When we speak of men and their fitness activities, what usually comes to mind are competitive sports – basketball, football, baseball, etc. – activities where the stereotypical aggression can be let out in the choice of sport. Trying out yoga therefore might be the last thing in your mind. You’ll be surprised though, it might actually be what you need in order to improve your body health.
Yoga originated in India thousands of years and it was actually mostly done by men. So what happened during the transition of the Eastern practice to its move to the West? Why is it now considered an exercise for women, or an activity equated with the feminine? Recent surveys indicate that out of the twenty million people who practice it, sixty-two percent are between 18 to 44 years old. Almost two-thirds of that number has practiced for less than three years. These people spend twenty-seven billion dollars in total to get the best classes, equipment and gear. And yet, only 18 percent are men.People all over the world have varied motivations for yoga. Some may start to do so for flexibility, but other reasons range from general conditioning to overall health improvement. The benefits are undeniable. So why is yoga still a no-no for the bro?
WHY MEN HESITATE
To practice yoga is itself a step to an overall lifestyle change. What happens in the studio does not just stay in the studio – practitioners apply it to their everyday lives. The man newbie has to overcome some social, mental and physical obstacles in order to start this change, and will probably be thinking along these lines:
“Alright fine, I’ll try it for one class.”
Yoga is not considered manly by most people. There is no wrong or right opinion about it, but it is what it is. Therefore, it takes a brave man (or someone who gave in to a nagging sister/girlfriend/mom) to sign up for a class. Sure, it isn’t something you announce in Facebook as your new hobby to try. Yes, you wouldn’t want to buy a mat just yet (ain’t ready for that kind of commitment!) and, you’ll probably mess up the jargon at first. Do not let it worry you. We’re used to thinking that some activities are gender-based, but a session will definitely change your mind.
“I’m the only guy in this class.”
You walk in the studio and you see a room full of ladies laying their mats down. What do you do? Run right back out? Pretend that you’re just looking for your wife? No, stay put! You’ll probably get scared off by the instructor who does an unnatural bending of legs around her head, or get distracted by the girl in front of you with her cute clothes showing her distracting legs. But remember, you’re doing this for yourself. You can’t help it if men don’t see this as the sport-to-try, but studios aren’t going to fill up with men if you don’t start.
“Why can’t I reach my toes sideways?!”
It might be your third class and the lady beside you is trying this out for the first time, but she gets the hang of it faster than you did. It’s not something you should feel bad about. As men age they tend to lose some of their flexibility. That could be one of the reason you try this exercise. Everything is difficult in the beginning.
Some forms may be relaxing, but the intense classes may be painful. The key is consistency. So no matter the pain level, you have to come back to class. That’s the only way you reap the benefits.
Body: Overall strength and flexibility can be improved by routine practices. You don’t just sit around and talk about feelings in class. An hour’s worth of intense session can be equivalent to the bench-press you do at the gym. Loosen tight muscles by all the stretching done and you’ll find that daily activities won’t be so strenuous anymore.
Inner Peace: Feeling stressed? Yoga can be an effective outlet to your mental and physical tension. As your lifestyle is changed, all aspects of it are synced to help you live the best life, affecting even eating and sleeping patterns. It also channels sexual energy, decreasing premature ejaculation and increasing sexual endurance. Now that’s peace of mind for you.
Overall Mindset: Consistent practice develops the mindset that keeps you calm and grounded amidst stress. Therein helps the meditation part of the practice. Pushing your mental and physical limits can help you set goals, develop performance, and effectively manage stress. It will make you feel better and younger in time.
TRY A CLASS TODAY
You know you’ve been curious about it – which is exactly why you’re on this page reading about Yoga. Sure, depending on the turn of your luck, you might end up being the only guy in a class of twenty. Start by reading reviews online to find out which class suits your needs. You should just remember that this is not a competition over who bends the most or who holds the post longest. You are challenging yourself for your improvement.