Fitness

Why You Should Be Doing Yoga

Most Western Men Don’t Do Yoga

Yoga was actually developed by men several thousand years ago in Northern India, and women were traditionally not even allowed to participate in it. You’d never know that yoga used to be male-dominated since the modern-day yoga class is comprised of almost all women. After yoga was brought to the western world in the late 1800s and early 1900s, it took on less of a spiritual slant and more of a physical one. You definitely do not have to practice the lifestyle habits of yoga to see real benefits in your health and life. So, why aren’t guys into yoga?

Men Who Tried it and Didn’t Like It

Some guys have braved the yoga studio after being urged to by a friend or girlfriend but found that it just wasn’t for them. They reported feeling bored or finding that some of the poses were so hard that they were afraid to go back. There are so many yoga classes and styles out there, that if you fall into this category, it’s possible you were just in the wrong class with the wrong teacher.

Some Men Won’t Even Attempt It

The guys who wouldn’t dream of stepping foot into a yoga studio usually say that it is “for girls,” that they aren’t flexible enough to do it, or that it’s not a good workout. The non-competitive nature of yoga turns a lot of men off from even giving it a chance.

The General Benefits of Yoga

Yoga has been studied for its health benefits for decades, and it is undoubtedly a great way to improve your overall level of fitness. For starters, you can increase your strength and flexibility. If you are avoiding yoga because you think you aren’t flexible enough, that’s precisely the reason you should try it out. There’s only one way to get more flexible, and that’s by stretching regularly. Yoga can also lower your heart rate and blood pressure. It can help to reduce or alleviate back pain. Finally, it can boost your mood by preventing or improving anxiety and depression.

Four Types of Yoga to Try

It seems like new yoga studios are regularly popping up on every street corner, but which one should you try? There are many styles and even class types within those styles.

  • Yin Yoga

    If you’re just starting out and are intimidated by the idea of getting yourself into a pretzel pose, try Yin yoga. It’s also known as restorative yoga. It’s a great style of yoga for all levels but is especially accessible for beginners. During a Yin yoga class, you would hold supported therapeutic poses for 5 to 15 minutes each. Not only will it help with flexibility, but Yin yoga also releases fascia and increases your level of mobility. It’s great to do after a heavy work out to be sure to stretch all of those hard-worked muscles. Yin yoga focuses on the lower body and largest muscle groups, like the quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves.

  • Hatha Yoga

    This is a very traditional branch of yoga and involves different poses and lifestyle changes that support a yogic lifestyle. Hatha yoga also incorporates yogic breathing techniques. During a hatha yoga class, you would move through specific poses with the breath. For example, you might bend down and try to touch your toes while exhaling, then come back up on an inhale. Poses are also held for a certain number of breaths to get the full benefits of each pose.

  • Hot Yoga

    Hot yoga is very popular, and many studios specialize in this type of yoga. Yoga poses, or a flow of poses are performed in a heated room. It is usually heated anywhere from 90 to 100 degrees, and the humidity is lowered. Different styles of yoga can be performed in a hot setting, so try a few out before you decide if hot yoga is for you. Also, various studios and teachers may heat the room to a different level, so just because one studio was way too hot for your taste doesn’t mean another won’t be just right. Be careful trying this if you have any type of heart disorder or other health issues. Speak to your doctor before signing up for a hot yoga class.

  • Ashtanga Yoga

    If you want a real challenge, you can try this advanced and very intense form of yoga. When you study Ashtanga yoga, you learn a series of poses in a specific sequence. You will also work with just one teacher who will teach you new poses as you master the poses you have already been taught. There are several levels of Ashtanga – the primary, intermediate, and advanced series. Each of these levels takes many years to master, and you may actually stay in the primary series forever. Ashtanga yoga offers a meditative practice that you actually memorize, so it can be done at home or on the road while traveling. The risks of this type of yoga are injuries related to pushing yourself too hard or repetitive movements since you will be doing the same set of poses for 90 minutes, six days per week. If you’re looking for a disciplined and advanced style of yoga, though, this is the one to try.

The Final Takeaways

Besides the fact that a yoga class is a great place to meet women, there are tons of benefits to be had by integrating yoga into your fitness routine. Your flexibility will improve, and you will be able to strengthen some tiny, hard-to-reach muscles that you can’t address with regular weightlifting. Experiment with different styles, studios, classes, and teachers, and you just might find that you really like yoga and find it to be an integral part of your fitness routine. Yoga is a discipline that can be practiced for your whole life unlike many sports, and the added benefits of flexibility and balance will come in quite useful as you age.

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