Surprise! Yoga isn’t just for Women. Despite Yoga participants predominantly being Women, recent years have seen the rise of Men giving the downward dog a run for its money. The benefits of Yoga are there to be enjoyed by everyone.
So, what am I talking about? Before we can dive into how you can get started, it’s always best to know what we’re talking about.
So, what is Yoga?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you probably have a rough idea of what Yoga is all about. Yoga is a combination of poses/positions, that are held for a certain amount of breathes. These breathes are slow and controlled (Eg: In through your nose out through your mouth). However the duration of poses may just be measured by time, especially if you’re just starting out.
Popular poses include:
- Downward dog
- Warrior pose
- Child’s pose
Why you should give it a try
So, what’s in it for you? Due to the nature of Yoga, most poses/positions are acting as a stretch, lengthening multiple muscles at once. Therefore, when you’re holding poses for a certain amount of time, you’re enjoying all the benefits of a deep stretch. This allows us to develop our flexibility and improve our balance.
In addition to this, here are the benefits of yoga:
- Improved flexibility and balance – Static poses, and stretches involved in Yoga help to stretch out the muscles and improve flexibility, and develop balance.
- Improves posture – Our modern-day sedentary lifestyles consist of sitting, and leaning in unnatural positions for a prolonged period of time. Yoga helps loosen those tight muscles to help naturally improve your posture.
- Low impact – Yoga is not an intense workout by nature. The combination of static poses and stretches is ideal for those with tight muscles (Eg: Sports players) and those returning from injury, to help loosen the muscles and improve range of motion at the joints.
- Helps to prevent injury – Loosening, and strengthening of the muscles and ligaments will reduce the chance of future injuries.
- Improve mood – As ridiculous as it may sound, Yoga can actually make you feel better. Similar to regular moderate intensity exercise, participation in Yoga encourages the body to release serotonin which is the bodies ‘feel good hormone’.
- No equipment needed – Although as an amateur you will be better served in a Yoga class, the workouts can be done in the comfort of your own home with no equipment. A soft mat is desirable, however a carpeted floor will serve you well.
How to start
As beginner you will be best served in a Yoga class, with the guidance of an instructor. However, there’s nothing to say that you can’t be completely self-taught. If you’re reading this with little to no experience with Yoga, then the best way to start is by practicing basic poses.
Basic poses you should begin with:
- Childs pose
- Downward dog
- Warrior 1
- Warrior 2
Not too familiar with the poses? Not to worry. There are plenty of detailed guides and tutorials on YouTube. Although I know a thing or two about how to start out, I’m certainty no Yoga expert, therefore I would recommend giving a Yoga class a go to get a better idea of how to perform the poses properly.
Yoga routines for amateurs
Yoga routines are a little like HIIT workouts, and Crossfit WODs in the sense that there aren’t really any set routines/workouts. Instead they’re made up of a combination of different exercises (In this case poses). This means that it is quite easy to create our own Yoga routine.
When you’re just starting out, it would be best to combine the poses that you’re most comfortable with to from a Yoga routine. Typical Yoga routines can last anywhere between 10 – 30 minutes. When you progress your Yoga, you will want to let your routines flow with a little more ease. This means that instead of transitioning from Warrior 1 to Childs pose, you will want to move from Hastasana, to warrior 1, to warrior 2 etc… You get the idea.
In conclusion Yoga is just as beneficial for Men as it is Women. Participation promotes increased flexibility, improved posture, and reduced change of injury. All of which come with their own list of health benefits. Although lifting weights may seem more appealing, the benefits of Yoga will only make your time in the gym more worthwhile.
Give it a go at Home, or educate yourself at your local Yoga class. Either way, the benefits of yoga are there to be shared by everyone.