Based on the recent 2016 Yoga in America Study, only 28% of yoga practitioners are men. Considering the benefits of yoga for everyone, why are men more resistant? These reasons are likely to be the same for all people: namely, people who haven’t done yoga before are unsure if it is right for them and they don’t know how to get started.
So besides the fact that classes are statistically made up of 72% women (who are likely wearing tight pants), here are five other reasons that men should be doing yoga.
Build Strength and Tone
Though most men first think of weightlifting as the best method for improving muscle strength and tone, yoga is very effective. Holding poses with just bodyweight for several minutes can easily require more strength and resistance than a weight and several reps.
Consider the bodies and strength of gymnasts. They are strong and toned and their sport relies on being able to control and manipulate their bodyweight.
Yoga also easily allows modification and progression. As you start out and as you get more advanced, the poses can change to allow for improvement and increased strength capacity.
Flexibility is one of the biggest reasons why people think they can’t do yoga. The point isn’t to come to yoga already flexible (though there are those rare few), but to practice and improve flexibility.
The poses will slowly work their magic. The more you practice, the more flexible you will become. Without yoga, many will not make enough effort to improve their flexibility.
Through yoga you learn how to listen to your body and watch your mind. Breathing techniques and becoming mindful help reduce stress.
Through moving and controlling the body you can better understand the mind. As you become more mindful and attached to your breath you will better manage stress.
In addition to the physical benefits associated with building strength, yogis can improve their performance in other sports and activities. Through training, yoga will improve your understanding of your body in space and develop balance and control.
Yoga will also help you recover faster. Through the poses, you stretch your muscles and you increase oxygen to the muscles, reduce toxins and become more aware of your body’s capabilities and when you are pushing too hard.
Healthy, warm and limber muscles will help prevent injury and help you heal faster. This is especially helpful when you are training in other sports as well.
Many professional athletes and teams have taken up yoga, like LeBron James and the Seattle Seahawks NFL team. This shows that people at the pinnacle of their sport and athleticism get value from doing yoga!
Get a Good Workout
Many people associate yoga with just sitting on a mat and stretching. However, there are many forms of yoga. They range from therapeutic or restorative to powerful. Though all forms are beneficial in different ways, you can find the practice that works best for you. If you want to feel the heat try a Bikram (hot) yoga class. If you want to get a good cardio workout try a Vinyasa or Power yoga class. These will build strength, flexibility and make you sweat.
Many of my favorite yoga teachers are men. Early yoga teachings come from men. So, now we just need to convince more men to do it.
Now, we have gotten you started! What comes next? Try yoga teacher training in India or a week-long retreat in Bali. Take your yoga journey on new adventures!