Yoga is no longer just for the “cute chicks in leggings.” Although a majority of my classes are still packed with women, there are a good number of male yogis, too!
Now before you skeptical men out there start making snarky comments, I can assure you that these yogis are just as masculine, fit and strong as you. If NBA players, NFL players and celebrities have already discovered the wonderful secrets of this amazing practice, why shouldn’t you jump on the bandwagon, too? Not only can yoga build strength, increase flexibility and improve balance, it can also bring better stability, sleep and relaxation.
If you STILL think yoga is “girly,” let’s break down even more great reasons men should start getting on the mat:
1. Yoga was started by men and made for men
Evidence suggests that yoga originated in India about 5,000 years ago and was originally designed to be practiced by men.
“One of the earliest texts having to do with Yoga was compiled by a scholar named Patanjali, who set down the most prevalent Yoga theories and practices of his time in a book he called Yoga Sutras (“Yoga Aphorisms”) as early as the 1st or 2nd century B.C. or as late as the 5th century A.D. (exact dates are unknown). The system that he wrote about is known as “Ashtanga Yoga,” or the eight limbs of Yoga, and this is what is generally referred to today as Classical Yoga. Most current adherents practice some variation of Patanjali’s system.”
2. Yoga will help you get fit, flexible and strong
A lot of my guy friends would tell me “I’m not flexible enough for yoga and it’s not real exercise.” As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, those statements are both myths. Telling me you’re not flexible enough to do yoga is like me telling you I’m not strong enough to lift weights. And trust me buddy, I can lift those damn weights! Now stop giving me your excuses.
Yoga is very powerful and it’s designed to open and strengthen your body, so it’s definitely REAL exercise. Your arms and chest might get strong from bench presses, but to execute a chaturanga or hold an inversion, you need to be strong from head to toe. You can’t “muscle” your way through asanas. So through yoga, you will tone and strengthen muscles that you didn’t even know you had! With consistent practice, you’ll become more flexible and strong, without the injuries that other exercises might cause your body.
3. Yoga helps to alleviate pain and injuries and it’s the perfect compliment to your workout routine
If you’re lifting weights on the regular or work a desk job, you most likely have accumulated some form of injury or have some sort of pain (most common are back pain and general muscle soreness). Repetitive movements from weights can leave certain joints and muscles extra tight. By incorporating yoga into your weekly routine, it’ll relieve the tensions built up in these trouble areas and open up your stiff muscles to help you feel less sore. Also, yoga increases your range of motion and flexibility, so it actually enables you to lift heavier weights. For the 9 to 5 workers, hip opening asanas will reverse the effects of sitting in a chair all day and backbends can counteract the results of hunching over a computer keyboard. So take a day out of your regular workout to get on that mat, boys!
4. Yoga is great for stress-relief and overall wellness
Yoga will make you instantly feel more zen. Even if you’re not into meditation (I’m still not a huge fan of it myself), yoga will teach you to find your breath. Being in the moment during your practice will help you clear your mind, be fully aware of yourself and take you away from your stress-filled work day. You will feel grounded and relaxed, and that feeling usually carries you throughout the rest of your day – even your entire week.
Once you start a regular practice, you’ll notice the natural shift of your eating habits and overall well-being. Yeah, you’ll still crave that burger or ice cream once in a while, but you won’t want it all the time and you won’t down the entire tub in one sitting. You’ll be more conscious of your body and know that you’re leading a healthier lifestyle.
Men, stop being scared of giving yoga a try! Tag along with a girlfriend and namaste!