Yes, that is right Yoga is for men too! So often I hear people say ‘Yoga is for chicks’, which I am guessing this means women, not baby birds. I think it is about time that this myth is knocked over once and for all.
Yoga is most definitely for men. Yoga is about awareness of the external world and how you interact with it. So what part exactly have we decided of that is not for men?
As a Yoga & Mindfulness Coach, I support growth in men and women, using Yoga as a vehicle to help unlock their infinite potential. So let's take a look right there for a minute. Men have careers, businesses and goals just like women do, so as a man, why would you not want to unlock your infinite potential?
The answer to this question is probably quite simple. Men tend to think of Yoga as gentle exercise, and they would prefer to go to the gym and lift weights. The problem starts when men think of Yoga as a form of exercise, in the first place. Yoga is not exercise when you do it correctly. I am going to repeat that again just so you don't miss it. Yoga is not exercise when you do it correctly.
Calling Yoga exercise is probably one of the most long-held myths of Yoga. It has been falsely articulated this way in western cultures, and it is time to let it go. So let's clear things up. Yoga is made up of 8 limbs, of which one is Asana. Asana is the element of Yoga that we like to call exercise. So, guess what, a whole lot of men have written off Yoga completely, because of a myth about one-eighth of what it actually is.
So let us go back to the beginning to understand what Yoga is in its entirety. Yoga is a Sanskrit word that means yoke. When translated loosely into English, it means union. The first element of Yoga called Asana is the union of the mind, body and energy, undertaken through physical movement.
The reason, Asana is undertaken at all is relatively simple to explain. It is to ensure the longevity of the physical body and basically to allow you to sit still to mediate & breathe, which form two other components of Yoga. These are called Pranayama (breathing) and Dhyana (meditation).
So Asana is in basic terms a whole bunch of movements that enable mobility of the body to continue throughout life. Body mobility helps with every function of the body as does breathing. So tell me again why Yoga is not for men? Do men not want to live a long life?
Yoga for men can be incredibly beneficial as a companion to exercise as part of an overall program. Yoga can help men to reduce the potential of injury, along with aid in the recovery of injuries that occur as a result of exercise. Yoga is helpful as both a recreational and elite level of training.
Beyond Asana, breathing and meditation also help the entire body to both function and recover. Most people have no idea how to breathe correctly, which is quite alarming, considering how significant the breath is to the bodies complete functionality. When we learn to breathe better with Yoga, we increase the efficiency of the entire system of breathing, throughout the body. We are also able to understand through Yoga how powerful good breathing is in every part of our lives. Better breathing helps men to perform better in sport and life in general.
There are many breathing techniques that I teach male clients which help with things like focus, thinking, concentration and patience. They also help to alleviate and support problems with issues like stress, anxiety, depression, panic, anger and frustration. These are very much all everyday life issues that many men are dealing with consistently. If fact, the rate of mental health decline in men is at an all-time high, so Yoga has never been more needed than it is right now for men.
Then we move into the third element of Yoga that I teach as a Yoga Coach, Meditation (stillness). Meditation, coupled with breathing & movement brings a powerhouse of resources to the disposal of men in the modern world.
Meditation is what I like to call practising to live. What you learn in meditation does not necessarily make you a perfect meditator. What it does it teaches you techniques on how to engage and respond to life. I am frequently told by people who try meditation on their own, that they can not slow down their mind. This belief is another long-held myth that is relatively easy to dispel.
I love to see the results men get from Yoga Coaching because they discover things about their body they did not know were possible, and they tap into resources that exist within them that had been dormant. It can be incredibly rewarding, for men I work with, to embark on the real journey of Yoga together.
If you would like to know more, reach out for a free Yoga discovery session and see what is possible when you invite Yoga into your life.