Yoga is an excellent discipline system for all ages. Its popularity has only grown throughout the years, especially among ladies. Everyone and their sister seem to be engaging in yoga stretches! But, as healthy and helpful yoga can be, what are the benefits of yoga specific to men?
The discipline of yoga has been proven to improve a man’s flexibility, body strength, focus, and even digestion. According to Men’s Health.com, Yoga can double as a cardio exercise similar to running, jogging, hiking, or cycling.
Because yoga is often associated with calming music or even essential oils, it isn’t often associated with the male of the species. However, in this article, we will discover how many wonderful benefits yoga can have for men!
How can yoga benefit men’s flexibility?
It is not a giant mental leap to take if you assume that most benefits come from flexibility after walking by a yoga class and noticing their body positions.
Flexibility is crucial because it can increase a guy’s range of motion. Flexibility decreases the effort required in all the normal directions the body needs to move. It can also relax the natural buildup of tension and pain in muscles.
The breakdown of how these stretches help flex the human body is essential in understanding the benefits of yoga to men. Let’s go over some stretches that can improve flexibility in men!
Intense side stretching works out the spine, hips, and legs.
This stretch is called “Parsvottanasana.” That’s a mouthful! It entails a forward bend that allows greater flexibility in the spine, hips, and legs, and other health benefits, too! These can include balance, spinal posture, and even your digestion. It can be held for as long as one minute on each side. Check out this video to see how to do it!
Cat-Cow stretching works out the core, neck, shoulders, and spine.
The cat-cow stretch sounds funny (or you could use its other name, “Bitilasana Marjaryasana”). However, it is one of the best yoga positions for working those tight shoulder and neck muscles. Especially for men sitting at a computer for long periods, peering at data, this move is great for increased flexibility!
Head to Knee stretching works out the back, hips, and thighs.
Also called “Janu Sirsasana,” the head-to-knee stretching doesn’t improve flexibility in the head or knee! However, by bending at the hips to touch your head nearly to your knee, this stretch benefits the flexibility of the back, hips, and thighs. Not only that, but it can help encourage blood flow in the lower abdomen, which relieves stress quite a bit.
Bow Pose stretching works out the glutes and legs.
Anything the male body uses to sit will be stretched using the bow pose (or “Dhanurasana”) stretch. It flexes the back, chest, glutes, and legs, as well as the core muscles. Just be careful if your neck, shoulders, or spine are injured, as this move may strain them unnecessarily.
Low lunge stretching works out the spine, hips, and muscle strength.
The low lunge is also called “Anjaneyasana.” It will open the hips and generally build the male body’s strength. This position should be held on one side, maintaining square hips, for thirty seconds before switching to the other. Flexibility will be easy to improve after practicing this stretch!
How Can Yoga Improve Men’s Focus?
A man has many things on his mind throughout the day. Yoga is famous for improving relaxation and reducing stress, but did you know it can also help a man focus? That’s a significant benefit, especially with the average busy schedule of a working man! So let’s go over how yoga can improve a man’s focus.
Yoga uses inversions to increase blood circulation to the brain.
If a man practices the headstand or shoulder stand involved in yoga moves, blood flow can increase to the brain. This is important because, without proper circulation, the human body can’t function properly. But unfortunately, it can also increase the risk of heart disease.
Men who engage in yoga stretching should also practice the concentrated breathing disciplines of the forms. That pulls the diaphragm down, which increases pressure on the abdomen. More pressure there means blood is pushed into the heart, and circulation improves.
Yoga stretches to release tension to improve concentration.
For example, the Tree Pose, or “Virkshasana,” stretches the entire body. But at the same time, the Tree Pose expels any numbness that might have been plaguing the body. In addition, it calms the male’s nervous system and enhances stamina. The calmer the nerves, the longer you can focus!
The Mountain Pose, or “Tadasana,” is another early-level yoga post that can stretch the legs and improve posture. Again, it focuses on relieving tension, and again, this increases concentration.
How Can Yoga Increase a Man’s Strength?
Men are often drawn towards Crossfit or other body-improving exercise disciplines. However, Yoga is just as handy as some of these more mainstream options for men. Even if you didn’t know a particular muscle group existed, you could still improve muscle strength with the surprisingly helpful yoga stretches! So, let’s look deeper into how yoga can build strength.
Choose the right yoga style for strength building.
All workouts have targeted muscle groups or benefits. The discipline of yoga is no different in this way. A man must pick the correct yoga style to get the best results!
For example, the Ashtanga method is known for its efficiency in building strength. It is called “power yoga” and utilizes methods of balancing or bending quickly to target muscles.
Develop a routine of correct strength-building stretches.
The downward dog is an excellent strength-building stretch for the shoulders, arms, and hamstrings. It also stretches out calves, feet, and hips.
One notable power stretch is the Warrior 1 (And if that doesn’t say strength, I don’t know what does!) The Warrior 1 strengthens the whole abdominal region, front to back.
Yoga can increase strength in areas more broadly than weight training.
If you’re used to working out with weights, don’t worry; yoga can also help increase strength. However, though both weight lifting and yoga stretches have health benefits, they are different.
Weight lifting is structured around overloading the muscles in a trained, progressive way. However, yoga not only builds muscle mass over time, but it also increases strength in the concepts of rest and recovery.
How Can Yoga Improve Men’s Digestion?
We have gone over yoga’s relaxation, flexibility, and even strength-building benefits. However, one benefit that may not come to a man’s mind when he hears the term “yoga” is improvements in digestion! So let’s break down the ways that yoga helps digestion.
Yoga can assist in lowering symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Irritable bowel syndrome, or “IBS,” is sometimes linked to overactivity in the sympathetic nervous system. So it makes sense that yoga would assist in this area since the sympathetic nervous system is the system that handles stress in the body.
According to a randomized clinical trial published in the National Library of Medicine, those who suffered from Irritable Bowel Syndrome and did yoga for twelve weeks lessened their symptoms. In addition, regular movement, a significant component of yoga stretches, reduces the stress that contributes to Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Some yoga stretches lessen bloating.
Bloating is no fun, and it isn’t exactly comfortable or attractive. Luckily, many yoga poses can help a bloating man to relax!
The Seated Side Bend (or “Parsva Sukhasana”) is a beginner’s stretch that involves sitting cross-legged and leaning to each side. Its gentle movements lessen bloating and even gas!
Another excellent option for men wanting to avoid bloating is the “Ardha Matsyendrasana,” or Seated Twist. The Seated Twist Stretch encourages bowel regularity because it helps with the food and waste tract in your body.
One stretch which also helps not only increase circulation but also promotes gut peristalsis is the Belly Twist. The Belly Twist, also called the “Hathara Parivartanasana,” twists the back and abdominal region.
How Can Yoga Improve Men’s Mental Health?
A man has many stressors present throughout the day, including work, family, and traffic! But yoga has been proven to help with mental health issues, particularly among men. So let’s uncover how a man’s mental health can be improved by adopting the discipline of yoga.
Yoga is a responsible way to handle personal health.
By following yoga disciplines, such as deep breathing techniques or practicing healthy stretches, a man is taking responsibility for his health.
It isn’t just any kind of responsibility, either. Yoga is a discipline that considers how far the male human body should be pushed to succeed without breaking the barriers of what is healthy.
Yoga is a relaxation aid in a man’s life.
The Indian Journal of Psychiatry was referenced in the Integral Yoga Magazine as having observed lower levels of cortisol in those who adopt the discipline of yoga. Yoga can train the body to relax on a chemical level. It has positively impacted those with sleep disorders, anxiety disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorders.
Yoga is an excellent discipline for all. However, when it comes to the stress placed on a man’s life, yoga can help with relaxation. And suppose it’s exercise a man is looking for. In that case, the discipline of yoga can provide a healthy way to build muscle and strength while also strengthening focus! Overall, the benefits to men through yoga are undeniable.