Yoga yoga yoga!
The oh so ancient glory that is Yoga. Thousands of years old, humans have been performing and participating in Yoga themed movements since long before Jesus Christ himself graced our wonderful planet!
Featuring an array of primal movement patterns, Yoga is truly great for your body. I have recently found myself becoming very fondly attached to the art of Yoga and the many benefits it can provide. All of which comply with both personal experience and physiological science.
Of course, the forms of yoga in existence could fill a library’s worth of books! Some are of a religious orientation, some are of spiritual origin.
Common aspects of Yoga prominent in this day and age are:
Relaxation/meditation themed yoga (can be applied to aid sleep)
Rehabilitation yoga (anti-back pain for example)
Morning/warm-up yoga (tends to be more dynamic in nature)
Enhanced flexibility themed yoga (great for post-workout and crucial for anybody training!)
Those are a summary of yoga forms that the majority of the population who practice the art, will indeed use. There are others, some are very specialist and some may even be more religious in nature. Whatever your reasons for practising yoga be assured you’re rewarding yourself greatly!
But Yoga is for girls!
Try telling these guys that!
Needless to say, those guys haven’t missed a trick! Wise old fellas. But sadly, many guys see Yoga to be “un-masculine”…..they see it as some kind of secondary form of exercise. As if it is “sub-par” to their macho and meathead style heavy weight training. It’s funny, they seem to often believe (wrongly) that if something doesn’t involve heavy lifting, it’s got nothing on the table to offer them! This is a grossly narrow-minded outlook.
Don’t be that guy!
Something I’ve been gradually learning and very much self-tutoring myself on, probably over at least the last 3, perhaps more like 5 years is to equip myself with an open mind and a experimental outlook to all departments. Maybe this transformation could simply be classified as; maturation. But I firmly believe the older we get, the wiser we get. I’m adamant those closest to me would attest to me being stronger, wiser and better at only 22 years old than I ever have been! What excites me most is…….if my rate of self-improvement personally is as pronounced as it has been over such a short period of time (in terms of lifespan) then, how much potential lies ahead over the course of a lifetime?
We’ll never truly know, but it’s our duty and quest to explore!
So any guys reading this who would dread joining their lovely ladies on a Yoga session, please adopt an open mind for a moment……
Allow me to awaken you to some GREAT things Yoga can do for you! Here goes!
5 great things that yoga adds to your life and body:
Flexibility – Us men have to hand it to the girls on this one, you ladies aren’t just WAY prettier, but, you’re also naturally WAY more FLEXIBLE! Undoubtedly, this is why many women naturally gravitate more to Yoga than men do. Any men who have tried a proper Yoga routine will also no doubt agree, it’s very humbling isn’t it? Can’t touch your toes? “Surely I should be able to touch my toes?!” Correct sir! You should. Remember – a tight muscle – is a WEAK muscle! Any inflexible muscle, is always a weak muscle. We all have tightness somewhere, for me, as is common in many men….I have very tight Hamstrings! It was yoga that alerted me to this tightness and it will be yoga that alerts you to your weakness and tightness too. Once you become AWARE of the PROBLEM, you can attempt to CORRECT it.
Breathing – The essential process that keeps us alive and functioning! Without it, you and I would cease to exist. The sad fact is – we don’t breathe enough, and definitely don’t breathe deep enough. When was the last time you breathed deep down into your pelvic basin? You know, the deep breathing you’re forced to do when you jump in an ice cold shower! This form of breath brings up all types of energy from deep within your centre. It also helps to free up any negative tension that exists deep down (often you are unaware of this) The foundation of yoga stems from the very act of deep breathing. If you have or ever embark on joining a yoga class or even following your own program, the very first action you will be instructed to do is – breathe! Granted it takes a while to co-ordinate and enforce, but just like weight-training, it will become second nature. (It took me a long time to master the correct pattern of breath during resistance training) This is where yoga can add to the efficiency of your breathing pattern progress. Plus from a scientific standpoint, breathing feeds your muscles. By feeding your muscles, you encourage them to open and elongate!
Yoga gets the stretching you know you SHOULD be doing, done for you! – This one applies particularly to us workout “junkies” who have all no doubt heard how crucial stretching is to assist us on our journey of self improvement. The trouble is, few people are as strict about their stretching dedication as they are with their workout routine itself. As a result, stretching flies woefully under the radar. I get it, it’s boring. I’ve been there, forcing myself to trooper through a full body static stretching routine. Holding each move for 30 seconds or so (often uni-laterally!) and…..as we all know; it’s time consuming! The worst part about it is: you are aware of the time it takes! Primarily because of the time factor involved regarding holding all the various stretches. However, by following a yoga routine, all the thought is taken out for you and you can just “enjoy the ride” you perform the poses that contain many forms of the static stretches you would normally be doing solo anyway! Also, there is no “timer” involved. You’ll be amazed how quickly a fifteen minute routine elapses by! Fifteen minutes per day adds up to a very adequate amount of stretching weekly! Saving the best till last……..the greatest thing yoga done consistently can offer you is; the satisfaction of your tight areas becoming blatantly looser! (experience talking here, my Hamstrings are getting longer everyday)
Better posture, core strength and co-ordination – This should go without saying. But, it’s often overlooked. Any regular yoga attendee will definitely have a stronger core and posture than when they were yoga virgins. Take the plank pose for example – it’s basically just the top position of a Pushup. But how many people can actually hold this pose correctly? By correctly I mean where their head down to their toes are perfectly “in-line” where the Abs are engaged, the Glutes squeezed, Hips neutral – Head neutral too! And of course, the Hands are placed firmly below the Sternum (approximately shoulder width apart, perhaps slightly wider) Honestly, how many people can truly hold and demonstrate that position for a considerable period of time? You would be surprised how few! You’ll usually see the Hips rise as the Back starts rounding and the Knees start to gravitate ever closer to the floor. All because the Abs and core muscles have fatigued. The plank is a staple of almost every yoga routine, by exposing your body to moves such as this, you will accustom it to such stress and therefore: get stronger! There are so many more poses that can enhance your overall strength and posture, just by simply improving core strength……you will enhance your posture because your Abdominals will function correctly and hold your Pelvis and Hips in a neutral position. As opposed to them tilting forward as is common in many people! (The classic Anterior pelvic tilt) I’m sure you’ll agree – the Anterior pelvic tilt is unattractive. Period. Not to mention the co-ordination factor concerning yoga, as you become more advanced at this ancient practice, you’ll find the routines become more uni-lateral. Basically you’ll be holding “single limb” poses. Particularly on one leg at a time. This will enhance your ability to balance tremendously! It will also improve general co-ordination tenfold! These improvements will translate brilliantly to your exercise routines and programs. Take that as a guarantee.
It’s just great for you all round! – The overall combination of the principles addressed above should tell you all you need in order to get you starting, or at least….honestly considering yoga. If not, here are some bonus beauty aspects of this great practice! Trouble sleeping? Ever tried Yoga before bed? No? Well you should use that as your next step to a peaceful sleep. Why? Well the very act of static stretching (relaxation forms of yoga feature vast forms of static based stretching) deadens your muscles. Which in turn, “calms” an excited nervous system. An excited nervous system, is a nervous system that certainly doesn’t want to sleep! You want to do all you can to de-stimulate your nervous system as you approach your bed time. Let’s also mention the social potential of yoga! The very act of joining a yoga class is a great opportunity to meet new people. Sorry, but I have to say this; guys! If you’re looking for ways to meet women, why have you not explored the yoga route?! As we’ve mentioned, yoga tends to be dominated by women! Want to surround yourself with more women? Get started today! You don’t have to be a single guy to enjoy yoga – you men in relationships at present can get a great deal in addition to all the physical benefits we’ve discussed. Such as; yoga is a great way for you and your partner to spend more time together. Away from all the distractions, it can be a great weekly addition to your calendar. Often in this ever busy modern world, we have fewer and fewer available time for the closest people in our lives. By joining your lady at yoga, you can get well on your way to making more time for each other!
So there you have it, a library full of reasons to embrace Yoga!
I’m confident I’d be hard pushed to find anyone who couldn’t benefit from a single one of those outlined. In fact, the vast majority could get something from pretty much every aspect I’ve brought to your attention.
What are you waiting for?
Start today, start small. Youtube is full of great routines for beginners, pick one with a suitable timeframe and attempt to improve at it. If it gets a tad boring, look for a few more and rotate them around! If you’re lady currently goes to Yoga class, why not tag along? Don’t be disheartened if you can’t “compete” remember, you’re NOT competing! Just like with exercise in general……your competitior is YOURSELF!
Good luck and start getting more flexibility in all walks of life today!
The 'brains' behind StraightTalkingFitness, a site all about discovery that leads to strength in all formats; fitness, mental, emotional and spiritual. Everything starts from within and projects outwards. Master the body, master anything and everything.