A common misconception is that yoga is a woman’s workout. This is totally absurd and, in fact, yoga was originally practiced by both men and women thousands of years ago. And for those of you who’ve tried it know – it’s nowhere near a dainty exercise. Nowadays there is a yoga class for every need, including 30 minute classes for busy execs, boot camp yoga for the true warrior, all-male classes to avoid distraction (from see-through yoga pants, perhaps?) and muscle and core building. Many major NFL, NBA and other professional sports teams are incorporating yoga into their training routine to prevent injuries, improve balance and increase flexibility – leading to an overall better player and team performance.
With all the benefits from practicing yoga there simply is no viable reason not to start gettin’ down with downward dog (if you catch my drift).
Here are a list of reasons that you should start a yoga asana practice if you’re a dude:
1. Yoga is a serious workout. All you have to do is attend one Bikram’s Yoga class and you’ll know that it’s not for the faint of heart. I’ve taken many disbelieving men to experience the hot yoga class who end up lying down in savasana within the first 15 minutes (literally). Yoga not only takes physical strength, but also balance, flexibility, mental determination and extreme discipline. Don’t question it for it’s ability to boost your muscle mass either – yoga is big in the sports industry and practiced by some of the best athletes including Lebron James, Shaq and Kevin Garnett.
2. Yoga prevents injuries. YuMee Chung, an Ashtanga Vinyasa and advanced certified Jivamukti yoga instructor, recommends yin yoga for endurance athletes — “the feminine, calming counterpart to more masculine, on-the-go, high intensity yang movements like running. Yin yoga focuses on the lower body, with a lot of work in the hips. And because of the mellow, slow and focused approach, it can be surprisingly intense and restorative. Maintaining poses for five minutes or longer has a dramatic effect on the tight, sore and often inflamed muscles, tissues, fascia and joints that runners have.”
“Holding a pose for more than 72 seconds has an amazing ability to restore and rebuild connective tissue and the skeleton as well,” Chung says. “Runners, cyclists and triathletes use their bodies in precise ways; they use the same muscles to do the same things. Yoga can bring awareness to the actions you’re placing on the body and, aside from the biceps, we hit just about every muscle.”
3. Yoga relieves stress. If you live in the material world, stress is constantly knocking at your door. The key is to learn how to cope with stress and wring it out of our body. Yoga is like a self-massage of sorts. It massages, tones and stretches the muscles, tendons and ligaments and is a time out of the day for “you time”. Moreover, it gets you in tune with your breath and creates body awareness, which in and of itself is your ‘inner physician’ that alerts you when you need to pay attention and make a few lifestyle tweaks.
Yoga also teaches us to live in the present moment and let go of our daily stressors. Furthermore, yoga is a moving meditation – and we all know what meditation can do for peace of mind, eliminating anxiety and depression and relieving stress.
4. Yoga prevents disease. Yoga is said to prevent and even cure some of the most problematic illnesses today including:
- Indigestion and digestive disorders
- Migraines and headaches
- Bone, joint and muscle pains
- Heart problems and cardiovascular disease
- Anxiety and depression
- AIDS and cancer
- Addictions such as alcoholism or drug abuse
- Insomnia and sleep disorders
Dudes, if you’re still not sold on yoga class, here’s my last and final attempt at getting you to go – you’ll be surrounded by beautiful, healthy and strong women. Just give it a week and you’ll be hooked for life.