Yoga may be an ancient art, but in the past two decades it is has seen unparalleled mainstream growth.
According to the 2016 Yoga in America Study there are now close to 36 million yoga practitioners in the United States, this number has risen from just 20.4 million in 2012. The business community has not ignored this popularity as yoga brands, yoga studios, and online yoga offerings are also at their highest growth rate ever.
Everyone from retired baby boomers, to CEOs, to celebrities are discovering the amazing benefits of yoga. Although growth has been consistent throughout the board, the group with the highest growth rate has been males.
According to the same study of the yoga industry, the number of male yoga practitioners has more than doubled since 2012. Up from around 4 million, there are now 10 million male practitioners in the United States. So why have so many men suddenly taken a liking to the reformative art of yoga? It’s simple, they have realized the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of yoga.
7 Reasons Why Every Man Should do Yoga
1. Yoga helps you eat better, sleep better, and be better
Male or female, yoga is phenomenal for the body. Yogis have been preaching it for years, and science is finally catching up, yoga improves just about everything in your life. According to Harvard Medical School, including eating better and sleeping better. Improved mindfulness from practicing yoga will help your diet, help you sleep better, and just generally have a more holistic view of your personal health.
2. Yoga helps process stress
Yoga preaches the here and now, staying present in the moment. All stress either lives in regret from the past, or in fear of the future. This is core to how yoga helps you process stress and other negative emotions, especially for men who have a harder time processing negative feelings.
Everyone deals with stress in different ways. Yoga helps you realize how you deal with stress. Even better, yoga will help your body recover from years of bad habits invoked by stress. People carry stress and other negative emotions with them physically, which is something yoga can help fix. By learning to deal with stress in the moment, you won’t have to carry it with you throughout the day.
3. Yoga helps you step outside of your comfort zone
“Yoga is for women” is something most guys have likely heard when on the subject. This statement isn’t wrong, yoga is for women, but it is for men too. The physical, emotional, and mental benefits of yoga aren’t gender specific. So why don’t more men do yoga? The reason is because it’s outside of their comfort zone. There are tremendous benefits to stepping outside of your comfort zone, in fact all growth actually only occurs outside of your comfort zone.
4. Yoga follows you off the mat
Most forms of exercise stay in the gym, the pool, the court, or the field. Yoga is not one of these forms of exercise. The physical habits and emotional strength you can learn from yoga will follow you back home, into the office, and onto the street. These habits are especially important for men who want to break away from the traditional male ego. Being a yogi means being humble and kind, which may not fit into some traditional views of how a man should be in society.
Taking lessons from yoga into your routine day can provide incredible benefits, not only for yourself but for those around you.The world is a busy place, but yoga can help you slow it down throughout the day.
5. Yoga improves flexibility and joint strength
For those of us who are millennials, we know what the stereotypical male physique should be (see WWF). The ideal man was once bulky, strong, and powerful. Men are naturally more muscular and less flexible than women. This fact combined with the traditional male ideal makes men think there is an inverse relationship between strength and flexibility, which is actually the opposite of the truth!
The benefits of flexibility are many, just ask Harvard Medical School. By increasing flexibility you increase your range of motion, allowing you to actually gain strength and muscular definition. Increased flexibility and joint strength will improve your training, definition, and power more than any other factor.
6. Yoga helps you recover from injury
If you have ever had an injury that keeps you from exercising, you know how hard it can be not to re-injure yourself by becoming active too soon or pushing yourself too hard. The reason most injuries recur is because people often focus on the wrong components of rehabilitation. Just like for a healthy person, flexibility and joint strength are the greatest factors when it comes to rehabbing certain injuries.
This is especially the case for men, who often think of rehabilitation as increasing strength alone. Range of motion is incredibly important when rehabilitating from injury, because if you don’t increase it quickly, you may never get it back again, and this is where yoga can help. By increasing flexibility and range of motion, you will duly increase your strength. See our story about how yoga helped me deal with my should injury for a first person account of its power.
7. Yoga helps prevent injury
Injury can happen to us in the gym, on the field, or even going through our daily lives. Sometimes there is no avoiding injury, but most of the time you can prepare your body for trauma by creating long, flexible muscles and strong joints. Flexibility is one of the biggest factors for avoiding injury in sports or elsewhere. Most men focus on having short, inflexible muscles, however this will actually make them more prone to injury in the long run. Yoga can not only help you recover from injury, but it can help you avoid it altogether.
At PAYoga Forward we try to spread yoga to new students, while improving the practice of existing students. We do all of this to support non-profit and charitable causes. PAYoga Forward by visiting our shop today.