You see the images everywhere: women in groups mastering various yoga poses while smiling, as they seem to do them all with ease (at least in the photos). However, while women have definitely gravitated to yoga as part of a healthy lifestyle, some men may be missing out on the benefits (around 82 percent of those who practice yoga in the U.S. are women).
There are many yoga classes that welcome men, as well as encourage it. So while you might think that high-impact cardio exercises and weight training are the only ways to go for men, here are six benefits of yoga for men…
You already know that eating right is an important component in feeling your best and having the most strength. But did you know that yoga can help improve your digestion, which in turn may give you a boost in energy?
According to Men’s Fitness, yoga moves often involve twists that aid your digestive system and help move food through it more efficiently. Doing these sort of moves regularly can also help increase core strength and flexibility.
Pressure to perform at work and at home can be hard on men, and stress can lead to a number of health problems in males including hypertension and even major depression. Women are of course also affected by outside factors, but they have a lower response to stress in general.
Men’s Health reports that you can “twist yourself into a pretzel and laugh, laugh, laugh,” as apparently laughing and yoga poses together do wonders to reduce stress. Perhaps even trying this pose can conjure you to giggle. The source notes a study showed men who watched comedies had better blood flow afterwards for up to a day, and that’s just sitting on the couch.
Less Pain After Workouts
As CheatSheet.com points out, practicing yoga can better prepare you for a higher-impact exercise session such as weight training or a big sports match. The source points out that several members of the NFL’s Denver Broncos practice yoga despite the non-manly image of yoga, and they report better focus and less soreness following a game.
If you need more convincing that it’s okay to practice yoga as a man, consider that basketball superstar LeBron James is a proud yogi, and of course, he has the impressive numbers to back up his focus and nimbleness. If it’s good for LeBron…
If you’re looking for a bit more drive in the bedroom, then turn to none other than the ancient practice of yoga, suggests CloudNine. The source notes that many of the original practitioners of yoga in India had a great…err…love life.
The particular poses outlined by CloudNine apparently help release a “blockage” of energy that can decrease your libido. Not only will your flexibility and endurance improve, these particular poses can reportedly also help with erectile dysfunction.
Have you ever watched a marathon and wondered how the heck someone can run 21 miles without stopping, or marveled at how some guys seem to be unphased after a day at a physically demanding job? One of the keys is proper breathing, which you will learn when you embrace yoga.
Men’s Fitness notes that Hatha yoga employs “ back-of-throat nose breathing called ujayi pranayam,” which literally translates to “breath of the victorious warrior.” This can help increase your lung capacity and deliver more oxygen to the blood, carrying you past obstacles you may not previously have thought were possible.
It’s a Healthy Time-Out
These days, we equate the amount of things we’re doing to our self-worth. This is often true in men’s fitness, where the driving principle is that if you’re not lifting your own weight, you’re just not doing it right.
However, Muscle & Fitness points out that yoga “offers us the chance to take a break from the noise of our lives and to hone our inward focus.” The end goal of yoga is to nurture yourself, and give you a “time out” from the constant bombardment of our senses, it adds.