Yoga is a generic term that is used to define disciplines and spiritual practices that connect a person’s spiritual, physical and mental state. The roots of yoga can be traced back to ancient India. Traditional Buddhists will tell you that yoga is a form of union with divinity while others will say that it is the changing states of mind. Whatever the case, one thing that stands out is that there is more to yoga than simply performing awkward poses. Though yoga has strong Indian roots, it has been widely accepted in the western world and other parts of the world as well. This is largely due to the effects that it produces over time. For many, yoga has a positive effect in their lives and affects the way they think and even react to situations. For those who do not understand the underlying philosophies, yoga to them is simply a wonderful exercise.
The Benefits of Doing Yoga
Yoga comes with many benefits for both men and women. Since women are more inclined to engage in yoga, today we will be highlighting some of the benefits of yoga for men. Some of these are:
· It’s an inexpensive workout
· It burns fat
· It lowers blood pressure
. It increases lung capacity
·It improves your intellectual ability
·It helps build muscle
·It improves your libido and prowess
·It helps flush out toxins
Yoga doesn’t cost much. The major investment comes in when buying yoga gear such as clothing and mats. Though mats are often provided in studios many prefer to buy their own mats for hygienic reasons.
Yoga gear for men is also quite inexpensive and you could do with simply buying yoga pants and wearing a simple t-shirt.
In addition, yoga classes are usually also quite affordable and this is largely because many yoga trainers view this is a spiritual form of exercise as opposed to a money making venture. When it comes to exercise, there are many benefits to yoga. For starters, it helps burn fat really fast and the good thing is that is a low intensity exercise.
It cannot obviously be compared with intense workouts but research actually shows that you can burn 80% more calories practicing yoga than with mild aerobic exercises. What this means is that as mild as yoga is, it is still effective. When it comes to developing rock hard abs which is every man’s dream, yoga can help you achieve this. Since it helps you to use your body mass to shift to various body positions, various poses could help develop not only those killer abs but stronger muscles as well.
The benefit of this is that there are minimum risks and you don’t have to deal with intense workouts which as we all know come with bruises, muscles tears and tendon damage. In fact, it actually decreases muscle soreness and stiffness since it stretches the muscles and this is perhaps the reason why many athletes are now also increasingly becoming yoga lovers.
If you have back problems which are common nowadays, yoga could also help you gain relief. While it is not a cure to the underlying problem, studies have shown that people who practiced yoga had lower levels of back pain than those who do not.
Yoga also has a wide array of benefits when it comes to mental stimulation. It trains you to focus and balance your thoughts which in effect help you become more aware of your surrounding and you could make better judgment calls. Not only does yoga help you to build your lung capacity, it also lowers your blood pressure. In fact, a clinical study done at the Washington University School of Medicine found that yoga actually lowers spiking blood pressure levels more effectively
Yoga increases blood flow and makes you sweat effectively flushing out toxins. It also increases cardiovascular endurance and can be very beneficial when it comes to revitalizing your sex life. It’s also important to add that your chances of meeting women also increase since as we have already established there are more women than men in yoga classes.
As you can see, the benefits of yoga are vast and can improve your body, mind and libido as well.
Who Should Do Yoga
There are really no limitations when it comes to who can and cannot practice yoga. Some people will tell you that as long as you can breathe, you should be doing yoga. Everyone can therefore practice regardless of:
· Physical status
When it comes to age, it doesn’t really matter how old you are and as long you are able to comfortably perform the exercises and poses, there is a yoga class for you. There has been an increase in the number of yoga classes for children and children as young as three are doing yoga. There is no better time to start out yoga than when you are child since it enhances, flexibility, stability and even strengthens a child’s growing body. It also helps increase the child’s concentration, self-esteem, self-awareness, and their ability to stay relaxed and deal with stress amongst other very useful benefits. Seniors are also encouraged to embrace yoga as it does help keep them flexible. They are able to practice on their breathing and even yoga could help with conditions such as arthritis. Your physical status also shouldn’t deter you from practicing yoga and if you think that you are inflexible or physically unfit then yoga for men is for you. A common misconception that many have is that you need to be very flexible to join a yoga class and nothing could be further from the truth. The stretching exercises are what help develop your spine and increase flexibility as well.
Despite being physically unfit, disability is also not something that should deter you from practicing yoga.
There are various exercises that are perfect for persons with disability and these are exercises that could help enhance your physical, health and mental well being. As we have already made clear, gender is not a barrier to yoga.
The major reason why men tend to shy away from yoga is because it is not considered macho but as we mentioned the results are definitely worth it.
Where to Do Yoga
Yoga comes with freedom and there are very many places where you can practice yoga. Some of these are:
· Fitness centers
· Membership clubs
· Yoga studios
· Hospitals and clinics
· At home
Yoga can be practiced anywhere and due to demand; you will find that there is no shortage of yoga studios. Some people even form yoga groups and practice in rooftops, abandoned buildings, apartments and the beach. There are very creative places to practice yoga.
You can also practice yoga from the comfort of your home if you are still not comfortable going out there to practice amongst other men and women. There are various DVDs and videos and you can get yourself yoga for beginners’ videos for home exercises.
Hospitals have also embraced the benefits for yoga and it’s not rare to find yoga classes in hospitals and clinical settings. Spas, fitness centers, membership clubs and even salons are great places to look for yoga classes.
Yoga Costumes for Men
Gone are the days when men were neglected in the yoga gear section, now there are unlimited choices when it comes to yoga attire for men and you can find yoga:
There are various forms of clothing suitable for men who perform yoga and these include yoga pants for men which are made using soft and breathable materials. However, shorts are most popular and there are various yoga shorts you can go for. These range from fitting shorts, boxers and loose three quarter type shorts. The types of shorts you go for ultimately depend on your comfort. When it comes to tops you have variety and there are t-shirts, muscle tees, sleeveless tops and polo shirts that you can wear for yoga. Of course, there are men who simply prefer going for yoga shirtless and that is quite alright as well. Yoga shoes fall between sandals which are quite popular or slip-on shoes which are more like comfortable rubber shoes. Yoga shoes come with comfortable insoles that help absorb and pressure that may arise from certain poses. There are many stores which sell yoga clothing for men.
Food Menu for Before and After Yoga
Not many people know this but there are yoga diets. Besides a yoga diet, there are rules when it comes to eating habits before and after your yoga session.
Below are some of the things you need to consider when it comes to planning meals for yoga:
. Eat easily digestible foods·
. Eat mainly for nutrition as opposed to tasty meals·
. Avoid spicy foods·
. Drink plenty of water·
. Avoid meat products before yoga.
The general rule when it comes to foods you can eat before yoga is do not eat three hours before your class. Whatever you eat before that should be easily digestible and this includes fruits, a smoothie for protein and cereals amongst others. These are things that are easily digestible and will give you the energy you need for the class.
The reason why it’s not recommended to eat before yoga is because yoga puts pressure on your abdominal organs and this may result in great discomfort or embarrassing situations such as vomiting or even worse flatulence. You therefore need to become self aware of what you can and cannot eat.
While some people are comfortable taking nuts before yoga, this could cause problems for others and that means that you must have control over your meals. It goes without saying that junk doesn’t help much either. Examples of foods you can eat before yoga are: fresh fruits, nuts, cereal, dates, vegetable sandwich, a sports nutrition bar and a smoothie as we mentioned above.
Soups, tea, coffee, meats curries, deep fried foods and acidic fruits or juices are not recommended. After yoga, what you eat also matters and usually some people will tell you that they are often hungry while some have no appetite. It obviously doesn’t make sense to run into the nearest fast food and the main thing to remember is that you should be eating for nourishment.
You can therefore begin by rehydrating your body with water or low sugar juices such as carrot juice or grapefruit juice. Your meal should be balanced and have recommended portions of proteins, vegetables and carbohydrates as well. Though not many protein shakes are made with natural ingredients, a natural protein shake would be ideal after yoga. You could make one yourself or buy from the whole foods section.
Yoga Duration Yoga classes vary and could last anywhere from half an hour to two with some even going for three hours. Multiple factors affect yoga duration and this include the level of the class, type of yoga, the teacher’s preferences, the aim of the class and the students needs amongst others.
People who have yoga classes daily could even do with 15 minute sessions while those who have weekly or a couple of classes per week often require a lengthier class.
Yoga for men
Yoga has both short term and long term benefits. Most teachers will encourage you to begin with Hatha yoga since other types are based on its principles and philosophies. It will not take you long to realize the positive transformation that yoga will have in your life and you should sign up for yoga classes for men as soon as possible.