Do you consider downward dogs a little too ladylike?
Well fellas, while yoga promises some pretty obvious benefits for both sexes—like improving flexibility and core strength—a regular yoga practice also offers apparent advantages, specifically for guys.
Here are eight convincing reasons to have a bromance with your yoga mat…
Yoga is great for your health—quite literally if you consider a research study published in the PLoSOne health journal, which claims regular yoga practice strengthens immunity at the cellular level by changing actual gene expression and thus, improving your internal defense system. Yoga does this by flushing the body of toxins, particularly if you do any form of hot yoga (i.e., Bikram), which fuels an mock “fever” within the body and toughens immune system defense.
Contrary to popular belief, many men are concerned with expanding waistlines as well, particularly if they have sedentary desk jobs where its often easier to eat lunch at your desk as well as dinner (if you work a lot of overtime). Luckily, a regular yoga practice can curb those mid-day snack attacks as well as the temptation to overeat due to stress. According to a research study from the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, yoga can contribute to a stronger mind-body connection, and thus, more mindful noshing.
Regardless of if you aspire to Don Draper success in the workplace or Wayne Gretzky success in sport, a little yoga will do the mind a lot of good. A research study out of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign tested that theory when they studied 30 participants on their working memory and inhibitory control (or the ability to focus and retain new information). Researchers found that those subjects who enjoyed regular 20-minute yoga sessions made confident work decisions, had better energy, enjoyed improved work relationships, and had better focus and memory retention compared subjects who jogged or walked for 20 minutes.
I bet you didn’t know that yoga is more effective than ant-acids when it comes to calming digestive woes? Yogis point to specific twisting postures, which massage the internal organs and encourage food digestion, consequently soothing tummy and bowel troubles and resulting in more effective nutrition absorption and increased energy.
The Mayo Clinic points to the vast number of studies that link regular yoga to lower levels of stress and anxiety. For instance, yoga activates the parasympathetic nervous system, a counterweight to the fight-or-flight response of stress, ultimately reducing levels of cortisol, a primary stress hormone, which can harm thyroid function, damage muscle tissue, increase blood pressure, cause inflammation, and more if cortisol is too high.
It’s a well-known fact that regular physical activity can result in better brain function, but research published by the Journal of Physical Activity and Health claims that 20 minutes of yoga per day can promote increased brain waves and better mental clarity compared to almost any other form of exercise—including running. The key: connected body and breath movement.
Are you a slave to weight machines at the gym? Well, yoga expert, Rodney Yee, points out that if you do yoga regularly you are already doing your share of resistance training. “When we do yoga poses, we’re putting our body in positions that you ultimately call on support from the vast majority of our muscles,” he says. “So you are using your own body weight as resistance!” Considering that sports like hockey or tennis only demand resistance from approximately 15-percent of our muscles—yoga offers a whole body workout employing full support from the cardiovascular, skeletal, muscular, and endocrine systems.
Were you aware that in addition to flexibility (which translates well in the bedroom), stretching your yoga muscles regularly goes a long way in increases body awareness and self-confidence…in the bedroom? In fact, sex therapists consistently recommend regular yoga for men who experience both physical and psychological sex issues—such as sexual energy, stamina, desire, premature ejaculation, and erectile dysfunction—due to the fact that yoga is credited for increasing blood flow; strengthening bones, joints, and muscles; and boosting overall stamina and sexual energy and confidence.