Real Men Do Yoga
Ask almost anyone who has never practiced yoga to visualize a yoga class, and they'll probably describe a bunch of women in form fitting clothes, bending and stretching themselves on colored mats. They'll probably talk about the chanting and the famous "OM" sound. They probably won't talk about the men.
I can tell you first hand that more and more men are taking to the yoga mats. They're in it for the exercise. It's a good workout that reaps many physical benefits. Men tend to favor more athletic and fast-paced styles of yoga such as Ashtanga, which is sometimes called power yoga. Many use it as a complimentary cross-training program to enhance whatever sport they play.
For runners with tight hamstrings, Downward Dog will provide the necessary loosening of muscles. For those pumping iron, upper body openers like the Cobra can help unlock chest and shoulders. And since yoga offers variety and athletic challenge, men don't become bored. They discover that holding an intense position actually builds strength. But this strength emulates that of a martial arts master.
It has been proven that yoga builds flexible muscles and can prevent injuries from sports like football and wrestling. It also helps heal the injuries sometimes induced by other sports. For example, the repetitive motion of a golf swing can aggravate lower back pain in the lumbar region.
Another benefit of yoga is that it sharpens your mental game. Its meditative breathing calms nerves and encourages concentration. When it comes to competition - especially at the Olympic level when every athlete is at the top of his or her game - the deciding factor is always the mental state of the athlete. Who is more focused? Who wants the win more?
Indeed, yoga is a practice with a tradition. It's a tradition that encourages each student to become the best they she or he can be. As we make strides in our world regarding equality, it's important to know that men and women reap equal benefits on the mat. Yoga doesn't favor women over men. Just ask some of the men on the mats. In their yoga down time, you'll find them playing football, swinging a golf club or baseball bat or shooting hoops. And, they're good.