Yoga is beneficial for both women AND men. Read on for some sage advise from a good friend of YWS,
Dr. Robert Rodine.
Yoga IS Manly written by Dr. Robert Rodine
Once upon a time, I assumed that yoga did not require strength or power and was in no way a manly activity. I was like many men that were a bit shy to enter a yoga studio, and certainly didn't know what to expect once I got there. These are common (manly) misconceptions as most men just don’t consider yoga to embody the qualities of strength and courage typically attributed to manliness. For some reason, we naturally expect explosive movements, a high intensity atmosphere and hard rock music playing in the background. This is a far cry away from the perception of a softly lit studio, Tibetan flute music and people chanting 'Om' in a circle.
However, after attending my first class, I realized that
yoga is definitely for men. In fact, it was one of the best workouts I had experienced. But rather than ending feeling exhausted, I left feeling energized, alert and revived. Best of all, the feeling was still there when I woke up the next morning.
As both a physical and mental discipline, yoga aims to strengthen our entire selves. The practice is systematic, progressive and in the control of each participant. Each individual practices to their ability, pushing their own boundaries. Everyone begins at their own level and grows from there. This approach not only becomes safer physically, but also becomes very rewarding as you experience your own progress.
Most importantly, the physical nature of yoga is not about strength or power. The focus of its practice is on the movement itself, and the quality with which that movement is performed. This is where participating in a class is vastly different than stretching on your own in the basement. Through corrective feedback, an instructor will help ensure you are performing each stretch properly. This ensures that the correct tissues are being stressed, rather than pressures taking the path of least resistance (aka tissues prone to injury).
There are numerous benefits of yoga. Increasing strength, flexibility, circulation, balance and self-awareness. But lots of things do that. …Like football, hockey and golf. So why should you, a real man, consider yoga?
One advantage is that yoga acts like cross-training. It activates and introduces flexibility into muscles and joints differently from your regular sports and activities. This can help to minimize the frequency and seriousness of overuse and sports related injuries, improve your agility and performance and help you to rebalance your biomechanics.
This last point is relevant to athletes, weekend warriors and the regular Joe. As our bodies adapt to the demands placed upon it, we develop muscle imbalances and adopt movement patterns that are less than optimal. As an example, we can all touch our toes, but how we get there is a little different for everyone.
Lastly, yoga offers an excellent opportunity for someone to enter a physical activity program that’s gentle, supervised, low impact and progressive. If you haven’t exercised in twenty years, going for a jog twice a week might result in more problems that it can solve. Starting out with a yoga program might actually help your body become better prepared for the physical demands required to start jogging.
Essentially, participating in regular yoga will not just make you better at performing yoga poses. It will also help you perform better at the other activities you love. You know…. the ones already considered manly.
Dr. Robert Rodine is a Chiropractor with
Restorative Health serving Smiths Falls, Perth, Lanark County, Merrickville and Lombardy.