In the western world, Yoga is very much considered an exercise form for women, but traditionally Yoga was only taught to men. There was no such thing as a Yoga class but simply the Yogi and his student. It took years of mental and physical practice to master Yoga, this at least has not changed.
Many men in the western world think that yoga is not for them, simply because they are not naturally flexible and because classes are dominated by women. However the benefits for men are immense
Full body workout: Yoga is a full body workout. Throughout a class you will most likely use every system in your body including: cardiovascular, skeletal, muscular and endocrine.
Additionally yoga will work every muscle, joint and organ in your body and classes are structured to add energy into your body instead of taking it out like traditional exercise.
Similarly the different types of yoga offer the opportunity to work on where you limitations are: If you want to build up your strength versus increase your flexibility, you can choose the right type of yoga for you.
Stress Relief and Increased Focus: Life today is stressful and any opportunity you have to clear your mind and just breathe is going to have a profound effect on your day. Hatha yoga specifically is fantastic for stress relief using slow movements and focused breathing to clear the mind and relieve the body of stress. Yin yoga classes are also often used as a deep relaxation and are often described as “a massage from the inside”. Reduced stress levels also result the ability to focus better on the important things in life.
Resistance Training: Yoga uses your body weight as resistance to move into and stay in a pose. The heavier you are the more resistance so yoga can often be a challenging class for men. The benefits of resistance training are endless including: increased metabolism, tendon and ligament strength and endurance, increased bone density, increased cardiovascular function, improved joint function and a decrease in the potential for injury.
Improved Sexual function: Yoga makes you stronger, and because it’s a full body workout that includes your sexual organs too. Some poses, like eagle pose, sends fresh blood and oxygen to the sexual organs. Improved flexibility is naturally a great benefit as well as improved strength and endurance.
Improved muscle soreness: Most exercise builds up a lot of lactic acid in the muscles. This leads to muscle fatigue and soreness. Yoga poses that stretch the muscles help to flush this lactic acid away helping your body recover from traditional forms of exercise quicker. Runners and cyclists find yoga after a long run / ride to be hugely beneficial for their recovery.
So ladies grab your man and drag him to your next yoga class, whilst he may not don a pair of yoga pants, he will still get the benefits (and so will you).