I think the cultural stigma and stereotype of Yoga being a ‘girls sport’ has urged me to address this. So here I want to share with you how this is open for everyone! Men and even the kids too!
The main issue here is that people often associate yoga with flexibility and of course they associate that with women. Whilst it is important, it is not key and in fact strength is the main factor. Increasing body strength I know is very important to men and will help gain muscle, which is typically a big part of a man’s fitness routine (or at least the gym goers I know).
So why should a man choose Yoga? Well… I know most men will focus on muscles in specific areas – usually their biceps, shoulders, back etc and therefore tend to be weak everywhere else, but with yoga this builds the muscle evenly across the body ensuring a man can maintain conditioning.
I don’t know about you but all I hear from men in relation to their gym chat is deadlifts, right? Well, they’d be pleased to hear that again yoga actually increases this strength and a study has actually proven this (so therefore not just me being biased).
Hmm… have I persuaded you guys yet? Well, even more good news, of course – yoga will increase your flexibility, meaning you are less prone to injuries. If you look at Yogi’s the majority of us have an injury free record (me!) whereas men… well.. the amount of gym injuries I hear about is concerning! And another thing I’ve really noticed that whilst a man can be ‘hench’ / ‘ripped’ or however you’d like to describe in great shape they tend to only work on muscle building and actually forget about cardio, or do the bare minimum.
Yoga actually improves your cardiovascular system which of course will contribute to a better cardio workout! I can see why men don’t do Yoga – One of my close male friends who I convinced to start yoga, and who is a very ‘manly’ rugby playing landscaper, said to me that “it’s intimidating being the only man in the class” but…. That is no excuse! You don’t need to go to a class to do yoga, this can be done anywhere! I’ve taught him some basic moves (see some below) and now he just does these in the comfort of his own home.
However, if you’re brave enough to go to a class it would be more beneficial especially as a beginner to learn the basics but first, I want to clear up some misconceptions which men will automatically think… like “I need to know all the names of poses before I go” – no, you definitely do not, it’s a class and therefore you will be learning throughout, the instructor will always run through each pose (of course attend a beginners)
“I’m not flexible so how can I practice yoga?” – again, no. There is no need to be flexible, they actually say that if you are naturally flexible you could be at a disadvantage as you focus too much on how far into the pose you can get which in turn is going to of course cause injuries.
Thirdly, the biggest one I hear from not just men, but women too “yoga is easy, I don’t see this as a workout, it has no benefit to me” again, wrong! I know the classes I attend we actually all sweat buckets, so we must be working right? Ashtanga is known like a cardio and weight training session so give that a try if you really want to be challenged and let me know if you still have the same views thereafter!
If you aren’t brave enough to attend a class – here’s some at home workouts you can try!
- Chair Pose
- Downward Facing Dog
- Warrior One
- Standing Forward Fold
- Boat Pose
- Half Pigeon
- Upward Facing Dog
- Butterfly Pose
And, what do you need for these? Get yourself a good yoga mat and some blocks (some of these moves will require them) and you will be on your way! In terms of what you should wear, there are specific yoga clothing for men which you can buy from websites like YogaBloke and YogaMatters but otherwise Under Armour do a good sport range or any other sport brand like Nike etc!
So if I haven’t convinced you to make this your goal for 2017 yet then maybe start off with the partner workouts and move on to doing it alone, that way you can slowly ease yourself into it…. And to top it all off, nowadays male celebrities are taking part and even the NFL teams so it’s got to be doing some good to them!