Yoga is often wrongly regarded as something only women do. Truth is, that while the majority of yoga practitioners are female, over the last few years, the number of American men practicing Yoga has more than doubled. Why? You could say there’s now greater awareness of the benefits of yoga for men.
More and more men are now willing to break the stereotype in favor of a better mind and body.
Exploring the benefits of yoga for men
We all know yoga is great for improving flexibility and practicing mindfulness but it has so much more to offer. Here we’ll uncover some of the more surprising, yet important, benefits to help you see how men’s yoga classes can improve your overall well-being.
1. Male yoga body transformation
Lifting weights is an obvious way to build muscle strength but you can only target a specific muscle group at one time. Yoga has the advantage of engaging the entire body and requiring every muscle to do its bit. It’s a great way to build your muscles evenly.
Practicing yoga will help you bulk up, as although you won’t be using heavy weights, you’ll be required to lift and support your own bodyweight instead. This has numerous muscle-building benefits.
Guys doing yoga will also find that it helps to sculpt existing muscles. Yoga poses for men like ‘the chair’ will blast abdominal fat and strengthen both the thighs and legs.
It’s a workout for the entire body, without sweating it out in the gym.
2. Improve the immune system
Men’s health yoga can help you to fight off bugs by keeping your stress levels to a minimum. Stress produces a hormone called Cortisol, which hinders the body’s ability to fight off colds, flu and other nasty viruses. Less stress means less Cortisol. It’s as simple as that.
Another one of the health benefits of yoga for men is that it improves breathing abilities. Controlled breathing (or Pranayama) targets the bronchial passages and respiratory tract, where bugs like to hide, ready to attack the body.
Inverted yoga poses like Uttanasana (a standing forward bend) and Salamba Sarvangasana (a supported shoulder stand) are great for moving lymph fluid around the body. Lymph fluid, created by the lymphatic system, basically picks up bad bacteria in the body and filters it out through the lymph nodes. Encouraging it to move around the body, through yoga, is a sure way to improve your immune system.
3. Protect the prostate
A great reason why yoga for men is so important is that it protects the prostate. Yoga poses that focus on the pelvic region can both prevent and target problems like Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH.)
BPH is essentially the enlargement of the prostate gland, which can make it hard for men to urinate comfortably. Yoga can help to alleviate symptoms of BPH by exercising and strengthening the pelvic floor to improve bladder control.
Yoga for men beginners poses that can work to improve prostate health include:
- The Cobbler Pose (a seated position that relieves pelvic tension)
- Reclining Big Toe Pose (a lying down position that strengthens the pelvic floor)
- Bow Pose (a lying down pose that strengthens the lower back, abdomen and pelvic floor)
Yoga has also been linked with lessening treatment-related symptoms in men with prostate cancer.
4. Improve digestive system
Regulating the digestive system is another of the surprising but important benefits of yoga for men. Many yogis favor a healthy diet (often vegetarian or vegan) and practice mindful eating. However, if you don’t like the idea of cutting out meat and still want to indulge in a treat or two, yoga can help to keep your digestive system in good shape.
Performing yoga poses is a way of massaging your internal digestive organs and encouraging movement. Stretching, bending and twisting the body will improve circulation and in turn, keep everything ticking over nicely.
Our body reacts to the way we are feeling. Therefore it’s no surprise that anxiety and stress are closely linked to digestive problems. Tackling these feelings with careful yoga practice can help to keep the peace between mind and body.
Remember, it’s never a good idea to practice yoga right after eating. As with any exercise, you should always leave a couple of hours for your food to settle down.
Yoga for guys beginners poses that can benefit the digestive system include:
- Pavanamuktasana (a lying-down pose that involves bringing the knee into the chest)
- Paschimottanasana (a seated forward fold)
- Savasana (a relaxing, rest and digest pose)
For more ideas read: 60 Yoga Postures For Anyone From Beginners To Yogis
5. Enjoy a better sex life
Did you know that yoga is said to both increase libido and improve sexual performance? Back in 2010, a study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine claimed that yoga improves all sexual functions in men, from desire and performance to ejaculation control.
Men’s yoga classes will teach you breathing techniques and poses that can help increase lung capacity and in turn, improve stamina and endurance. It’ll be useful if you’re into your sport or wanting to impress in the bedroom. We told you these benefits of yoga for men would surprise you!
The increased flexibility that comes with practicing yoga can also improve your sex life. Combining stretching poses with those that engage the pelvic floor like Mula Bandha can prevent premature ejaculation and promote longer orgasms.
6. Get a good night’s sleep
You’re probably thinking of anything but sleep after that last point but you still may be interested to hear that yoga can help you catch a few more z’s at night.
Yoga is a great way to relax the mind and body. It will reduce feelings of anxiety that may be keeping you up at night and teach you to temporarily shut down the body for sleep. Yoga has also been linked with falling asleep faster and sleeping for longer.
If you suffer from insomnia, it might be a good idea to work yoga into your nightly routine. Simple poses that concentrate on deep breathing are great for promoting relaxation at bedtime.
The ‘Lying Butterfly’ is a good choice for guys doing yoga at night. Lie back on your mat and press your feet against each other. Your knees should fall to the sides to create a gentle stretch. Concentrate on inhaling and exhaling to really feel the benefit.
Another simple but effective yoga pose for improved sleep is the corpse pose. Simply lie on your mat with your legs straight, your arms by your sides and your palms facing up. Breathe in and out slowly, being mindful of every breath.
7. Improve confidence for dating
Whilst we don’t suggest using your yoga class as a dating pool, you may find that practicing yoga improves your game. Part of male yoga body transformation involves correcting your posture and how you carry yourself. Body awareness can greatly improve your confidence and is something that may help attract a prospective partner.
In addition to this, practicing yoga shows that you are interested in health and fitness, which will be beneficial if you’re looking for a partner with similar values. Who knows? Maybe you will get the opportunity to practice yoga together. Couples yoga is all the rage right now.
8. Cut the cost of healthcare
No one enjoys spending money on medical bills so you’ll be pleased to hear that practicing yoga can limit your visits to the doctor.
The numerous health benefits of yoga for men can help to reduce the likelihood of illness and prevent injuries. Yoga could save you money in the long run and reduce your need for health services. It’s a win-win for all.
Is it weird if guys do yoga?
From reading this post, we hope we’ve already answered that question for you but we’ll say it again for those at the back…
No, it is not weird if guys do yoga!
With so many surprising benefits, it’s no wonder that more and more men are taking an interest in yoga and all it has to offer. Don’t be afraid to break the mold and experience it for yourself. Yoga is no longer just for women. It’s something men can enjoy as part of yoga for men beginners classes or at home, following online yoga videos.
You’ll find that an increasing number of stores are now stocking yoga gear for men and there are likely to be yoga classes especially for men at your local gym. If not, join a mixed class. Yoga is not gender-specific.
From improving your immune system to bettering your sex life and even helping to protect your prostate, yoga has so many important benefits to offer men. They may not be the benefits everyone talks about but they’re important nonetheless and we hope you’ve gained a greater insight to all yoga has to offer in this article.
How have you benefited from practicing yoga for men? Is there a benefit that has really surprised you?
Share your experience with us in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you.