In western cultures, there is a common perception that yoga is designed for women and subsequently the large majority of yoga classes are filled with the female of the species. However, many of the yoga pioneers from eastern cultures are men. There are also a growing number of men in the west who are showing an interest in yoga, particularly in dynamic capital cities where people are faced with stressful working conditions.
Yoga for men
Do you know that yoga can help you relieve stress, improve your focus, prevent injuries in your other sports and, help your sexual performance?
The full benefits of yoga for men are somewhat not really talked about, particularly amongst other men. Many men are also fearful to take the first steps of joining a class, where they expect to be the only male there. This of course is a possibility, however this shouldn’t hold you back from giving it a go.
Here are 7 great reasons why men should be joining the already enthusiastic population of women who practice yoga and reap the physical and mental rewards.
7 great benefits of yoga for men
(1) Muscle definition
Many yoga postures focus on supporting your own body weight, which, depending on how many stones and pounds you weigh, can give lifting weights in the gym a run for it’s money!
Postures similar to extended pushups, squats and leg lifts are some of the basic moves in yoga that build muscle definition. This is not to mention more complex postures once experience is gained.
Yoga works a full range of muscle groups in each class, although, as you progress it is possible to tweak your own practice to focus on specific body areas, if you so choose.
(2) Improve flexibility
Most yoga poses have a focus on, slowly but surely, improving flexibility. Men don’t usually prioritise improving flexibility over increasing strength and endurance. However, when it comes to other sports such as golf, tennis, badminton and even football, flexibility can certainly be a bonus.
Within a short space of time practicing certain yoga stretches, men find they can touch their toes and have a much wider range of movement.
(3) Relieve stress and anxiety
Whilst many men like to think they are handling their excessive working hours and the other stresses life brings, quite often this isn’t truly the case.
Hitting the gym can be great to release those endorphins, however, it can also leave you feeling over-stimulated and on an adrenaline high.
Yoga, particularly Bikram yoga can provide the same energised feeling following a class. However, relaxation techniques used in most types of yoga are known for leaving you feeling calm, peaceful, aware and centred. This can really help to fend of stress and anxiety.
(4) Better sexual performance
Yes, it’s true! Yoga has many attributes that continue to better sex, for you and for your partner.
The increased flexibility and physical endurance certainly won’t do any harm in the bedroom. Mental endurance is also tried and tested in yoga, which experts say can help to prolong sex and channel your sexual energy.
(5) Prevent injuries in other sports
If you participate in other sports, or work hard in the gym, and regularly find yourself with pulled and aching muscles you can’t perform your best. Yoga for men helps many to prevent injury from thorough stretching and having more flexible muscles.
The way of yoga also teaches you to honour your body and be aware of how it is feeling today, right now.
This can help many men in other sports by not over-doing it, just to keep up with the programme.
(6) Setting and achieving goals in life
Yoga for men is one of those tasks that takes concentration, but also results are achieved reasonably quickly with a little dedication.
Taking the challenge of deeper stretches, longer poses and more difficult postures can help when applying to the decisions faced in daily life. This isn’t to say this is unique to men, however, men tend to want to believe they have their life plans in their own hands and don’t talk about the aspects of their life they are facing right now.
Some yoga teachers work with their students to implement a life goal. This can be focused on by repeating mantras or just through a positive mindset.
(7) Detoxify, cleanse (and even smell better!)
Some types of yoga are vigorous and you will find that it is possible to build up quite a sweat!
Also, many yoga poses and routines squeeze internal organs, wringing out like a sponge toxins and waste products, further adding to a full-body detox and internal cleanse.
This in turn is reported by experts to have a direct effect on your natural body smell – so, for sweeter smelling sweat it looks like yoga for men is the answer – hit that mat!