Why don’t more men do yoga?
It’s a very good question and one I can completely relate to. But it’s a shame, because yoga is hugely beneficial to all on many levels and yes, us men are included in that list too.
I can understand that men might be daunted by walking into a room with soft music, incense and woman bending in all manner of positions. But if men could overcome that initial, let’s call it fear, then the rewards are huge, not only on a physical level, but yoga can also help develop a more positive view on life. Yoga really is a full body and mind workout.
A great example of this is Surya Namaskar or Salute to the Sun, which is a fantastic all round body and mind workout and is considered the best of all Yoga exercises. It stretches, compresses, arches and reinforces all the major muscles of the body, as well as the digestive and respiratory organs and helps develop flexibility, strength, balance, concentration and focus.
As a 6ft 5in tall larger than life ex-rugby player, I’m not really your typical yogi. At 40, following a successful military career and as a sports enthusiast, I found myself stressed, full of aches and pains and any flexibility I once may have had seemed to have almost completely gone.
When yoga was first suggested to me I was, to say the least, sceptical. However I gave it a go and quickly realised that through yoga I could still achieve strength, stamina and flexibility, but in a calm and mindful way rather than on a competitive, testosterone-fuelled sports field. I also discovered that many sports professionals use yoga to enhance their performance to reduce the risk of injury and maintain their health.
In sport, Yoga can help offset any physical irregularities that men may acquire from sporting and physical activities. Yoga can help loosen tight muscles, bring the body back into its natural aliment and thereby improving sporting performance. In many sporting activities one would usually utilise about 10 to 15 per cent of the body. Yoga provides a full workout that covers every muscle, joint and organ, creating more energy when you finish the exercise as opposed to depleting the body of it. You work every system; cardiovascular, skeletal, muscular and endocrine.
However, the benefits go beyond the sports-field. Yoga improves your immune system, balances the mind, allowing mental clarity and calmness thus reducing stress and depression. It can help combat age-related diseases like impotence, prostate conditions, osteoporosis and heart problems. And, to get personal, yoga has many benefits in the bedroom department too. There are some yoga postures that send fresh oxygenated blood to the sexual organs, improving confidence, passion and revitalising a man bedroom prowess.
For me, Yoga soon replaced my rugby playing and several years ago, I completed my yoga training with some fantastic teachers to become an accredited Yoga Alliance teacher. I now dedicate my life to teaching in Hampshire and on holidays abroad my unique freestyle yoga and meditation, which is fun and rewarding to all.
My classes are aimed at both men and women of any age looking for a more fun and rewarding style of Yoga. I find that by encompassing the ‘yin and yang’, which are the feminine and the masculine energies, brings a wonderful balance, which my students love.
Many men already attend my classes, workshops and holidays and I hope to encourage more men to lose the fear and feel the energy of yoga. I can guarantee they won’t regret it.
Mitch @ Mitch yoga