People often associate yoga with women. However, men can and should practice yoga too! We learned via an article by Greatist that yoga is a “a full-body workout… It isn’t all about sitting, chanting, meditating, talking about feelings, or any other stereotypes. According to some scientific research, yoga can build strength, increase flexibility, and improve balance, stability, sleep, and relaxation.”
The article mentioned that many male athletes practice yoga for functional strength, injury prevention, and mental preparation. For example, “Florida Panther goalie and 2011 Stanley Cup Champion Tim Thomas describes how he includes yoga in his training routine. And many NFL players do yoga to become better athletes too.”
A recent Yoga Journal survey found that only about 18 percent of the 20.4 million people who practice yoga are men. However, if we go back to historical times, yoga originated in India about 5,000 years ago and was originally designed to be practiced by men. So why are less men practicing yoga today? The article stated that, “The myths and stereotypes about yoga are one of the major turn-offs for many men. Dudes often claim that yoga is too touchy-feely, too feminine, or too New Age.”
In addition, some men do not think that yoga is a “real” workout. However, yoga is a different kind of exercise in comparison to bootcamps or weightlifting. Yoga is about the connection between body, mind and spirit. The article stated, “Yogis build power and heat while “flowing” (aka moving through a series of poses), they discover strength in warrior and plank poses, and they challenge themselves with balancing, inversions, and other body-twisting advanced poses. And all that’s done with mindfulness, a sense of stability, and a deeper connection with oneself.”
Studies suggest that yoga is good for everyone! Practicing yoga can “lower heart rate and blood pressure, relieve anxiety, depression, and insomnia, as well as improve overall strength and flexibility. Other studies indicate a link between yoga and a reduction in lower back pain.”
Also, there are specific benefits for men. The article stated, “Yoga can be an outlet to release mental and physical tension, especially for men who have a tendency to internalize stress and anxiety. It can also help stretch hip flexors and hamstrings, areas where men (or anyone unaccustomed to stretching) often have tightness.”
Men, are you willing to give yoga a try? Take our Stress Reduction for Men class and learn simple movements, breathing, meditation, and yoga to return to a life of happiness and balance. Learn how to best manage your stress and be in community with other men who practice yoga.
Remember, anyone can practice yoga and reap its benefits!