Like most average guys, I was suspicious of yoga. Mostly because the stereotypical urban-sherpa has always been high on my list of people to smack, just below Justin Bieber and Kesha… sorry, Ke$ha. I mean, it seems a little farfetched that you can get a workout by standing on a foam mat while moving slow and holding postures like downward dog. I’ve probably done yoga by accident while driving to work.
Real men know that workouts require blood, sweat and tears. No pain, no gain! Right? Well, not really. Yoga has been around for over 5,000 years because it works, and you don’t need to shop at Himalayan tribal art stores and eat copious amounts of granola to reap the benefits. Here are some proven benefits the average guy can enjoy by taking up yoga:
The Y chromosome is notorious for chronic back pain. Yoga brings fluid back into tight joints and gives a better range of motion to your muscles which will alleviate back pain and also improve your overall posture.
Many yoga positions require you to support the weight of your body in strange contortions. Holding these positions simultaneously strengthens and loosens your muscles, which is unique considering most weight lifting actually tightens your muscles and ligaments.
Most forms of exercise drain your body of energy, whereas yoga does the opposite—it gives you energy. After a yoga class, you feel energetic and revitalized, ready to take on the world.
Some yoga positions specifically target the thyroid gland, which stimulates your metabolism and increases your ability to burn fat. Also, proper yoga breathing increases the amount of oxygen your fat cells absorb, which also helps you shed some pounds.
It’s hard to believe that something that doesn’t require a helmet or even running shoes can boost stamina, but yoga’s deep and controlled breathing distributes oxygen throughout your entire body, which after time increases your stamina.
Aside from the obvious benefits of increased flexibility, yoga provides many physical advantages that can liven up your sex life. Eagle pose is particularly good at strengthening muscles that may come in handy in the bedroom, while also sending fresh blood and oxygen to the sexual organs.
Your first couple yoga classes may be a little nerve racking, but it doesn’t take long for yoga to melt the stress away. The high mental and physical concentration that’s required takes your mind away from the office, that upcoming presentation and what you’re going to have for dinner.
High school gym class seems a lifetime away for those who can’t touch their toes. Don’t worry, there’s still hope. Practicing yoga a couple times a week will increase your flexibility exponentially. Also, some of the more obscure yoga positions target muscles that aren’t even on the radar screen, let alone exercised. You’ll find yourself moving in ways you never knew possible.