, many yogis prefer to bring their own. Having your own mat will ensure you don’t miss out if there aren’t enough communal mats to go around. The next thing to think about is your clothing. Most men wear sweatpants or yoga shorts whilst they practice. While any pair of shorts will do, good-quality yoga shorts won’t ride up too high or fall down as you move. You should also keep movement in mind when choosing a t-shirt. If you want to stay covered during the session, opt for a longer top that doesn’t move too much as you exercise.
Yoga has a variety of great benefits for both men and women alike. Below, we explore some of them further.
In the busyness of modern life, heightened stress levels are not uncommon. If left untreated, this can eventually lead to burn out and begin to affect your day to day life. Thankfully, regular yoga practice can decrease your stress levels and help you unwind after a busy day.
While weight training certainly has its benefits, yoga is also a great way to increase your strength. Known as ‘body weight training’, yoga builds strength by using your bodyweight as resistance. Not only does this limit the equipment you’ll need, but it also provides a balanced workout instead of focussing on a single area. At the gym, most machines target one set of muscles. Although this may build strength quicker, it can make you appear out-of-proportion if you’re not careful. With yoga, you don’t have to worry about this. Engaging multiple muscle groups at once, yoga provides an all over body work out that will leave you feeling and looking great.
Bodyweight training also helps the muscles to become leaner and more defined. Unlike a gym workout, this type of training doesn’t place excessive stress on your joints. As yoga engages muscles that are usually ignored, you can become leaner in areas that you couldn’t with a gym workout. Additionally, yoga lengthens the spine and teaches correct posture. Over time, this can improve your natural stance and make you appear taller.
Research suggests that yoga can improve a range of sexual functions including desire, arousal, and overall satisfaction. Additionally, the practice can improve your mental focus and encourage you to become more relaxed and aware. This means that you can stay ‘in the moment’ for longer, enhancing the experience for both yourself and your partner.
Many men experience tight muscles throughout the torso. Thankfully, Bridge Pose can relieve this tension. To practice, lay on your back with your knees bent and the soles of your feet on the mat. Relax your arms and let them drop carefully to the sides of your body. Tuck your chin into your chest and lift your buttocks and back off the floor to create a bridge. You are in Bridge Pose. Hold for 15 seconds before lowering your back and buttocks back down to the mat.
Reclining Big Toe Pose relieves tension and balance the nervous system. To practice the posture, start by lying flat on your back. Slowly bend both knees and place the soles of your feet on the mat. Next, lift your right leg off the mat and draw your knee into your chest. If necessary, you can use your hands to draw your knee in. Slowly straighten your left leg and rest it down on the mat. Using your fingertips, gently grip the toes of your right foot. If possible, try to straighten your right leg. If your leg doesn’t straighten all the way – don’t panic! As long as you can feel a stretch through your ankle and calf, the posture is doing its job. You are in Reclining Big Toe Pose. Hold the position for 30 seconds before switching sides.
Helping to shift abdominal fat, Chair Pose is a firm favourite of many men. Additionally, the asana works to strengthen both the thighs and the legs. To practice Chair Pose, stand tall with your big toes touching. Taking a deep breath in, raise your arms above your head and point your fingertips toward the ceiling. Draw both your shoulders back as you lengthen your neck. As you exhale, bend your knees and begin to lower your bottom down and back, much like you would when sitting on a chair. During the pose, try not to let your knees extend past your toes. Each time you inhale, lengthen your spine a little more. With each exhale, deepen the stretch by lowering your bottom further toward the floor. You are in Chair Pose. For best results, keep your abdominal muscles engaged and your thighs touching throughout. Hold the posture for 30 seconds whilst breathing deeply.
Whether you’re hoping to increase your strength, decrease your stress, or improve your sex life, regular yoga practice can help you to achieve your goals. Before getting started, make sure you’ve got the right gear. A good-quality yoga mat will support your body during the session and help you to avoid injury.