I remember when I first started practising yoga a couple of years ago, every time I mentioned it to somebody, they looked at me like I was some kind of crazy person. They came out with all kinds of ignorant statements.
“Yoga? Isn’t that yoga for girls?”
That was probably the main one I came across.
I was originally introduced to yoga while listening to a podcast featuring Dorian Yates, a retired professional bodybuilder and 6-time Mr Olympia (from 1991-1997). Not the kind of person you’d imagine doing yoga!
During his competition days, Dorian Yates was upwards of 260lb on stage. He was a mountain of a man, so outrageously large that you can’t help but wonder how he managed to wipe his own backside.
However these days, we see a much leaner and more flexible version of Yates. He has openly stated to have cut down on the weightlifting and he now religiously practices yoga… and it’s completely changed his life.
He suffered many injuries during his bodybuilding career, including rotator cuff injuries and torn bicep/triceps muscles.
Despite all of these injuries, yoga has him feeling better than ever.
Although he said he originally thought yoga was only for women, he now insists that yoga has ‘given him a brand new body’, with his joints and muscles feeling healthier and more flexible than ever before.
Fortunately, as time has moved on, many more men have been opening their eyes to the beauty of yoga and there are now far more people reaping the benefits of the practice.
There are many other celebrities who are now getting on the mat and making the wonders of yoga more apparent to the public. Some of these names include Russell Brand, Robert Downey Jr, Joe Rogan and many more.
Muscles aside, there are many other benefits to be experienced from practising yoga. Healthier joints, increased sex drive and improved sleep quality are just a few of these, along with a huge decrease in the effects of depression and anxiety.
In fact, you can check out this article if you’d like to learn more about using yoga to relieve stress, depression and anxiety.
The wonderful perks of yoga are readily available to anybody with a small spark of curiosity and the ability to take action and give it a try.
However, in the past, there have been many stigmas and stereotypes surrounding yoga, some of which are nothing more than BS.
So before you begin your journey, let’s quickly run over 5 of the most common myths that you will come across when starting out with your practice, especially when it comes to yoga for men.
Yoga For Men – Myth #1: Yoga is just for girls.
I’ve already mentioned this one briefly, but it’s one of the biggest misconceptions regarding yoga, especially in the west.
Most types of yoga were actually started by men and were originally only practised by men.
The fact is that in most cases, resistance training and stretching have exactly the same positive effects in men and women alike.
There are some exercises which lean towards one more than the other but for the most part, great exercise is great exercise.
I think the problem is that most of us men nowadays are driven by our egos, and we feel as though if we want a ‘manly’ workout, we have to be in the gym pumping iron.
I love lifting weights as much as the next guy, but yoga for men has plenty of benefits that you would never get from a bench press or a deadlift.
Think of a downward facing dog pose – the arms and shoulders are gaining strength by having to isometrically contract and hold the body up, while your back is being stretched, relieving the compression and tension you’ve built up from day-to-day activity.
You’d never get these benefits from a deadlift… you’d simply get an increase in muscle and strength (which definitely has it’s place also!).
In short: there are plenty of benefits of yoga for men, too.
Yoga For Men – Myth #2: Yoga is easy, it’s not a proper workout.
This one makes me laugh whenever I hear it.
Ashtanga yoga is one of the most intense workouts I’ve ever had. It’s a style of yoga which consists of continuous movement.
Its purpose is actually to heat the body up and help purify the system.
If you ever try Ashtanga, prepare to be drenched in sweat the whole time!
It’s an incredibly tough type of exercise which strengthens the body, gets your heart rate up and also allows you to practice mindfulness at the same time.
You’re not just aimlessly exercising – you’re consciously doing everything with intention and purpose.
Yoga is a brilliant and extremely tiring workout when performed properly. Call up your local yoga class and see if they do Ashtanga yoga or something similar. There are various different types of yoga for men, just try and find something which suits you!
Yoga For Men – Myth #3: You have to be flexible to do yoga.
There are levels to everything, and yoga is no different. When I started practising yoga, I’d actually suffered from a lower back problem from constantly running in the military, and I couldn’t put my socks on in the morning.
I was probably one of the least flexible people I knew! I could barely bend forward enough to touch my knees, let alone my toes!
In fact, sometimes it can be detrimental to your practice if you’re super flexible when starting out, as it can encourage you to go too deep into poses before you know them properly, resulting in injury.
When you aren’t particularly flexible, you need to gradually ease into each new pose, which allows your flexibility, your muscles and your joints to all progress at the same rate.
This way, you can keep your body safe while progressing onto more challenging poses.
Yoga For Men – Myth #4: You have to know all the pose names and stuff like that
Whenever we embark on a new endeavour, whether it’s related to our health, business, knowledge or anything else, we always need to be open to learning new things.
But the instructors are there for a reason, and they usually teach and demonstrate the moves perfectly.
Through consistent practice, you’ll learn the moves, how to do them, and the names of them relatively effortlessly – so don’t be afraid to learn something new.
Yoga For Men – Myth #5: Yoga is all religious and spiritual.
It’s very unlikely that anybody at your local yoga studio will try and get you to pray to any religion or to commit yourself to any philosophy.
Nowadays, the majority of people use yoga simply as a form of exercise and a technique to improve their mindfulness.
In some parts of the world, yoga still has many religious connotations, but it’s very rare in the west.
I can’t speak for every school out there, but if you feel as though this could be an issue, I’d recommend checking out the website for that particular studio or even giving them a quick phone call to check.
I think we can all agree that while most yoga classes are full of flexible women in tight yoga pants, it has exactly the same benefits for us guys.
Through the practice of yoga, not only will you be stronger and more flexible, but you’ll find yourself going about your day with far more mindfulness and clarity.
You’ll also regulate your hormones, improve your libido, and your wellbeing will be through the roof.
And who knows… maybe you might even be able to touch your toes!
So go ahead and grab yourself a yoga mat and get started right away. This is the one I use, and it’s lasted a couple of years with minimal wear and tear. I’d definitely recommend it.
If you’re getting into yoga with the aim of losing weight, I strongly suggest you check out the Brilliant Yoga system. It’s an effective program to boost your metabolism, drop body fat and tone up your body using yoga. Plus, it’s packed with useful information!
Check it out below…
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