Author: Mark (Jessica's student) - a dedicated and enthusiastic student of movement and life.
What? Yoga? it's good for Men? C'mon you gotta be kidding me, right? Call me an Ubercynic "OR" alternatively AKA "Gym Bro"
Previously I held an uninformed stereotypical belief that yoga is anything but masculine. When I pictured the quintessential yoga studio, the following imagery would come to mind: ethereal music, scented oils, gentle movements, softly spoken teachers. If those conjured up speculations weren't enough to strengthen my counterintuitive prejudice. Let's exam further evidence to support my previously misguided assumptions. Take for instance yoga sessions being predominantly filled with ladies, whilst all the men were drawn more to masculine activities: Boxing or Crossfit. There's a definite polarising gender bias afoot; individual paradigms &/or cultural worldviews influencing and reinforcing these generalisations.
If you were to ask the average western bloke off the street, the question, what is men's fitness? Chances are They are most likely to respond, "an activity which men can exert their masculinity through more extreme tests of their body." I've laid out five considerations, why yoga shouldn't be unfairly criticised and is actual good for men.
1. Flexibility & Mobility
This may be shooting fish in a barrel, and way to obvious point to begin with, however, notwithstanding, the dynamic movements and stretches in yoga help the body become more flexible and mobile to support other physical activity one might wish to engage in. Additional comment for my "not so easily swayed manly men" reading- there's a long-standing relationship between martial arts and yoga, and why professional footballers, basketball players and Olympic athletes are increasingly factoring yoga into their lifestyle.It is this factor explicitly that led me to yoga, I was practicing Judo and realised that I needed to become more agile and limber especially my Hip flexors and hamstrings two areas I was especially rigid.
2. All over body strength & conditioning
First things first, some demythologising is necessary -There's a promulgated false misconception that Yoga is all gentle and easy. It just not the case, yoga like most types of exercise, can have aspects of intensity that will strengthen your body all over, leave you dripping in sweat and leave your muscles feeling as fatigued as if you'd completed an intense gym workout. The upside is a noticeable more tone physique and reducing the risk of imbalances, aches, pains and joint trouble in later life
3. Increased Focus & full-body awareness
Yoga encourages you to place your full attention on every movement, giving you a greater appreciation of every muscle and joint in your body.
4. Reduce Stress
There are many benefits of yoga for men. It can release mental and physical tension. Yoga helps to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol has a lot of negative affects upon thyroid, decrease muscle tissue, increase blood pressure, lower immunity, and increase inflammatory responses.
5. It just simply feels good
Like the 'Runner's High', endorphin rush after an intense HIIT workout. Yoga prompts its own natural high or 'Post Yoga Glow', by triggering the release of the essential hormone oxytocin, also known as the 'love hormone', flooding the body with feelings of well-being and happiness.
With so many benefits of yoga for men, what are you waiting for? This is your chance to start discovering yoga practice that fits your lifestyle.
In my opinion these aren't any viable substitute for the hands-on attention you'll receive from practicing with a real teacher. As one of Jessica's students I'd highly recommend her services.
Find out more about Jessica's services:
- 1:1 Yoga