Yoga is an ancient Indian practice traditionally involving as many men as women, but here in the West classes are predominantly taught by women and attended by women. Also in the West more men suffer injuries from sport and DIY, bad backs from poor posture and tight muscles, have trouble connecting with their emotions and communicating them, and endure a great deal of stress.
Perhaps there is a relationship between the two? Yoga, amongst other things, will prevent injury, free the spine and reduce stress and anxiety.
Coincidence or not, it’s time men rolled out a yoga mat.
Yoga Builds Flexibility
Most men have tighter muscles than women meaning their bodies are inflexible and also very susceptible to strains and injuries.
Tight muscles result in poor posture, bad balance and in some cases injury from falls or simply moving the body in the wrong way. For example, tight hamstrings can cause back pain while rigid hips can strain the knees.
Yoga promotes greater flexibility of the body. This ultimately realigns muscles, reduces pain and corrects posture. A flexible body is more balanced, more mobile and more stable meaning the causes of injury decrease with regular practice.
Yoga Eases Pain
Women are more likely to report ill health than men who would rather live with pain than see a doctor until the pain (or their partner’s nagging) becomes unbearable. But a regular yoga class could help with pain management as well as eventually curing the source of the pain itself.
Yoga is not just about posing the body. The use of breath, the concentration of the mind and the placement of the body are all key elements that distinguish it from any other physical practice. At the end of each class time is devoted to meditation and relaxation, allowing the participant to enjoy the release they’ve created physically as well as the focus they have built mentally. Several independent studies have found these simple but effective elements have reduced the pain of those suffering injuries, back pain, arthritis and more.
Yoga Improves Relationships
Communication and connection are not typical male attributes, and if you’re a man who finds it hard to express emotion yoga may just be the thing to help.
Regular yoga practice promotes greater compassion for others and friendliness towards them. This is compounded with the philosophies of the discipline which include doing no harm, being honest and wanting less. This can help forge established relationships and also enable new, sincere friendships and relationships to develop.
Yoga improves Concentration
Few men would agree that they: “Don’t look back in anger, or forward in fear, but around with awareness”, but yoga encourages them to do exactly that.
During all phases of a yoga class the mind is very much concentrated on observing the present without judgement. Repeatedly doing so in class has numerous benefits outside of it. Amongst them are faster reaction times, improved coordination and a keener memory. Additional studies have also suggested yoga elevates IQ. So mental capacity and efficiency are major bonuses.
Yoga relaxes and restores your body
Most men think a cool beer in front of the TV is relaxing, and while it may have the desired effect in the short term, it is not a long term recipe for well-being.
Yoga incorporates relaxation. The calm you experience with yoga relaxations relaxes the sympathetic nervous system, the one that’s constantly on edge in case of emergency, and awakens the parasympathetic nervous system, lowering blood pressure and slowing heart beats. It also increases blood flow to the organs like the digestive system and the reproductive organs, supplying them with extra nutrients to improve function.
More men are practising Yoga
Still not sure? Gradually the numbers of men on Yoga mats is growing. Helped in no small part by high-profile men taking up the discipline too. Andy Murray, Sting, Russell Brand, Adam Levine and Matthew McConaughey are all fanatics of Yoga. So if it’s good enough for them….
Need a yoga mat to get going? Check out all our yoga gear right here in our online store.
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