Health and fitness for most men either relies on strength training and/or running. There is a good reason for this.
The benefits of lifting weights for increased self-esteem, physical and mental toughness, not to mention looking great, are well known. All men should do it, and if you aren’t why not? Get motivated and get back in the gym.
With that said, weightlifting and occasionally pounding the streets or treadmill shouldn’t be the only exercise you do. There should always be room for other things that bring something new (and awesome) to the table.
Yoga is that other thing.
Yoga benefits for men far outweigh the initial discomfort you may feel exercising in a small room with a load of flexible women wearing tight sweatpants. Also the embarrassment you might feel of having a 500-pound deadlift but not being able to do the same yoga poses as the 60-year old grandmother next to you.
These things don’t matter. In the long run it is your physical and mental health that is the most important thing, and yoga is great for both.
Here are 8 awesome yoga benefits for men:
1) Yoga helps to reduce stress and improves sleep quality
Yoga has been used for thousands of years as a way to cultivate positive mental states and a sense of wellbeing. It has proven itself to be an excellent treatment for almost all forms of depression, anxiety and insomnia. Also, certain yogic poses, such as inversions, have been shown to improve sleep quality and offer a release from the stress that builds up within us. As well as this, the overall practice of yoga as an exercise and a philosophy helps us to cultivate mindfulness, teaching us to relax, teaching us to be aware of our breath, and to maintain a calm mental state throughout the day. In our lightning-fast, technology obsessed culture, yoga offers the perfect escape and an effective way to release the pressure valve.
2) Yoga can help make you better in bed
Every man wants to think that they have their bedroom skills up to scratch but there is always room for improvement. Studies into yoga have indicated that regular practice improves every area of sexual performance in men, teaching them how to better channel their sexual energy for enhanced mutual pleasure. The biggest benefits are said to be increased endurance, enhanced bodily sensitivity and a higher level of responsiveness with regards to your partner.
3) Yoga builds mental toughness
Just like lifting weights helps us to push through the pain barrier to our goals, yoga can help cultivate extreme levels of mental toughness. What’s so hard about a few stretches on a mat? Well, many of the poses and postures in yoga require extraordinary levels of balance, muscle coordination and mental focus. To the uninitiated, holding certain poses for long periods of time will be extremely uncomfortable, even painful, no matter how in shape you think you are right now. Pushing through the discomfort until you are confident will build significant mental resilience to challenges, sending you a long way on your journey to building a bulletproof mindset.
4) Yoga can improve our other types of training
The considerable physical benefits of yoga ae largely unknown by those who would benefit from them most, namely athletes, bodybuilders, as well as normal people who take their training seriously. Yoga actually has the power to increase our strength, improve our flexibility, and enhance our stamina, all extremely important factors in consistent high-level physical activity. For those who lift weight with the purpose to build muscle, yoga has been proven to widen our range of motion and increase the amount of muscle fibres we have access to. As a result, it has the potential to help skyrocket our hypertrophy gains.
5) Yoga can help improve and correct posture
Our predominant posture determines how pain-free our bodies will be in the years to come. It also plays an important role on a subconscious level, through the medium of body language, indicating to others through non-verbal mechanisms just how fit, strong and confident we are feeling. Yoga can have a huge impact on this. For one, it teaches us how to be in control of our bodies, specifically the upper-body muscles and abdominals. When we become aware of how much influence these muscles have on our daily comfort, as well as how others perceive us, we will automatically stand straighter and expand our chests, in turn giving off an aura of confidence and masculinity. We will, over time, and with consistent application of yogic principles, also stretch and loosen any tight muscles we may have, naturally taking up more space and appearing more dominant in social situations. It’s a win-win.
6) Yoga helps to prevent injury
When we train hard with heavy weights and take part in sports, we are naturally risking the chance of injury. It is a rare athlete who doesn’t carry around at least one or two niggles at least some of the time. Yoga can help us with this too, having being proven to prevent and protect us from injuries. It does this by keeping our usually tight muscles supple and well-stretched. As a result, they recover faster, we are less sore post-exercise, and – thanks to the calming aspect of yoga – we have an increasingly realistic perspective of our natural bodily limits.
7) Yoga can help relieve chronic back pain
A huge portion of the population – old and young – suffers from chronic back pain on a daily basis. Cause by our sedentary modern lifestyles, yoga is one of the best ways to counteract all of the days we have spent sitting behind desks or watching the television. The poses and postures that we learn to execute and hold can help significantly with any pain or misalignment you may be suffering from. The ability of yoga to improve our posture will also help with this (see above).
8) Yoga is a practice that we can do anywhere
Unless you have a set of weights and a space at home to exercise, your current physical condition is somewhat dependent on the gym. If you are a cyclist or tennis player, the pleasure and benefits you derive from physical activity are conditional on a bike and racquet. Yoga, on the other hand, needs no equipment and can be practiced anywhere. It is a discipline that is limited only by your willingness to perform it, which has far-reaching applications we may not immediately consider, especially when we are travelling or away from our normal routine and want to maintain our fitness levels.