Today, you can find yoga studios everywhere. Most gyms, including Fitness First, Gold’s Gym, 24 Hour Fitness and others offer yoga classes as well. But the one thing you’ll notice in most of these studios and classes is that there are very few men who do yoga. Research shows that while the popularity of yoga has grown in leaps and bounds over the last few years (55 million practitioners), 72% of them are women.
While this isn’t necessarily true for all, there are some common reasons why men don’t do yoga. Including:
- “I’m not flexible enough”
- “Yoga is for women”
- “Yoga is too spiritual”
The common misconception (among men) is that to be able to do yoga you need to be flexible. But that’s exactly why you do yoga – to be flexible. Even if you can’t touch your toes, with regular practice you can and will improve flexibility. The second reason being that yoga is too feminine and does not appeal to the competitive nature of men (at least not in the West). But yoga benefits both men and women. It just seems more appealing to women hence there are mostly women in yoga classes. And finally, even though yoga may include spiritual aspects, most focus on physical asanas (poses) instead of spiritual teachings. Guys can tap on yoga to connect with their inner self, their feelings and emotions.
Here are the main reasons why guys should give yoga a shot:
1. Yoga Improves Your Range Of Motion
Many guys know they have tightness in certain muscle groups including the pecs, shoulders, glutes and hamstrings. The tightness in these areas also limits their ability to train through a full range of motion. A well-designed yoga session will open up problem areas and will make your whole body flexible over time.
2. Yoga Improves Your Breathing
As a yoga class becomes more intense, the breathing slows down teaching teaches you to take in long, slow and deep breaths, expanding your lung capacity. With this, you’re training your body to learn how to use oxygen more efficiently which can be useful during cardio activity and strength training.
3. Yoga Strengthens Your Stabilizers
Unlike classic bodybuilding, yoga makes you stronger in every movement. Your stabilizer muscles will continue to get stronger and better. Yoga has many unique moves aside from downward dog, plank, and warrior poses which pushes your body to work in new ways, strengthening stabilizer muscles and improving joint health gradually.
4. Yoga Improves Your Balance
Yoga includes poses that can improve your balance. But other than this, it also encourages your body to move in new ways even when doing familiar poses.
5. Yoga Enhances Your Overall Fitness and Health
Training all the time will gradually lead to wear and tear on the body. Yoga not only helps you feel good after each session, but also offers health advantages. You learn efficient breathing which can lower blood pressure and reduce stress response. You’ll learn to focus and clear out distractions which is great for your mental health. It has also been shown to prevent issues associated with carpal tunnel, back pain, and sciatica among others.
Yoga may not be appealing to a lot of men but you can’t overlook its benefits. Try it a few times and you’ll know just how great it can be for your mind, body and overall wellness. Get started with your yoga journey with this 30-minute practice designed specially for men: