Many men are of the mindset that in order to lose weight and "get ripped", they have to lift tons of weights, work out for hours on end while sweating excessively, and suffer through Spartan war-like contests of will and endurance. While this approach to getting fit may be effective, it can also lead to stress and anxiety, and it isn't always the most enjoyable experience.
Well, it doesn't have to be that way. A high intensity workout can actually be quite enjoyable, and relaxing at the same time. How? With yoga, of course. Yoga is a centuries-old practice that combines physical exercises with exercises of the mind. It's become a pretty mainstream activity, but today it seems that women are the ones who are most interested in reaping its benefits. Ironically, believe it or not, in the past yoga was almost exclusively practiced by men. So theoretically, it's especially males who should enjoy the many benefits of yoga.
Is your curiosity peaked? Are you a man who's never tried yoga? Want to learn more before you start saluting the sun? Read on to find out about some of the things yoga can do for men.
Works Out Everything
While you may think that you're getting a killer workout by bench-pressing a ton of iron, the truth is: you're only working out a small percentage of your body when you do weights. Yoga, on the other hand, can work out every part of your body. All sorts of little muscles that you're not (yet) aware of, and small stabilizers that are hidden deep inside the crevices of your core, get a talking to with the right yoga workout. So, instead of turning into a stiff chunk of bulky meat with overdeveloped pectorals and triceps, you end up lean, strong, limber and get a great posture in the process.
All the various yoga poses help to stretch and build muscles, and the non-impact nature of yoga is good for your bones and joints. But yoga does more than that: combined with proper breathing exercises (pranayama), yoga practice helps to pump more oxygen through your blood. This promotes a healthier cardiovascular system, and it makes you feel good, too. Yoga truly provides a full-body workout.
An exercise regime that actually helps to de-stress you and calm you down? Yep, it's true! When you practice yoga, you aren't just using your body, you are also training your mind. But not in the way that you would while you're on a treadmill, trying to beat the other team, working at the office or paying the bills.
In yoga, you're focusing your brain on your body and on your breathing. It's a form of meditation, and you're clearing your mind of all of the stress and noise that cloud it. After a long and stressful day at work, a yoga session not only allows you to work out your body, but it helps you clear your mind so that you can feel more focused and peaceful. You feel more "Zen" afterwards.
Helps out in the Bedroom
Okay, this may not be the first thing that you think of when you are looking for a workout program, but it is certainly worth mentioning: yoga actually helps you to be a better lover. Yoga helps to build your endurance, sure, but it also increases your flexibility, which can make bedroom sessions a lot more, err, fun. Yoga teaches you some pretty interesting moves that can be useful in your love life. Does this sell you on practicing yoga?
Another fact that may help to sell you on the idea of checking out yoga: more than 80% of the people in the yoga classes out there are female, and women love guys who do yoga! Just in case you didn't know.
Ready to get your yoga on?
In recent years a number of "manly" yoga styles have popped up that are geared specifically towards guys. Broga® is one good example, but there are several others where the movements, stretches, and amount of strength components are tailored to appeal to guys. "It's not your Momma's Yoga" is the slogan for DDP Yoga, an online series of yoga workouts as taught by wrestling superstar Diamond Dallas Page.
So, are you interested? With yoga, men can enjoy an exercise routine that works out their entire body, releases stress, and enhances their experience in the bedroom. If you're a guy who's bored with the regular gym experience, who's perhaps looking to complement your bulk-building weights routine with a bit of stretching and toning, or if you're looking for a kinder, gentler way to improve the overall health of your mind and body, go find a yoga class.
Tara Heath - YogaTrail.com