Why men should do yoga
Back Pain? Poor Sleep? High blood pressure? Sciatica? Stress? Tension? Tight muscles?
Many of us can relate to at least one of these problems if not several, and no, yoga will not cure any of them. However, yoga can help support, alleviate, lessen and improve any of these issues, and that is just the tip of the iceberg.
Who am I and why am I talking about yoga?
I’m man in my fifties. Most of my adult life I worked as a photographer which was great, except that I wrecked my right shoulder and wrist by carrying cameras and gear in a shoulder bag for 20 years. Add to that the stress of being self employed and the uncertainly that brings to a husband and father. Personally, yoga has been incredibly helpful in healing my body and easing my mind
Heal your body
You can probably imagine some of the physical benefits of yoga. Most of us equate yoga with flexibility, but that is not the whole picture. Yes, stretching is a part of many yoga poses, but strengthening muscles comes before stretching them. This leads to increased mobility which is really what we want in our bodies as we grow older.
Yoga poses tend to strenghthen spinal muscles and support elongation of the spine. This is where we find some relief from back pain by taking some of the pressure off of our vertebral discs.
Take a breath
Being a guy means living with male culture. There is always that undertone of competition. Who makes more money? Who has the better house, car, job, vacation? Who has the hotter wife/girlfriend/partner… it goes on and on and on.
This may be just part of being a guy, but it doesn’t have to be the only thing.
Come up for air
Yoga is a place where you don’t have to compare yourself to anyone. Just do your work, your pose, your breathing… how does it feel today? Don’t worry about what you used to be able to do or what you wish you could, just do what you can do today and tomorrow will take care of itself.
Along with the physical benefits of yoga, there is also a peace of mind brought on from focusing on the moment, taking care of your body and doing something you know is good for you.
Thinking about giving yoga a try?
If you want to give yoga a try, I suggest going to an in-person class. Youtube and other videos have their rightful place in your yoga practice, but if you are just starting our (or have been away from yoga for a few years) you’re waaay better off going in-person to start. The best way to feel the benefit of yoga is to learn it in a safe way with proper alignment.
What to look for in a yoga class:
- Find an alignment based class, when in doubt call and ask. Alignment classes will usually move more slowly and will favor proper placement of feet, knees, hips, etc… over movement in and out of poses. Key words to look for on a teacher’s website are alignment, Iyengar, Anusara, & Hatha
- Avoid ‘hot yoga’ until you know what you are getting yourself into. Hot and sweaty sounds appealing sometimes, but the heat can make you feel like you can stretch more than you should. Wait until you are solid in the basic yoga poses before trying out heat
- Maybe try out a ‘slow flow’ or ‘gentle flow’ class if you can’t find an alignment based one. These classes tend to be less hardcore and therefore a much better choice to test the waters.
Classes in Marin County, California
If you live in my area, I’d love to have you come to a class (and yes, it’s an alignment based Hatha class).
My current recurring weekly classes are:
Be sure to check out my calendar page, too, for new classes or classes when I am subbing for someone else