The other day at the gym, I got to talking to a gentleman who eventually asked me what I did for a living. After telling him I was a yoga teacher, he told me that yoga would probably be good for stretching and would probably be harder for him than weightlifting. I laughed and told him everyone is a little different. He followed that up by telling me that, no offense, yoga is more for women and that women's bodies are just better for yoga.
You should've seen his face when I told him the yoga asana practice was originally invented by men for men.
Regardless of the history of the practice, yoga is extremely beneficial for men and women alike. In addition to teaching yoga, I was a studio administrator and manager and have recently become a marketing specialist for a yoga studio. That said, anytime a man calls, I know there’s at least an 80% I’m going to hear the question, “So, are there other guys that are going to be in class?”
My answer, of course, is yes, and not just because I am trying to make a sale. In reality, I am starting to see more men feeling comfortable to come to classes and see what all this “yoga stuff” is all about. Still, I receive those skeptical phone calls at least once a week where I then find myself explaining all the benefits that a yoga asana practice has for all of us—men included.
If you have not yet worked up the courage to pick up the phone and call your local yoga studio to ask some these questions, allow for me to save you some time:
3. Relieves Back Pain
On a similar note, yoga is great for helping to relieve back pain. Back pain is probably one of the top three ailments I find from my students (men and women.) Though back pain may reveal itself in many forms from many causes, yoga asanas increases ROM in the different motions of the spine (forward bending, backwards bending, side bending, twisting, and circumduction.) In addition to this, yoga asanas strengthen the core from all different angles by strengthening the front, back, and sides. By doing these things, you keep the vertebrae lubrication, the muscles mobile and flexible, and the back and core strong.
4. Activates Stabilizing Muscles
With the combination between static poses and fluid poses, yoga requires coordination, balance, and stabilization. These smaller, stabilizing muscles are often times not activated if we live a fairly sedentary lifestyle; to that extent, even regulars at the gym may be lacking strength in stabilizing muscles due to the lack of ROM that many gym exercises exhibit. By practicing yoga asana and flowing through the postures, you will begin to notice new, smaller muscles kicking in to take on some of the work. These muscles are found throughout the body, from the neck and upper body all the way down into the ankles and feet. By strengthening these muscles, you can reduce the risk of injury in the future by distributing the work load, thus relieving or preventing joint pain as well.
5. Challenges You
As my new friend mentioned, yoga can sometimes seem to be more challenging than other forms of yoga. Not only can yoga be a new way of moving and a new form of physical activity, but yoga also challenges the mind by putting you in a new space and beginning to change thought patterns. In the instance of my gentlemen (and my ladies who might be hesitant), I challenge you to get on the mat!
Have questions about yoga classes or just yoga in general? Have any information you think we missed? Leave a comment below!
My mom's stories about working out at home crack me up. I was so excited when she agreed to share some of her adventures for our blog this Mother's Day. Share with a mama who knows the struggle and enjoy! (Thanks Mama G for the laugh!)
I think to myself, that’s it! I am definitely going to start exercising tomorrow.
I’ll wait until my husband leaves and then I will get right to it.
I have my mat; I will just pull it out and do it.
That night, I ask my husband what time program the coffee pot to brew so I know what time he is leaving the next day so I can exercise.
The next morning the coffee pot starts brewing and I say to my husband, I thought that you had to leave early. He replies, “No I texted someone and told them I would be there later.”
Foiled! The rest of the morning my husband is on the phone trying to convince a subcontractor to do their job. Or something. I guess I will just run out and get some groceries.
Later that day, I have already given up. Maybe tomorrow. I think to myself, if my husband does not go out to the jobs, maybe I could just go in the other room and close the glass doors. I wish I had a curtain; anyone can look in and watch me. Okay, maybe that is what I will do. I continue to think. Oh, but I cannot get online with the TV in the living room. I guess I could use my old workout VCR tape. No, we got rid of the VCR in that room. Oh well, I guess I will just have to wait until he goes to work and workout in the family room.
I continue to think about my planned work out. What should I wear? I don’t like when the long pants roll up, and I like to be barefoot. I guess I could wear the pair I cut into capris. They hold my stomach in nicely. I guess I could just wear my comfy tee shirt. But I wish I had a comfortable bra. My bra is so uncomfortable, maybe I won’t wear one. But then I visualize my husband looking in on me in the family room working out without a bra on, and at my age, that isn’t pretty. Okay, I guess I could wear my new wire free lace bra… oh, but I don’t like the way it rubs my shoulders, and it is a racer back and the straps show. I have a sports bra but it is so tight and hard to get on…someone should invent a comfortable sports bra. Thinking about my workout, I will just roll my mat out of the carpet in the family room.
The next morning I decide to skip my coffee and just go exercise. Then I hear my husband say, I poured your coffee. I can’t turn it down, so I decide to have my coffee and then work out. I sit down to talk and have coffee with my husband. The next thing I know, it is late morning. I have got to get in the office and get some work done and by the end of the day. No work out. Later, I decide that maybe I should just go some place and take a few classes, just to get me back in the swing of things again. But lately, I don’t like going out on a regular basis and I would not know where to go or what class to take. Maybe I could go to that place where my daughter learned to teach, but no hot yoga, I am so hot already. I thought of a line I heard in a movie, an older woman in menopause said that she needs frozen yoga! I get it; I thought that was funny and told my daughter once, and she seriously told me how bad that would be. I still thought it was funny. I verbalize to my husband my thoughts about taking a few classes at a studio just to get me started and he freaks out because in his mind each class is $50 or $65. (I don’t know where he his information). I corrected him, but was not ready to go to debate over this one so I say; Nicole (our daughter) told me that I could find some great classes online, so I’m back to that. I decide to wear my planned workout outfit to bed so I am already dressed for my workout the next day. I try the coffee pot programming question again. 9:00 AM, yes! I am back on for tomorrow.
The next day, I wake up in my work out clothes, have coffee and patiently wait until he leaves for the jobsite. Yes! Here I go. He leaves, and I roll out my mat, turn on the TV and try to read the cheat sheet for going online with the TV. Oh, but I forgot the name of the class my daughter told me about. I just decide to pull out my old workout tape. I open the drawer and find my VCR tapes, but then see a DVD workout that I forgot that I bought. I re-program the TV from Smart TV to DVD, change the sound surround so that I can hear it. I hit play and start my workout. I am in the swing of it and the phone rings, it’s my daughter. I hit pause. I always try to take her calls. I decide to pour another cup of coffee while we talk. After our conversation, I get ready to hit play, wow, I’m hungry. I leave the DVD on pause and get a little piece of cheese and go back to the mat. Play… Wow, it is hard to see what the teacher is doing in this position, I stand up, hit pause and re-wind. Oh, okay now I see. I lay down with the remote now lying by my side so I can hit pause if I have to again. Play…okay roll like a ball and “on the last one, stand up.” Oh, I like rolling like a ball…but on the last one I can’t stand up, I laugh at myself. During my laugh, my cell phone rings, I run out in the kitchen to answer the call. It is my husband who is asking why I am so out of breath. I tell him that I had to run to get the phone. He needs something done right away for the business. I hang up and go back to the DVR and rewind it to just before the place where I left off and hit pause. I work in the office for the rest of the day. At some point, I realized that I left the TV/DVR on. I quickly turn it off so no one will know that I was working out in case I don’t stick with it again or it could be a surprise when I start looking good again. Several weeks later, I notice the dust collected on my mat. I dust it and tell myself, maybe tomorrow.
With that said, we welcome you to spring! The days begin to stretch longer, and Mother Nature sheds her frost, allowing for color and vitality to dazzle us as she reveals her gardens. Energy moves around us and through us, but in order to take full advantage of the new season, it is important to clear out any sticky cobwebs that may still be clogging our system.
Spring reset for your chakras
The chakras, put simply, are our energy centers. Lined up our spine, we have seven main chakras, beginning at our tailbone (our root), stacking all the way up to the crown of our head. Over the next few days, we will be be exploring some basic insight into the chakra systems as well as some tips as to how we can begin to clear each chakra for a happy, healthy, and empowering spring!
The Root: Muladhara
With National Eating Disorder Awareness week beginning today, now is an excellent time to cultivate self-love and the power within you. At the root of eating disorders one will often times find a deeper unresolved issue. Getting to the root of one’s disorder is challenging and is a journey, but once we are able to identify and acknowledge these issues, we are able to begin to liberate ourselves from the delusions these issues create. Below are a few yoga poses to practice in order to ignite your inner fire and to cultivate self-love and gratitude.
Remember that you are a beautiful human full of light and love! Practice the way you treat and speak to yourself. Kindle your inner spark, then continue to extend that fire outward!