The Jakarta Post
A man practices sun salutations on the beach at sunset (Shutterstock/cdelacy)
An hour on the mat in a yoga class might not be at the top of a man’s mind. But once a man is aware that yoga improves strength, coordination and cardiovascular health, just to name a few, he is likely to anticipate the next yoga class before the current one ends.
Kompas.com pointed out that regular yoga practice will sharpen mental focus and ward off toxins from the body. It also enhances body flexibility, supports physical readiness for other exercises, and improves sexual performance.
Here is a further explanation on the five benefits of yoga for men:
1. Extends the range of motion
Men have certain muscles that are the main targets of exercises at the gym, such as hamstrings, glutes, abdomen and shoulders. However, these muscles can only be trained to a certain limit. When they focus on certain exercises such as weightlifting or bench press, the repetitive and monotonous movements only affect certain groups of muscles. And in the long run, this will restrain the muscles’ range of motion and growth.
According to ekhartyoga.com, yoga is a way to build muscles. It uses natural body weight and resistance to build lean muscle mass, lengthening the muscles and tissue, which improves blood flow. Better blood flow means more oxygen to the muscles, which helps them recover faster so they can grow. It is therefore wise to alternate between gym exercises with yoga.
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2. Improves breathing
Breathing is an unconscious round-the-clock act, providing necessary oxygen to our bodies. Naturally, our bodies are designed to breathe through the nose and we need to breathe the right way.
According to gaiam.com, experts say that most people breathe at 10-20 percent of their full capacity. This poor way of breathing can contribute to a multitude of health problems, from high blood pressure to insomnia. Fortunately, when exposed to yoga, a person will become accustomed to breathe in and out through the nose, taking in fuller, deeper breaths, which stimulates the lower lung to distribute greater amounts of oxygen throughout the body.
That way of breathing, known as proper nasal breathing, is able to enhance workouts as it increases energy and vitality.
3. Creates a balanced body and mind
It is important for our muscles to be in balance so that they support each other equally. Unfortunately, nobody has a perfectly balanced body. Mindbodyonline.com discusses the benefit of yoga for runners, giving examples that certain people can have hips that turn inward when running, causing hip-related issues. Other people may step incorrectly, causing a torque-ing motion in their muscles and resulting in a pull of the muscles in the shin.
The site went on to write that our bodies compensate for imbalances that cause tight muscles to become tighter and weak muscles to become weaker. Practicing yoga helps overcome these problems, as it helps strengthen and stretch muscles, and therefore minimize injury. Furthermore, yoga trains the mind to focus internally rather than externally, creating a balanced mind as well.
4. Helps relaxation
There have to be certain days where you have to take a break from exercising but are required to stay active. Yoga can be the answer, as it keeps your body active but relaxed at the same time. It also helps your muscles recover, getting you ready for the next gym session.
Read also: There’s no place like Ubud for yoga
5. Improves sex life
Men who practice yoga are highly aware of their bodies and have a low level of anxiety. Yoga also helps increase blood flow to the genital area. According to Ekhart Yoga, the practice also helps rid the body of toxins that affect sexual performance.
Men’s Health reported that a 2011 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that men who practiced yoga for 12 weeks reported improved sexual function overall – including on measures of desire, satisfaction with sex and their orgasm. These benefits are likely due to a combination of better pelvic muscle tone and improvements in mood, among others. (mut)