Specifically, What Are the Health Benefits of Yoga for Men?
Whether it’s Power Yoga or Hot Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga or Flow, Yin or Restorative, whether it’s physical or mental (meditative), the benefits are most likely more than we even know. Yet so many of these benefits are obvious and need to be addressed, as it seems men are much less likely to participate in yoga than women, even though they both benefit equally and yoga is such a great counter-balance to the male mentality and the common male fitness regime.
I think of man as aggressive, compared to women who are more passive, and this is not a judgement, as both these qualities (yin and yang) have purpose and value, and both these qualities create physical and mental tendencies. These tendencies in males tend to be very cognitive, competitive and domineering. These qualities have their evolutionary benefits, yet also pose some health consequences. Yoga was created to channel these benefits in a benevolent direction, while nullifying the consequences. The aggressiveness of males can lead to aggressive activities which will ultimately break the body down, leading to the opposite of any goal of health and wellness, just like an aggressive mind state is certainly a precursor to stress and tension. The leading cause of premature death for men in our country in heart disease, of which stress is a leading factor, as well as stress being responsible for 80% of disease (according to the American Medical Association).
Mindfulness is Stronger Than Aggression
Seeing the obvious, that the harder you are on anything the faster you destroy it, the mindful practices of yoga and meditation can bring awareness to the male tendencies of aggression and dominance, which may have their place on occasion but also can be seriously out of place on occasion.
This awareness creates choice, and this choice is golden, as this choice can be a decision that these tendencies, qualities or mind states are inappropriate in a particular situation. This is a pathway to less conflict and more harmony, which leads to less stress and more wellness physically as well as mentally. It’s kind of like you become the captain of your own ship as you are now steering yourself as opposed to being steered by genetic tendencies, learned behaviors and testosterone. The high testosterone, aggressiveness and competitiveness translate easily to physical tension which is the precursor of many other physical issues, whether it’s skeletal displacement, decrease in range of motion, or muscular and connective tissue injury.
A well-rounded yoga regime can nullify these harmful effects through mindful stretching, which will dissolve the tension without injury, due to the lack of aggressiveness and competitiveness, increase circulation to every nook and cranny, due to the multiplicity of movement which is the prerequisite for regeneration and create tone, suppleness, cardio, stamina and balance, rendering yoga the most complete exercise I’ve ever known. This is just a fraction of yoga’s health benefits and its health benefits for men as well as women.
Ultimately, for most men and women we want not the biggest muscles, strongest cardio, loosest hamstring and thinnest waist. We want the best exercise defined by the highest degree of vitality, wellness and peacefulness. Remember, Power Yoga unlike most other exercises does not want to change you, it wants to care for you! If this is you, try Power Yoga or any other yoga you are drawn to.