If you think yoga is just for women, you are mistaken. Yoga offers a host of physical and mental health benefits for everyone, from children to seniors — including men! Here are five important benefits that men can reap from stepping onto their mats and practicing yoga regularly.
While there are multiple types of yoga, some of which offer a more peaceful and restorative yoga practice, Vinyasa yoga often provides a great opportunity to build internal heat and strength. In fact, many yoga poses (asanas) are full-body moves that involve using one’s own body weight to build strength. If you are in doubt, try a vigorous Vinyasa class and you’ll most likely find that your muscles are sore the next day.
In addition to building strength, practicing yoga regularly helps improve flexibility, which is especially important if you are a male who strength trains often. Without including a stretching component into a regular strength-training routine, you might find your muscles contracting and feeling tight. Adding in a regular yoga practice can help counteract muscle tightness and inflexibility after your hard weight-lifting workouts.
Relief From Back Pain
Many men sit at a desk all day for work or participate in sports that often cause back injuries. No matter what the cause, men are finding that yoga helps relieve their back pain. Inyengar yoga — a form of Hatha yoga that uses props, such as straps and blocks, to assist the practitioner in certain poses — is particularly helpful in providing back pain relief.
Did you know that yoga has been shown to be more effective at relieving digestive problems than taking antacids? In particular, practicing twisting and forward-bending postures massages the internal organs, encouraging proper digestion. In addition to soothing an upset stomach and bowel problems, yoga has also been shown to improve the body’s absorption of nutrients and increase energy levels.
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have documented a large number of studies that link routine yoga practice to decreased stress levels. Yoga stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps counter the body’s flight-or-fight response to stressors. Ultimately, this helps decrease the body’s production of cortisol, a stress hormone. Given that too much cortisol in the body can disrupt thyroid function, increase blood pressure, lead to inflammation and damage muscle tissue, limiting the body’s production of this stress hormone is important to overall health and well-being.
Want to Know More?
If you are a male — or female — who would like to learn more about the benefits of yoga, we invite you to join us for a class. We offer beginner, intermediate and advanced classes, so you will find the one that is right for you. In addition, we can give you tips to help you ease into a regular yoga practice.
Hailing from East County San Diego, Kaleen Moran (she/her) is an English major at Cuyamaca College and a young yoga enthusiast. Her free time is spent out in nature, whether her feet are on the trail, nose is in a book, or notebook and pen are in her hands. She finds solace in mountain tops, her dogs and cat, books and poetry, good vegetarian food, and the loving embraces of her family and friends.
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