The yoga community is predominantly female, and as welcoming as it may be, the truth is that the majority of men continuously turn down the invitation to practice.
Yet, for every one reason why men avoid practicing yoga, there are several other reasons why they should never stay away from taking its benefits. Here are a few reasons why men might want to push past their emotional, physical, or social barriers and try this beneficial practice:
During adolescence, boys begin to lose more flexibility than girls. While experts have never been able to pinpoint precisely why this happens, the fact is that stretching can feel more painful for men.
This is precisely why yoga is the best option for enhancing flexibility for men because there is no pressure to go too far too fast. When given a full 60-minute class to do just this, men can begin to view stretching as something more than the quick and intense part you get out of the way so you can play the sport.
While poses might be more challenging for men to get into than women, men will arrive at their version of the pose quicker and without going as far. This means that as a result of their inflexibility, men do not have to perform a full expression of the pose to attain all of the benefits it has to offer.
The benefits of enhanced flexibility include:
- Posture – With a broader range of motion and focus on alignment of the body, men will find it easier to stand up or sit down more comfortably for more extended periods.
- Fewer Injuries and Reduced Pain – Tighter muscles are always at a greater risk for injury. By loosening up the muscles, men can handle more physical exertion while reducing aches, pains, and muscle cramping.
- Enhanced Physical Performance – Yoga creates the space for its practitioners to find their full range of motion, and through regular lubrication of these joints, the body can remain agile. Not to mention the increase of blood flow to the muscles via stretching, which helps warm up the muscles for optimal performance.
While women have their own set of reasons for mental and emotional turmoil in modern society, men especially tend to succumb to the expectations placed upon them, whether real or perceived.
Yoga is an excellent way to manage the stressors of everyday life and alter mindsets that help men awaken and put things into perspective.
Here are a few ways yoga helps foster mental and emotional well-being for men:
- Less Stress – Women and men not only deal with stress differently but experience different levels of it. A hormone called oxytocin counters the effects of other hormones – cortisol and epinephrine – that are released into the blood during stressful situations.
Because men release oxytocin in smaller amounts, they experience heightened levels of stress and fight or flight responses. This explains why men tend to escape and ignore their problems, or in other words, bottle it up; or, why they might feel more aggressive and fight back.
Yoga connects us more closely to the breath, and learning how to slow it down and exhale deeply, lowers our heart rates and calms our bodies and minds.
- Enhanced Focus – Channeling our focus on one specific object or process, such as turning our attention to our breath, improves concentration by shifting our focus away from our busy mind chatter to the present moment.
It is likely, especially for men, to experience active minds in a yoga class, where they are worried about what they look like and how they fit into what they feel is a woman’s domain.
- New Perspectives – Because of the way men’s brains are wired, they generally have more competitive urges, and associate physical activity with a competition. Men also tend to act more out of fear and aggression, which can be attributed to living outside of the present moment.
Yoga teaches us how to live in the present and what that means. By moving through postures and flowing with the breath, more attention is brought to the present moment, which is incredibly helpful in releasing anxiety over past and future thoughts. Being in the present moment itself is like having a new perspective on life.
Not to mention, in a judgment-free zone, male students will ultimately learn that yoga culture is not about competition with the self or anyone else, but instead, it is about meeting yourself where you are.
If you did not know by now, sex is a big deal for men. Men generally have a higher sex drive than women, which is one area where they already shine in the emotional well-being department.
Sex is known to not only increase happiness but for men, it is also how they show their vulnerable, intimate side and connect with their partner. If there is one thing that benefits sex lives for men, it is yoga!
First and foremost, it increases strength and flexibility. Also, on the physical body side of things, it helps boost arousal by releasing hormones and increasing blood flow to the genital area; this helps with erections and sexual performance and satisfaction.
One of the more outstanding benefits, though, is body awareness. Yoga not only boosts self-esteem but having less anxiety over your actions and body appearance will leave more room to be aware of your partner and what makes them happy.
Some men who have never tried yoga may be of the opinion that it looks so calm and easy, but the truth is, using all body weight to work against the strong element of gravity is pretty intense.
Not only that, but yoga is designed to incorporate every single muscle of the body, so guys need not worry about it not being enough of an exercise.
The best part is, it is all yogis choice. A class such as a vinyasa will help build muscles, and just as important is healing and letting the muscle fibers repair in a slower style such as deep stretch or yin.
No matter what, men are sure to see significant changes in their physique from a regular practice, which will enhance many areas of their lives, from endurance to self-confidence.