5 Reasons Guys Should Do Yoga
73% of all yoga practitioners are women. While the number of men rolling out their mats is growing each year, it’s still a female-dominated activity. I’m here to tell you guys why you (yes, mister, I mean YOU!) should give it a try.
You will gain flexibility. You don’t need to be flexible to do yoga; that will come with time. As you bend, stretch, and breathe, you will open up tight muscles. Practicing asanas (yoga postures) will aid you in all forms of movement. Whether you run, swim, surf, or bike, yoga compliments all other types of physical activity. Repetitive movements can leave certain joints and muscles tight; yoga is a complete practice that will open your body and improve your overall performance. Not an athlete? Sit at a desk all day? Great! Hip openers will reverse the effects of 8 hour chair-sitting marathons and backbends will counter-act the results of hunching over a computer keyboard.
You will get strong. Let’s say you’re a tough guy who really wants a workout. (And I love me some tough guys!) Many men think yoga is girly. I invite you to come to one of my classes. Or Leela’s, Jen’s, Carolina’s (the list goes on!). Many asanas require a type of strength that you cannot achieve from, oh, let’s say lifting weights. Sure, your arms and chest get strong from bench presses, but to execute a chaturanga or hold an inversion you need to be strong from your head to your toes. You can’t “muscle” your way through it. As you hold various poses, not only are you isometrically contracting and strengthening your major muscle groups, but also igniting your stabilizer muscles. This provides an unparalleled total body workout.
You will get calmer. Many men shy away from yoga because they think it’s too “New Age-y”. (Are you going to let a little “om-ing” scare you away?) Yoga itself is an 8 limbed path of which the poses and breathing are merely two parts. For thousands of years, yoga was practiced solely by men. The breath focus and inner awareness that you gain from a steady yoga practice will help you in all aspects of your life. You may find that you become less reactive to stressful situations. Also, unlike us girls who typically verbalize our emotions, men tend to internalize theirs. The mindfulness gained from yoga can help you process those emotions; many men find they are better able to communicate in both professional and personal relationships.
You will meet people. Whether you’re looking for a partner or just looking to make new friends, yoga people form communities. I truly believe that the sense of community here at Pilgrimage is why so many people keep coming back. Yeah, the yoga itself is pretty fantastic, but it’s the people that make it so darn special. Also, yoga can help you get to know yourself better, which in turn will help you form closer relationships. So, if you’re looking for that special someone, getting to know yourself can often be the most important first step.
You will feel better. A good yoga class leaves you feeling open, alive, and connected in a way that no other single workout can. There are many different styles and levels, so try them and see which one works for you. As a teacher, I’ve never once had a student leave saying “I feel like crap after that class.” On the contrary, everyone pretty much feels better! With a steady practice, many people often find that they have more energy, are naturally making healthier life choices, and even get sick less.
This isn’t magic… it’s logic. If you stretch more, you will become flexible. If you challenge yourself physically, you will become stronger. If you cultivate inner awareness, you will get calmer. If you surround yourself with open, caring people, you will make friends. If you do all of these things, you will feel better. And, male or female, who doesn’t want that?