It’s a modern myth that men aren’t very flexible, and seemingly a big reason why relatively few think that yoga would be for them. The benefits of yoga for men, however, are almost endless and the fact that male pro athletes and Special Forces operatives are turning to this practice is endorsement enough. Here are some examples of what yoga could do for you.
Concentration and focus
Studies show that a 20-minute yoga session improves memory, information retention and energy resources, vastly improving productivity and confidence at work – surely a major benefit for men working in high intensity environments.
Did you also know that yoga stimulates brain function more than jogging or walking for the same length of time and yoga meditation also greatly improves focus?
Flexibility and strength
An increase in flexibility through the spine is one of the many benefits of yoga for men. It improves core strength and helps you recognise poor posture. Practice builds elongated, toned, supple muscles, improves joint durability and strengthens connective muscle tissue.
Surprisingly, yoga is equal to or even better than weightlifting for building muscle as it uses the body’s own weight and resistance to build lean muscle mass.
Promotes deep relaxation, relieves stress and promotes better sleep
The meditative aspect of yoga can vastly benefit men both mentally and physically. This is often why many people are attracted to practising yoga rather than the physical benefits alone.
Yoga reduces production of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol suppresses thyroid function, heightens blood pressure, decreases muscle tissue and escalates the body’s inflammatory responses.
Deep yoga breathing reduces anxiety, insomnia, fatigue and depression – a must in today’s fast-paced world. It allows time to break free from technology for much-needed respite.
Weight loss/overall healthy lifestyle
The benefits of yoga for men are never-ending. In fact, the Journal of Alternative Medicine published a study that shows overweight men practising yoga exercises lost an average of 4 pounds in 10 days.
Deep abdominal breathing, an intrinsic part of yoga, activates the nervous system to lower cortisol, which is known to force your body to retain stomach fat. These breathing techniques (that will inherently filter into every moment of your day) make the eating process much calmer and more thoughtful – stemming food cravings and promoting mindfulness.
Another benefit of yoga for men is improved digestion – many yoga positions help massage internal organs, helping the gut and bowel work more efficiently.
Yoga practice helps to boost the immune system at the foundation cellular level. Yoga triggers rapid gene expression changes which advances the body’s defence system.
Prevent injury and sports performance
Yoga is vigorous but in a different way from traditional sport. It does not cause fatigue from repetitive movement, as many sports do. It targets and strengthens every single muscle – no matter how small. Yoga can benefit men by preventing tightness in muscles and joints, offering a great counterbalance to other athletic pursuits.
Men can also enjoy increased stamina and balance from practising yoga. This extra strength and flexibility will have you poised for success in whatever sporting activity you choose. Yoga helps you tune in and listen to your body to prevent overworking muscles and joints, thus minimising sport-induced damage. After all, well stretched muscles recover more quickly!
A quick but focused yoga practice session before a sports match or race can greatly enhance focus and seriously loosen muscles for greater performance – it will also aid reduction of post-sport soreness.
The toughest men may be challenged after their first yoga class but this is testament to its power. It’s a real test of mind and body but sticking with it and steadily learning the discipline will show the myriad benefits of yoga for men.