I know what you’re thinking: another article about why more men should do yoga.
But listen up, guys, because it’s time to get real. Below are seven hardcore facts to support incorporating a solid yoga practice into your life. After all, one man’s loss is another man’s gain—and it’s time for more gains, bruh.
Excuses, excuses, excuses
Before we get down to the solution, let’s address the problem. I have heard all the excuses dudes give for not doing yoga. And for the fun of it, here are the top five.
1. Yoga is for chicks.
Yes, most yoga classes are filled with women, but I’m curious as to how many guys would complain about that. The notion that yoga is for women is a strange misconception, considering yoga was originally designed for men. Women were not allowed to practice until the early 20th century.
2. I’m not flexible enough.
Developing flexibility is exactly the reason you go to yoga. It’s a practice that you build into. You didn’t start bench-pressing 300 pounds the first time you went to the gym, and I’m sure you didn’t start with the excuse, “I’m not strong enough.”
Yoga improves muscle length and endurance of muscle tissue, while increasing joint mobility. More mobility means more gains, bruh.
3. Yoga is too easy.
I thought the same thing: Why would I pay for a stretching class when I stretch everyday? That was my excuse. When I took my first class, however, it was not easy, as I was trying to get through all the postures and move my body in ways it’s never been before. I was sore for days in places I didn’t know existed. No amount of weight lifting even came close to that impact.
4. I’m not into the spiritual mumbo jumbo.
Om nama shi…oh my bad. Not all classes are designed around the element of spiritualty or chanting. There are classes designed specifically for men, such as Broga and Man Flow Yoga, that are structured and built around strength, stability, and mobility without the yogic spiritual philosophy.
5. I may get sexually aroused in class.
You are on your own with that one! However, yoga does balance your sexual hormones and increase the release of pheromones, which draws sexual attention and increases libido. It also rids the body of toxins that affect sexual performance and reproductive health.
A 2010 study, published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, revealed that yoga effectively improves all sexual functions in men. Is better sex something to fear, boys?
Why real men do yoga
If any of these arguments resonated with you, you are not alone. Many guys have avoided yoga for these reasons and more. With all assumptions aside, let’s consider the benefits of yoga for the male body. Here are seven reasons why this epic practice should not be missed by any man.
1. Relieve stress and tension.
Yoga gives us a chance to unplug and withdraw from the daily grind and endless flurry of texts, emails, phone calls, and obligations. Yoga allows you a mental and physical detox by employing breathing (pranayama) techniques that are known for their relaxation effects. These techniques calm the central nervous system, which is responsible for the fight or flight response.
2. Increase flexibility.
Any sports or physical activity requires engagement of multiple muscles fibers to perform powerful, explosive, and strategic movement patterns. The physical practice of yoga, or asana, targets specific areas of muscle in the body to increase extensibility and endurance in the muscle fiber. This increases blood flow, nutrient delivery, and range of motion.
Greater range of motion equals more leverage, power, and agility during sporting activities in addition to greater gains in the gym.
3. Shred muscles and shed body fat.
Yoga utilizes postures which are held for extended periods of time. These poses tend to focus on multiple isometric contractions of various muscle groups in the body. Imagine holding a plank for 1-2 minutes after your upper body is already spent from other postures—easier said than done.
Yoga also jumpstarts your metabolism and releases healthy hormones, while balancing out your cortisol levels and in turn helps to burn unwanted fat to be turned into energy. Think of it as being green for your body.
Twisting postures help to sculpt and tone the midsection. Standing postures build a solid foundation for powerful, fine-tuned legs. Weight-bearing postures on the arms help to build and tone the entire upper body. This creates a total body workout and detox entirely built into a one-hour class—and even better, you get to chillax at the end.
4. Improve balance and stability.
Yoga employs multiple postures that challenge single leg balance, arm balance, bending forward with a split leg stance. All of which helps to improve overall postural stability and promotes deep core engagement and support, while strengthening supportive structures along the spine to allow for protection and stability.
5. Prevent injury.
The majority of injuries come from repetitive overuse and a lack of overall body maintenance in active or inactive individuals. Over tightening of the muscles can place you at higher risk for muscle and tendon strains, sprains and tears, making it extremely important to maintain healthy extensibility of the muscular tissues.
Yoga balances muscular connections in the body and allows for increase space and mobility in the body to create less joint compression and increased range of motion.
6. Improve endurance and cardiovascular health.
Heart disease is on the rise for men as we age. Vinyasa-style yoga employs moving through multiple postures and sequences to heat and warm the body and as a result, fires up the circulatory system and organically improves cardiac output. This supports building healthy heart tissue and delivering blood flow and nutrients to every nook and cranny of the body.
7. Clear mental fog and fatigue.
Traditionally, asana is employed to unlock and relax the body to prepare you to meditate comfortably and without interruption. Even taking five minutes to close yours eyes and just focus on your breathing can greatly improve mental clarity and improve energy levels. It allows the mind a short period to reboot from the endless stream of thoughts and information we receive on a daily basis.
It’s not all yoga pants and Namastes
I once read somewhere, “Your wealth is in your health,” and I’ve taken that to heart much of my life. After being in the physical therapy world for a few years now, I’ve taken into account the injuries and loss of function that my patients suffer.
On one end, they are a result of overuse and repetitive motion injuries. On the opposite end, they are a result of underuse, where balance and stability decreases, and risk of falling rises. Motion is lotion—meaning we must keep it moving to lubricate and hydrate the entire body.
By utilizing activities such as yoga, we allow ourselves to move more intelligently, think more clearly, and live life to the fullest.