It’s truly unbelievable how few men know about yoga and meditation, and it still astounds me how many misconceptions men have before they start to practice.
When yoga is mentioned, a common male response is “Yoga is for ladies.” or “I’m too tight to do yoga.” There seems to be a lack of knowledge about what yoga is and how to get involved. It’s definitely time to change this.
The truth about Yoga is that the practice originated in India with a majority of men practicing it and for centuries it has been deeply respected within male circles.
So what keeps most men in the Western world from even trying yoga? If a man goes to a typical yoga class, there are likely to be lots of flexible young women there, so he feels out of place. (I remember feeling the same way.) Or he may join an advanced yoga class at the gym and struggle to keep up, doing yoga postures without having a detailed understanding of the alignment or basic yoga principles. So he quits! Too hard! Not for me!
Yes, it’s true that in the body there are areas particularly challenging for men: the neck, shoulders, lower back, hips and hamstrings. But guess what? Very shortly after regular yoga practice, with the right class level and instructor, you’ll experience increase flexibility and improved upper body strength, leg strength and core/abdominal strength. Magic!
One more thing! You’re never too tight to do yoga.
So to all you stiff men out there, don’t shy away! Yoga can transform your body and your complete mental attitude.
Yoga is accessible to everyone—yoga for real men, for real life. You don’t have to look like a model or a dancer to practice yoga.
Did you know that yoga classes can build a base for weightlifting, cut belly fat and reduce stress? Runners, cyclists, skiers, ball players and athletes in general greatly improve and have less injuries when they add yoga to their training. Wondering why?
Five main reasons to practice yoga:
1.Yoga widens the range of motion and increases access to more muscle fibers.
You’ll work different muscle groups. That’s true! Most of us go the gym and repeat the same familiar movements for years and years. Yoga invites you to step out of your comfort place and build strength in different parts of your muscles that you’ve probably never built before.
2. Yoga reduces stress.
Big time! Training yourself to breathe deeply through yoga reduces stress and cortisol levels in your daily life. Yoga is all about learning how to breath deeply and meditate. Try it! Deep, smooth abdominal breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which will help you to become more calm.
3. Yoga improves health.
It will cut down your colds and flu and lower your heart rate. More intense yoga routines will challenge your heart and change your breathing rate, which strengthens your cardiovascular system.
4. Yoga builds self acceptance and confidence.
Working in a class together helps build honor and respect for each other and for yourself. When you look around and you see more men doing yoga, it is truly encouraging—their bodies and challenges are similar to yours. It feels more inclusive, you feel more included and accepted. It is very reaffirming to see a room full of men—young, old, in good physical shape, not in such good shape—all taking an active role in improving their health and the quality of their lives.
5. Yoga philosophy will transform your life.
It is an infinite source of inspiration and tips on how to live your life. We, as men, need to learn how to stay centered within ourselves—not only in our bodies, but also in our minds.
I am calling on all men to invite yoga and mediation practice into our every day lives. Yoga is a lifestyle that we can embrace and use to serve ourselves and others. It is my deep desire to see the brotherhood thrive all around the globe and for each of us to go the distance in this life with our masculine power. We have to look inside ourselves to reclaim our masculine grace and to believe in ourselves as empowered men on the planet.
Men talking about how doing yoga with other men has transformed their lives:
Author: Rad Kaim
Editor: Evan Yerburgh
Image: courtesy of the author