Yoga’s Growing Popularity Among Men Reveals Multiple Benefits
Yoga has been popular among women for years, but now men are realizing just how beneficial it can be to them. For over 5,000 years, yoga has been a part of civilization. Originally designed as a religious ritual, the practice has evolved into many different forms. Certain sects still practice yoga for religious reasons, working toward enlightenment. Most mainstream practitioners in the western world practice yoga for its relaxation and physical benefits. The practice turns off many men who believe it is too new age-y or not a masculine pursuit. The truth is, the practice is becoming popular with professional athletes and trainers across the country.
The Growth Of Male Yoga Practitioners
The stereotype of feminine or hippie yogis has been a cultural cliché for years, with popular social media posts mocking the practice. The often humorous, yet inaccurate, portrayals have turned off many men who otherwise would have considered the activity. Men often believe yoga is a “girly” activity, choosing instead to focus on football, basketball, or weightlifting. While each of these sports has its own merits, men shouldn’t overlook yoga.
Numerous professional athletes have taken up yoga to improve performance and reduce the chance for injury. Additionally, the practice reduces stress and increases mindfulness, which are helpful for ultra-focused professional athletes. Mental health and addictions counselors have also found yoga to be an effective holistic addiction treatment. The practice increases mindfulness and helps those suffering from addiction become more in tune with their bodies.
Benefits Of Yoga For Men
Every able-bodied man can reap the benefits of a daily yoga practice. There are many styles of yoga to choose from, but each type will have a few similar benefits. Stress management, breathing techniques, and overall improved cognitive processes are all side effects of a regular yoga routine. Many men have also found the practice enhances sexual stamina and endurance.
Many men are not concerned with flexibility, although it is an important aspect of health. In athletes, flexibility can reduce the chance of injury and increase physical performance. The gradual movements in yoga can help improve posture, range of motion, and balance. After performing a regular yoga routine, some men have found their other sports benefit from the increased flexibility. For example, increased shoulder flexibility improves bench press performance.
Improved Quality of Sleep
Suffering from insomnia? Give yoga a try. The exercise works to reduce the stress hormone cortisol, reducing anxiety and rigidity. The activity will release tension throughout the body, placing it into a more relaxed state throughout the day. Additionally, the meditative breathing exercises performed during yoga work to slow heartbeat and breathing. The overall state of relaxation will improve sleep after your first class.
There are professional weightlifters who leave yoga classes worn out and sore the next day. This is because the practice utilizes muscles not commonly touched during other activities. Practicing power yoga styles will build core muscle and limb strength, creating a stronger physique. Higher-intensity yoga styles such as Vinyasa and Ashtanga can provide strength building and cardio, all in one class. These classes provide continuous movement, with little resting time. You will be sweating as if you ran three miles after one of these classes.
Present Moment Awareness
Yoga is an exercise that requires present moment awareness and concentration. The practice requires you to move through a sequence of motions while concentrating on breathing. Each yoga style requires mindfulness mediation, whether you are relaxing or building up a sweat. Classes such as Hatha or Restorative yoga move slowly, concentrating on breathing and holding poses. These styles require consistent present moment awareness. Each time your mind wanders, you must bring it back to focus on breath and posture. For men suffering from extreme stress or struggling with addiction, the concentration levels can develop useful skills for outside the yoga classroom.
Before You Go To Your First Yoga Class
Many men are willing to try yoga but find attending that first class intimidating. It’s important for all newcomers to realize you are there to learn. Every other student in yoga class started from the beginning and will not criticize you for your lack of knowledge. In fact, yoga classes are a place for camaraderie, and there won’t be anyone passing judgment. It’s also a good idea to watch a few instructional yoga videos at home before class. You can participate in the instruction or simply watch to understand what the in-person class will involve.
You should consider a few useful tips before your first yoga class. First, buy a yoga mat. You can find mats in sporting goods stores in a variety of colors and prices to suit your needs. Yoga studios will provide mats during class if you don’t want to buy one, but you can’t always count on the mats to be clean. Second, wear comfortable but form-fitting clothes. The outfit doesn’t need to be tight, but many poses will have you in complex positions. Loose clothing can be an inconvenience when it falls around your face in upside-down poses.
Daily Yoga Routines To Improve Men’s Overall Health
Yoga offers multiple science-backed benefits to daily practice. Men who participate in yoga on a regular basis will see a reduction in stress, increase in overall strength, improvements in sleep, and will be more mindful in everyday life. If you are a man suffering from addiction, an athlete, or would simply like to expand your workouts, yoga is a wonderful option. If you are simply too shy or do not care for public classes, consider watching free online instructional videos. These can be just as helpful as classes taught by instructors. Whatever your physical or mental needs, yoga has a solution for you.
Reflections Recovery Center is a holistic recovery center for men, located in the beautiful town of Prescott, Arizona. To find out more, check out their blog.