Although yoga is often associated with flexible women in expensive yoga gear, I’ve found that men really enjoy it too, once they give it a chance. More and more men are finding that adding yoga into their busy lives helps them reduce aches and pains, sleep better, and perform better in their chosen sports, from hockey and rugby, to golf and running. A quick Google search provides an impressive list of male athletes who do yoga: LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal, Andy Murray, Pete Sampras, Evander Holyfield, Tim Thomas, Wayne Gretzky, the New Zealand All Blacks, and many Olympians. At Creating Space Yoga, regular guys and athletes can enjoy the benefits of yoga.
Here are 9 reasons that men love yoga:
- Yoga gives you more flexibility – nothing makes you feel older than struggling to reach down and tie your shoes! Ditto walking like an old man when you get out of a chair or throwing your back out doing ordinary household chores. Yoga eases out stiff shoulders, hips, and hamstrings so you can stand tall and relaxed. A regular yoga practice also reduces lower back pain.
- Yoga works the whole body – in contrast to many sports, yoga loosens up and tones the whole body, from head to toe. It’s a great way to balance out your body if you do any “one-side” activities like golf, where you twist and work one side of the body in the same motion again and again.
- Yoga is adaptable to any body type – there is a yoga practice for everybody, from the triathlete to the couch potato. Whatever your level of fitness or past injuries, your yoga teacher can guide you through a class that will leave you challenged, relaxed and refreshed.
- Yoga teaches focus – every one of the classes at CSY begins with a brief relaxation (Shivasana). This is the time to begin to bring your attention to your body, to your yoga practice, to your breathing, to the moment at hand. The mind and the body become quiet, focusing on the tasks at hand, and this quiet focus continues to the end of the class. (Okay, we sometimes joke around too!) With regular yoga classes, men can come back to this quiet focus at any time, during stressful moments at work, in the car, or while playing (or watching!) sports.
- Yoga lowers blood pressure – a recent study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis demonstrated that a yoga practice could lower blood pressure.
- Yoga is less expensive than a massage and can be done anywhere – after a yoga class, students feel relaxed, similar to what we feel after a massage, but a yoga class is much less expensive and you can even do it at home. I think of it as “a massage for your insides” – and no appointment required.
- Yoga improves balance – when you feel balanced, you walk and stand with confidence. Working on balance helps with all sporting activities as well.
- Yoga helps you get a better night’s sleep – my students have often told me that they sleep better on the nights they have a yoga class. A yoga class helps you to unwind, to let go of tensions that you hold all day, so that when your head hits the pillow, you’re already halfway to dreamland.
- Yoga gives a sense of wellbeing – after a class, you feel comfortable in your body (fewer aches and pains), and your mind is calm. You’ve done something good for your health, both physical and mental. With a regular yoga practice, you may feel a lower level of stress and anxiety in your life.
The secret is out: yoga makes you feel great. And that is why regular guys and athletes both love yoga.
written by Cheryl Smith
Yoga Stretch for Men class runs at Creating Space Yoga Studio on Mondays at 6:30pm - 7:45pm. New students are welcome and no yoga experience is needed!