When it comes to yoga, men often shrug off the practice and assume that it’s a “girls only” exercise. However, this couldn’t be less true. The holistic practice is just as beneficial for men and it is for women; in fact, the ancient method of relaxation and exercise was originally designed for men. Dating back almost 5,000 years, yoga stems from Indian philosophy and is designed to improve your everyday life. In this article, we explore exactly why men should do yoga. If you’re ready for an intense mental and physical journey, grab your men’s yoga gear and get ready to begin.
Whether you’re hoping to attend a local class or practice independently, there are a few things you need before you begin. One of the most crucial accessories is a yoga mat. Although some studios provide communal mats, it’s better to bring your own just in case there aren’t enough to go around. The next thing to think about is your clothing. While women wear yoga pants, most men prefer to wear shorts when exercising. While any pair of shorts will do, good-quality yoga shorts won’t ride up too high. This means you can practice with peace of mind that you’ll remain covered – even in advanced postures! It’s important to keep your movement in mind when choosing a t-shirt, too. Wearing a longer top that doesn’t move too much will keep you covered as you exercise. The final thing you need before beginning is an open mind. If you go into the session with a willingness to be humbled, you’re sure to reap the benefits of the practice.
One of the many benefits of yoga is decreased stress levels. In the hustle of modern life, it’s not unusual to suffer from heightened stress levels. If left untreated, this can eventually lead to burnout and start to affect your day to day life. Thankfully, this can be prevented through regular yoga practice. Better still, the practice can be used anytime, anywhere. Through pranayama, we can calm the body and mind without attracting attention; this makes it easier than ever to practice on the train, bus, or even in the office. If you’re feeling tense before a big meeting, take time to perform a deep breathing exercise. After a few minutes, you’ll be able to walk into the meeting feeling cool, calm, and collected.
Although weight training has its benefits, many men prefer to use yoga to increase their strength. Known as ‘body weight training’, yoga builds strength by using your body weight as resistance. Not only does this limit the equipment needed, but it also provides a balanced workout instead of focussing on a single area. At the gym, most machines build strength in a single area of the body. Although this may build your muscles quicker, it can make you appear out of proportion if you’re not careful. Yoga, on the other hand, provides an all-over workout by engaging multiple muscle groups at once. By using your body weight, you minimize the risk of injury as your body only moves in the way it was designed to.
Another great thing about bodyweight training is that your muscles become leaner and more defined, without placing excessive stress on your joints. As yoga targets muscles that are usually ignored, you can become leaner in areas that you couldn’t with a regular workout. Additionally, yoga lengthens the spine and teaches correct posture. Over time, this can improve your natural stance and make you appear taller. Additionally, good posture can make you appear more confident in day to day life.
Practicing yoga regularly can also help you to sleep better. Not only can the practice help you to drift off, it can also improve the quality of your sleep so you wake to feel refreshed and revitalized. As the quality, efficiency, and duration of your sleep improve, you can find relief from various health issues including fatigue, stress, and anxiety. Research has shown that regular practice also regulates cortisol, the naturally occurring stress hormone. As an imbalance of cortisol can weaken the immune system, regular yoga practice can also improve your overall health.
Helping to relieve mental and physical complaints, regular yoga practice can improve your sex life. According to research, yoga can improve a range of sexual functions including arousal, desire, and overall satisfaction. Additionally, the holistic practice can lead to higher mental focus and a more relaxed and aware body. This means that you can stay ‘in the moment’ for that bit longer, enhancing the experience for both you and your partner. Pranayama can even be used during intercourse to increase blood flow to certain areas of the body. When used correctly, this can improve stamina and heighten sensation for men and women alike.
Another reason that men use yoga is to detox the body. Studies suggest that it has a cleansing effect on the body by encouraging detoxification and healthy digestion. As you move into certain postures, the movement massages your organs and stimulates the digestive system. With this in mind, the practice can benefit digestive issues including IBS, IBD, and Crohn’s Disease. If you’re hoping to detox your body, practice yoga in a heated studio from time to time. As you sweat, toxins will leave the body through your pores and leave you feeling healthy and refreshed. During a hot yoga class, it’s important to replace the fluid lost through your sweat. Topping up on H2O before and after your session should prevent dehydration.
Providing a range of physical and mental benefits, yoga can be practiced by everybody. If you’re hoping to become calmer, stronger, or even taller, pull on your man yoga shorts and head to your local class.