Many men gravitate toward competitive, high-impact sports that unleash built-up energy: think pick-up basketball, or Crossfit. But they are now starting to find that their girlfriends, wives or female friends, who are practicing yoga, are standing upright, strong, and happy at the end of their day. These ladies may actually have found some things that a lot of men are missing: Compassion, coordination, mindfulness and overall physiological balance.
So more and more men are giving yoga a try — discovering that yoga for men will train the body, just as it trains (and calms) the mind.
Not only does yoga increase flexibility, but it also strengthens, lengthens and builds muscles without irritation. Certain poses, like twists and forward folds, can also stimulate digestion and detoxification.
Emotionally, men may benefit from yoga by taking the time to wind down, to be present and to focus on one thing at a time. A study in the Journal of Activity and Health found that 20 minutes of Hatha Yoga stimulates brain function more than walking or jogging on the treadmill for the same time. That better head space can lead to better decisions, relationships and increased productivity.
But what many men may be particularly interested in is that more time on the mat can often mean more time between the sheets. Not only is yoga an amazing stress reliever, but most postures improve flexibility, increase blood flow, and open your heart—all of which are necessary for a hot sex life.
Kevin Mattison, a retired military officer, is a case in point. In 2011, he was attacked on a subway train. A month later, his mother died. Already in so much pain, the following month, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
“At the recommendation of a few women in my life, I started practicing Hatha yoga. Yoga not only flushed away all my pain and anger, it played a major role in the elimination of prostate cancer and hypertension. I now unequivocally credit yoga for saving my life.”
I don’t know a single guy that could not benefit from some time on the mat — especially if they’re over 40. The media consistently misleads men into thinking that they need to workout like a gladiator in order to be healthy and masculine. However, these workouts prepare you for gladiator activities and are without question unsustainable. Remember, yogis don’t retire, and gladiators do — and that’s if they survive!
Kevin, now a certified Hatha Yoga instructor shares some tips for getting your guy on the mat:
1. Love and respect your man. Don’t try to push him to do something when he’s simply not interested. All men are not convinced about yoga and its benefits at the same time that their mates are.
2. Incentivize your man with a prize after he completes the yoga class. Make the prize whatever you like — or better yet, whatever he likes.
3. Challenge him if that’s what he responds to: Ask him if he’s concerned about the class being competitive. He’ll be fired up to show off his fitness level!
4. Ask him if he thinks that yoga is “for girls.” Assure him that many men already practice yoga at your studio and that he won’t stick out.
5. Ask him if he’s intimidated by being in a room full of beautiful women.
6. Tell him you’d be extremely grateful/turned on if he came to class and ‘maxed out’ while you were watching! (Speak his language!)
7. Perhaps your man thinks that yoga is for flexible people. In that case, ask him to stay close to you so that you can be beginners together; beginning class together and ending class together.
8. Tell him he’s your hero (again, that language!) and you want him there to share a great time together.
9. Ask him if he thinks that yoga people are weird.
10. Tell him that yoga is a great cross-training option for his regular fitness regime, like running, weight-lifting, etc.
11. Tell your man that no one will care about what he thinks of his body, his flexibility, strength, or ability to balance. It is a judgment-free zone!
12. Tell your man that you want him around forever, and that you’d like him to try something that’s really going to impact his total body function and longevity.
13. Is your man an introvert? Tell him that there’s no talking! Is your man an extrovert? Tell him that it’s gonna’ be a ‘puppy pile’ full of down dogs!
14. Ask your man if he was aware that professional sports teams have been encouraging their players to practice yoga. The Denver Nuggets, Philadelphia Eagles, and New York Giants have even added yoga instructors to their staffs.
15. Tell your man that you want to show him off to all the girls in the class!
Once you get him to agree to get on the mat, set it up for the best experience possible:
-Don’t let him eat within three hours before taking class.
-It generally takes one to two hours to hydrate your body, so make sure your man drinks plenty of water and includes electrolytes a couple of hours before class.
-Make sure you know the teacher – and type of yoga class you are bringing him to.
No matter what his emotional, energetic, or physical challenges, change will happen.
ABOUT KEVIN MORGAN MATTISON, MS
Kevin Mattison, a certified yoga instructor and founder of Aomori-ken ryu Self Defense. He brings an open mind and heart to the art and science to his teaching, “As our bodies process what we do in the hot room, we incrementally fix what needs repair and enhance what’s already working.”
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Photo: Digo_Souza via Flickr; courtesy of Kevin Mattison