If you look around in any type of yoga class, there’s a good chance you’ll see many more women than men there. Want your guy to join you on the mat? There are tons of benefits of yoga for men, so pass the word along.
Reduces Injuries from Weight Lifting
A lot of guys think that working out is all about moderate to intense cardio and lifting weights, but the flexibility and balance components that yoga offers can increase overall peformance and range of motion. Even though yoga makes you stronger, you won’t have to ask your significant other to trade in weight lifting for yoga. They can be complementary.
One of the most basic ways yoga can help prevent injuries is by making you more aware of your body as a whole. You know those little twinges that are easy to ignore if you’re not really in tune with your body? They become a signal to take a rest or make a change to your routine before it becomes a real injury. A little pain or tightness will tell you where to pay extra attention to your body, whether you stretch a little longer or back off on the intensity or weight until you can recover.
Because you’re often working your whole body in yoga, you’re strengthening both sides equally. If you play a lot of sports or allow yourself to use your dominant side more than your non-dominant one in those sports or just daily life (who doesn’t, without a conscious effort?), you run a risk of straining or injuring your weaker side when you try to treat both sides equally in the weight room.
Increases Libido and Improves Sex Life
One quick way to get just about any man to try something new is to tell him it’s likely to result in more (or better) sex! Being flexible in bed is never a bad thing, and while yoga will help with that, there are other sexual benefits of yoga as well.
The increased blood flow to the pelvic region, relaxation, and confidence that comes from watching yourself and your partner become stronger can increase libido for the average couple. If you and your significant other are struggling with something specific behind the closed boudoir door, yoga may be able to help there, too.
For example, many of erectile dysfunction’s causes—anxiety, extra weight, stress, restricted blood flow—are addressed at least in part by a simple yoga practice. Not only that, but the mindfulness learned in yoga carries over to other activities in your life, like sex. If you’re truly in the moment, the sex is better for both of you and may even last longer.
You could also enjoy partner yoga, which increases intimacy and allows you to connect with your significant other on a new level. This practice isn’t actually sexual, but it can make you feel closer to your man, and that translates into hotter sex later.
Check out Elephant Journal for poses that improve your sex life. The article’s written for women, but several of them will benefit men, too.
Perfect for Traveling
What better workout is there for traveling than one that uses your own body weight as resistance? You can do it anywhere, using DVDs, online videos, apps, books, or just your own memory and intuition to run through a quick routine–even in a hotel room! Though it may not be your man’s favorite method of working out, it is a way for him to stay strong and flexible on the go. There’s no need to pack any other equipment or stress about finding a place to work out when you’re on vacation or visiting family.
You Don’t Need a Gym Membership to Do It
You can do yoga just about anywhere, and it’s free! Joining a gym or going to a specialized yoga studio can be a little intimidating at first, not to mention expensive, but you can do yoga in the privacy of your own home. Very little, if any, money is involved, and your guy won’t have to feel out of place in a room full of women. Once he’s more comfortable, he may surprise you by asking to join you in a class.
Works Out Muscles and Muscle Groups You May Miss in Other Workouts
Especially if your man really loves using the machines at the gym—or even if he’s a free-weight junkie—yoga will work so many more muscles. One of the beautiful things about yoga is its ability to work several muscles at once, large and small. Think about doing curls in the gym. You’re mostly isolating that bicep, but not much else. When you’re engaged in a yoga pose, so many different muscles are working to support your body, and some of them are the ones you’d never think to work out on their own.
Another benefit of yoga for men (and women) is the way it activates slow-twitch muscle fibers. If he’s just running, sprinting, and even making quick weight-lifting movements, he’s focusing on fast-twitch muscle fibers. Working those is great for speed and short, intense bursts of activity, but it’s important to slow it down, work on slow-twitch muscles, and build endurance while also increasing oxygen supply. Yoga helps with that, which is why it’s good to hit the mat at least once or twice per week. If you’re interested, Greatist has more information on fast-twitch vs. slow-twitch muscles.
It’s a Quick Way to Reduce Stress
Yoga has quite the reputation for being a stress-buster!
A study in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy showed that yoga is just as effective as specialized programs for stress relief. The study was conducted using men and women randomly assigned to either the stress relief program or the yoga classes. After four months, there were no significant differences in the psychological or physiological evidence of stress between the two groups, and both groups showed improvement from the beginning of the study to the end.
In another study, this time from Complementary Therapies in Medicine, just one hour per week of yoga over the course of ten weeks reduced stress and anxiety and improved mental health more than relaxation.
Hitting the Mat with Your Man
Though yoga may not have been on your guy’s radar before, who can say no to the benefits of yoga for men like stress reduction, a better sex life, and a stronger, more balanced and powerful body overall? Encourage your boyfriend or husband to attend a class with you or just give him a quick intro to a few of your favorite poses at home. Let us know what he thinks!