A world turned upside down—that's yoga for most men because, unlike football, hockey, or baseball yoga is, seemingly, a woman's domain. According to a 2005 Yoga Journal market study, 77 percent of the yoga practitioners in America are female. Legendary teachers like Anusara Yoga founder John Friend and Power Yoga instructor Baron Baptiste believe the numbers might be even higher.
It's not that men don't know they are missing. Nowadays, there seems to be a yoga studio on every corner; Raleigh alone has more than a dozen of quality studios. Men see their wives, girlfriends, and girl-friends strutting yoga fit bods, standing proud and tall, and living a tranquil yet productive lifestyle due to the practice, but most men still refuse to try the discipline.
So why do so many men stay away? A recent yoga journal article shows that there are "social, physical, and emotional realities that discourage men from practicing." It takes a "strong" man and a brave man to tackle the discipline because not only is it socially unacceptable fr a man to hit up a yoga studio for a session of zen and flow, it also forces men to delve deeper into their phsyical and emotional databases that they are used to doing with a game of pickup soccer, for example. Read HERE for a further explanation of these three obstacles and what you can do to overcome them.
As an aspiring Yogi and lover of the discipline, I recommend yoga to all demographics; male or female, indian or latino, young or old...
Yoga enables presence of mind and body. In today's society we are so bogged down by the future, the next step, the next turn that we forget to see the forest for the trees. Practicing presence, or staying in the moment as many people call it actually enhances productivity and balance. Yoga enables this process to begin for many through the awareness of and importance of breathing and posture, one breaht a
Yoga balances strength with flexibility: Many lifelong athletes have a repertoire of injuries. They may be strong or have a lot of cardio endurance but they neglect to stretch enough. Yoga combines strength and endurance techniques with flexibility all in one package. Preventing injuries is a total plus!
Yoga lubricates the joints, ligaments and tendons: yoga positions exercise the different tendons and ligaments of the body. it has been found that the body which may have been quite rigid starts experiencing a remarkable flexibility in even those parts which have not been consciously work upon. Why? It is here that the remarkable research behind yoga positions proves its mettle. Seemingly unrelated “non strenuous” yoga positions act upon certain parts of the body in an interrelated manner. When done together, they work in harmony to create a situation where flexibility is attained relatively easily.
Yoga massages the organs: Yoga is perhaps the only form of activity which massages all the internal glands and organs of the body in a thorough manner, including those – such as the prostate - that hardly get externally stimulated during our entire lifetime. Yoga acts in a wholesome manner on the various body parts. This stimulation and massage of the organs in turn benefits us by keeping away disease and providing a forewarning at the first possible instance of a likely onset of disease or disorder.
So get "bendy" men. The benefits far outweigh the social stigma, and your bodies will thank you. Your women friends will probably like it too :)
For a list of Raleigh Yoga Studios please visit this link