Yoga is all the craze these days, with instagram brimming with fit young adults posing in parks, at tourist landmarks, and in modern-rustic studios. You’ll notice pretty quickly, though, that it’s almost all women. Visit any local yoga studio and the vast majority of the students are women in skin-tight artisan yoga outfits, with perhaps a scant man here or there. I can tell you from personal experience, though, that men should absolutely practice yoga, as the benefits far outweigh the temporary embarrassment of being the only man in a yoga studio. Here are all the benefits that yoga can bring to the male body.
Yoga relieves stress. Your workday can include lots of stressed that you keep bottled up with no healthy way to relieve it. By practicing yoga, though, men can turn inwards and employ relaxation techniques that release stored up tension and induce a calmer mood overall.
Yoga improves balance. Many yoga poses require you to stand on one leg, on your toes, on your hands, and in some advanced cases, on your head. For many of us who spend all day seated at desks or doing the same workout routine over and over, yoga stretches and strengthens muscles that don’t get the attention they deserve, thus balancing out the fitness of your whole body.
Yoga improves flexibility & range of motion. Whereas standard reps and cardio increase brute strength, yoga taps into and stretches underutilized muscles that have been barriers to success in other training. Jay Cutler, a former NFL quarterback and modern-day bodybuilding champion, credits yoga for stretching sinews that allowed him to bench press heavier weights.
Yoga sharpens your mind. The introspection that is core part of practicing yoga actually improves cognition. In a 2013 study, researchers found that those who practiced yoga performed significantly better on cognitive agility tests than those who did nothing and those who performed aerobic exercises.
Yoga improves breathing and stamina. A 2012 study from the International Journal of Yoga indicated that regular yoga can help alleviate Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, which makes it increasingly difficult to breath. A subsequent study in 2015 found that yoga can also help alleviate the ailments associated with coronary artery disease.
Yoga keeps your body clean. Much of the twisting and contorting that yoga imposes on the body are known to help the body excrete unwanted matter and toxins. Furthermore, regular yoga permeates the rest of your life and makes you more conscious of what you eat, how long you sit, and how much water you’re drinking, all of which improve the chemical composition and purity of your body.
Women have had a monopoly on yoga for much too long. For the sake health, fitness, and mind, men should jump on the yoga bandwagon sooner rather than later.