Yoga has unfortunately become classed as a feminine type of exercise causing most men to dismiss it. Yet, this simply isn’t true. Some of the best teachers I have known have been male and the benefits, both emotionally and physically, apply for all bodies. Yoga is becoming increasingly accepted by men, but it still has a way to go. In order to challenge this stereotype, this blog posts discusses some of the reasons that men shouldn’t be so dismissive of yoga.
Professional male athletes from professional snowboarders to body builders have been integrating yoga into their workout routine for years. Yes, even male role models like Mr. Universe and the New Zealand All Blacks include yoga as part of their training. This is because yoga has some significant benefits for professional athletes such as protecting the body from injury, improving balance and flexibility, and increasing overall strength and muscle.
Yoga has many physical benefits that compliment weight training regimes. Many men only focus on specific aspects of their body, such as biceps, triceps, etc., during their daily work out. This means that smaller muscles, such as stabilizer muscles, are often ignored. Stabilizer muscles not only help to protect your joints from injury, but also enhance your balance.
A good yoga class works the whole body. Even basic yoga poses, such as downward dog or lateral twists, work muscles that are not commonly worked within lifting regimes and can help improve your overall health.
Yoga compliments other training regimes by increasing your range of motion. Almost everyone recognises that they have a tight muscle group. Tight muscles restrict your movements, which in turn restricts your ability to build certain muscles. Increased flexibility has been demonstrated to increase deadlift strength.
Yoga focuses on overall flexibility, which increases your range of motion particularly within tight muscle groups. Through opening up these muscle groups with a regular yoga practice, you can expect to experience better results from your normal workout.
These are just some of the reasons why yoga is becoming increasingly popular with men. At Sunshine Yoga, we have classes specifically tailored to complement sport activities. Matt teaches Yoga for Sports Flow every Tuesday at 20:30 and has recently begun to offer private classes for sports teams.
In order to explore this subject a little further, we spoke with Matt.
What initially attracted you to yoga? Were you hesitant about it not being considered a masculine form of exercise?
I was far from the reluctant, refusing type, however I had very little understanding and appreciation for Yoga growing up in a typically male-dominated sporting environment and simply had no access to it. It was a friends recommendation that took me along to my first class about 5 years ago. At that time I was doing a lot of distance running and was told to give Yoga a go to support my training. Feeling bullish I threw myself into a hot Yoga studio but quickly had to come to terms with my rather humbled practise!
Being both extremely challenging yet so clearly beneficial for the body I was immediately attracted to the powerful class, and although It took me a while longer to practise consistently , I was aware after that first session that Yoga was not something to be dismissed.
Are there any other benefits for the male body?
On the physical level Yoga benefits are well documented, building muscle strength, balance and flexibility anyone taking up a regular practise will begin to see that very quickly. Yoga though explores looking after both body and mind, embracing this aspect can have greater impact on your overall health. Learning to deal with stress and your state of mind are some of the wonderful benefits of embracing Yoga.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to do yoga, but nervous about being teased by their mates?
They wouldn’t be mates otherwise right? But that’s not going to stop you. If you are drawn to trying Yoga it will be the best decision you ever make for yourself. There is never a bad time to start and soon enough your mates will be down for it too!
Join Matt at Sunshine Yoga or ask him to come and teach at your office or sports team.
Tuesday 20:30 – Yoga for Sports Flow
Friday 07:00 – Sunrise Yoga
Saturday 09:00 – Vinyasa Flow
Sunday 10:15 – Power Yoga