Yoga Will Make You a Better Man
I told my husband I wanted him to take a yoga class. He gave me a brusque look like “yeah, right”. He’s more sensitive than most and pretty open minded. That’s why I suggested it. But on this subject he fell right in line with most men who simply can’t imagine themselves in a spandex clad room hoisting their butt into the air posing. Those of us who do yoga know it is way more meaningful than that.
I asked a new yoga buddy, 26 year old hockey player Daniel, how he was recently motivated to start yoga. He said another jock, whom he highly respected, invited him to try. It didn’t take a lot of convincing because Daniel is free-spirited and open-minded. He said he emerged from his first class with our awesome yoga instructor Blaire, feeling relaxed and calm. Furthermore it was challenging and he wanted to try it again. Now four months later he has a list of improvements he’s noticed with his weight lifting and workout routine. He’s hooked and wants to teach others.
Daniel will most likely be teaching to the stereotypical room of women in yoga pants (not that he’ll mind). He says he needs to work on his pitch to other guys about the benefits of the class so they can see the light and stop teasing him and calling him a hippie.
It’s true yoga can improve your performance in other sports activities and physical fitness.
Ask the Philadelphia Eagles Football team and LeBron James who reportedly incorporated it into their regimen.
For athletes yoga can increase their range of motion making muscles more flexible for greater reach and reaction which is imperative for sports like football, basketball and anything else with jumping and lateral and bending movements. Plus it decreases risk of injury.
Increasing the range of motion or stretching out these muscles can also build muscle fiber and increase its strength on a cellular level. Plus yoga increases balance and stamina.
What athlete doesn’t want more of that?
Some other benefits that may not seem so manly are decreases in anxiety and depression and increased contentment. One of the major focal points of yoga is breathing correctly and connecting to the body. This has an impact on the parasympathetic nervous system. The practice is found to discharge a hormone called oxytocin that releases feelings of well-being and happiness. And a hormone called cortisol, which contributes to relaxation, better sleep and lower blood pressure. My friend Daniel says he used to take out his rage with weights working himself to fatigue. But now he finds the same relief through yoga and it’s easier on his body.
Other known benefits:
-Improved functioning of the lung, heart and digestive system
-Rehabilitating back pain
-Improve brain function
-Strengthening the immune system
Finally, and maybe the one I should’ve mentioned first, better sexual performance. With improved stamina, endurance and control of the mind, yoga can make a man a lean mean sex machine.
Remember, you don’t have to be flexible already to start yoga.
It will come to the best of your body’s ability. Everyone is different. Let the teacher guide you through the movement and push yourself only as far as it feels comfortable. It’s not a contest.
You can find beginner yoga classes in most gyms and there are many free standing yoga studios that would love to get you hooked. Another option are DVD’s so you can try at home first but a teacher can give you personalized help.
Be sure to wear comfortable lose fitting pants or shorts. You’ll need a mat, although most places have one available to borrow. Classes usually run an hour and begin with a brief meditation directing you on how to focus on your breath. Then you’ll be lead through a series of poses. There are always modifications and hopefully your instructor will offer them. It’s best to tell the instructor before class you are new. And talk to your doctor about trying a new physical activity.
Effects of Yoga Study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3111147/
Benefits of Yoga: http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/a-z/yoga-workouts