In Western culture, yoga is a primarily female-dominated activity, whilst in the East yoga is much more accessible, and is instead seen as a daily activity for both men and women due to the number of mental and physical benefits it presents for both genders. It is important to note that there is no men’s yoga or women’s yoga, instead, it’s the benefits that may differ depending on what you hope to achieve.
That being said, it’s a misconception to think there is only one type of yoga. In fact, there are many different types of yoga and each can be used to provide specific benefits, but they are not gendered, though some types are more popular than others with the male population. For example, ashtanga yoga is great for men who are building strength and muscle, whereas vinyasa is a good choice for men hoping to improve their flexibility or those who enjoy a calisthenic workout.
In this blog, we’ll guide you through some of the different benefits of yoga for men so that you can see why incorporating yoga into your workout routine can amplify your performance output, assist with cross-training and improve your overall health.
Yoga is a fantastic exercise for men, regardless of age or ability, as it uses your body weight and endurance to improve your overall fitness. No matter if you're a gym enthusiast or have no workout equipment at all, yoga is accessible to everyone. Yoga can be challenging for some men as flexibility is required to assume the correct position in the poses, but each pose can be adjusted to suit your range of motion until you can attain a deeper stretch and pose correctly. In order to understand why yoga is so good for men, let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits it presents.
Arguably the best-known benefit of yoga, improved flexibility and mobility helps you to move with ease and enhance your overall agility. This is especially beneficial if you are cross-training for any other sports that require a full range of motion such as football, rugby, martial arts, or skiing. Many of these sports require repetitive movements which may result in pain or injury over time, but with regular yoga practice this discomfort can be avoided and your performance improved.
Many men naturally struggle with flexibility, but don’t worry if you feel limited in your range of movement at first as you’ll get better with more practice. Plenty of tutorials, classes, and books are available detailing the ins and outs of yoga for men so that you can get the right technique.
Many men are eager to build muscle or improve overall strength, and yoga is a great way to do this. By utilising body weight and a wide variety of poses that target your muscles from your head to your toes, yoga helps to break down fat and replace it with lean muscle. Despite its perception as a low-impact and easy-going sport, a yoga workout can be extremely challenging and really test your muscular endurance, making it an excellent choice for strength training and a full-body workout. There are specific types of yoga for strength building, including ashtanga and power yoga, and you don’t need to be an expert or have prior yoga experience to get started.
Yoga doesn’t only bring physical benefits, but it seeks to unify the mind, body and soul. Scientific studies have shown that yoga has numerous benefits for mental health and can improve cognitive function and mood. Those who practise yoga regularly see reduced stress and anxiety levels with long-lasting effects, additionally, research has shown that yoga may help to improve memory, learning, and reaction times.
Alongside improved vitality, yoga can help men who suffer from insomnia or irregular sleeping patterns by calming their minds and body so that they can get a more restful sleep at night. In turn, this allows you to successfully tackle fatigue during the day to give you more energy for other activities.
Yoga can help to encourage blood flow around the body and to the muscles. This is important for a number of reasons, but in terms of exercise, this allows fresh oxygen to be supplied to the muscles and allows for the efficient removal of toxins. Improved circulation means less risk of soreness after exercise as well as overall health improvement.
If you frequently suffer from a cold or flu, yoga is a great way for men and women alike to build a more robust immune system. Yoga positions (also sometimes known as asanas) force us to tighten and relax our muscles which drives lymph fluids and infection-fighting white blood cells through the body - it’s these fluids that help protect us from viruses or bacteria-borne illnesses by carrying away the broken down infectious waste from the muscles so they can then be expelled from the body.
Men who attend the gym or practise high-contact sports may be more susceptible to injuries, though even an incorrect posture whilst sitting can cause discomfort and pain. Yoga can help you to prevent and recover from such injuries, particularly when practising restorative yoga. This is ideal for men who need time to recover from an injury but don’t want to sacrifice fitness and exercise.
Men should aim to practise yoga at least three times a week in 30-minute sessions in order to see the most benefit. You can opt for a daily yoga routine, but you should account for rest and recovery days by making sure that one of those sessions is more of a gentle flow. Beginners should start off with two sessions a week, or four sessions of gentle yoga.
Since yoga requires flexibility, you will need to wear comfortable clothing that allows for plenty of stretch and movement. Some men like to wear loose fisherman-style trousers, but others find that all that fabric can be quite irritating. Instead, we’d recommend opting for a pair of comfortable shorts or track pants. The Focus classic shorts and Focus tech pants make excellent choices and are available in a wide array of colours to ensure you can find a style that suits you.
As for tops, we’d recommend the Focus classic jersey as it offers plenty of stretch and is breathable, making it perfect for more intense yoga sessions. Alternatively, the Enigma jersey has also been engineered with performance in mind and makes for an excellent addition to any workout wardrobe, whether that be yoga, lifting weights, or football.
Whether you prefer to start off your journey at home or are planning to head to a yoga studio, you’ll need to make sure that you have the right gear to get started. With lots of lifestyle clothing and fitness gear available at Avec Sport, you’ll be able to travel to and from your yoga workout in unmatched style and comfort.