Men do yoga too!

A couple of weeks ago I posted a little bit on Facebook about International Men’s Day, and how yoga can really help Men stay healthy. I thought I might explore that some more in this blog!

Men do yoga too!

Focused on the Dancer posture

There is increasingly more coverage of men “doing” yoga. Ryan Giggs famously puts his long and successful football career down to “Hard work, strict diet and yoga”. We had all the pictures of our World Cup squad practising their yoga between matches, and male celebrities are now frequently snapped with yoga mats under their arms.

I love this! And the reason I get excited by such publicity is because men at yoga classes can be a rare breed (maybe not in LA, but they are in Batley!). When I first started teaching, nearly 2o years ago, I could count the men I saw at classes on one hand, pioneering souls braving rooms full of women, but they came because they could really feel the benefits of practising. The tide though is definitely now turning and men are slowly but surely starting to venture into the yoga room – I now have to use ten hands to count my Inside Out men, with one class being almost a 50 / 50 split men and women, which is fabulous.

The interesting thing is that yoga was traditionally practised only by men (and any lady who has done the locust posture (Salabasana) will testify that yoga was designed by a man!) and it is only when yoga was brought to the west that women became involved. The view of the middle aged ladies doing gentle stretches is outdated and happily yoga is now, again, being practised by men. The author Tony Parsons once described his yoga experience thus:

It’s gentle but there is nothing soft about it; non competitive, yet demanding….Real men do yoga.

I’ve seen quite a few body builders over the years, coming to yoga because they know they need to improve their core strength, posture and improve flexibility – big hulking blokes who are shocked to find they can’t lift their own body weight in Boat pose or balance on one leg; or keen cyclists and runners quivering in down Face Dog, desperately needing to stretch out their legs and hips; professional rugby players unable to relax into a forward bend; keen golfers amazed to find that they can only move on one side and then realising how much their game has improved when they become more balanced.

And you know what? They’ve all benefited massively from the practises they’ve been given.

Many professional sports teams and sports men include yoga in their fitness regime. Professional athletes (NFL, NBA, NHL) in the US, have long used yoga to help them prolong their careers. Liverpool FC have used Dru Yoga particularly to target / reduce hamstring injuries and The All Blacks have practised yoga for years (and those are some big blokes!).

So, come on guys and do yourself a favour, get yourself to a yoga class and discover how yoga can help you. I’ve listed below some of the benefits the men who’ve come to Inside Out Dru Yoga classes tell us they’ve experienced.

  •  Huge improvement in joint flexibility and back health
  •  Learnt how to stretch safely – reduced incidence of injury and improved recovery time
  •  Significantly lower blood pressure
  •  Improved recovery time from hernia operations.
  •  Increased lung capacity – able to train harder, improved stamina, helped with quitting smoking, or simply able to breathe easier
  •  Reduced stress
  •  Gained calm, focus and clarity
  •  Better night’s sleep

I have to admit,  you might still be in a minority at classes, but seriously, don’t the benefits far out weigh the slight possibility of feeling awkward for the first few minutes?

And ladies, encourage your partners to come along, because yoga will also help your man:

  • Look after his heart, liver and prostate gland
  • Manage weight and tone up a cuddly tummy
  • Manage conditions such as diabetes….and…
  • Reduce snoring!

Until next time, take care and keep practising your cobras, eagles and warriors – all manly sounding poses and in case you still think it’s a bit soft, I can guarantee there’s no posture called fluffy kitten (although there is a Goddess pose!) For more information on how yoga can help you please drop us a line to isabel@yogainsideout.co.uk

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