Real Men Do Yoga
Over the years, Yoga has become a very popular fitness exercise. What started as a 5,000-year-old Hindu tradition is now one of the biggest global fads. It is estimated that there are 250 million Yoga practitioners worldwide, but with its vast commercialisation it has become a concern whether people truly understand what Yoga is all about.
One such indication of this is Yoga’s distinct lack of male following, especially in the West. There seems to be a misconception that Yoga is meant only for women and that it is not challenging enough to merit the interest of men. But the men who have actually tried Yoga have found that it is actually so much more difficult than it looks and getting Yoga asana (positions) right takes plenty of strength, endurance, and stamina. It is also important to note that traditional Yoga had initially been taught as a man’s discipline in Hindu culture, and is still being revered and practised by men from different walks of life today. Fun fact: Yoga is one of the favourite pastimes of Iron Man (well, Robert Downey Jr.) and rock star Adam Levine, and both men have testified to the many benefits that Yoga has brought to their everyday lives.
And what are these benefits of Yoga exactly? On a physical level, Yoga develops every muscle in your body, even and especially the ones you hardly notice, such as your muscle tendons. It is very important for men to move, stretch, and strengthen their bodies, and though Yoga might not make you grow muscles like those of body builders, it will give you muscles which are healthier and more refined than those other guys can achieve. Because while body building can only really build superficial muscles, Yoga develops the microfibre muscles and your core muscle—and help you form that “basket” for your stomach and intestines (the opposite of which is a saggy belly). The exercise that Yoga entails also stretches the vertebral column and the tendons unlike any other, which enables you to avoid nerve blockage that causes problems such as tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome.
It is possible that men are wary about doing Yoga because they are afraid that they won’t be able to do it as well as women. It seems that women mostly find it easier than men to engage in different Yoga asana, probably because they have smaller muscles. Men have bigger muscles and every movement entails two muscles opposing each other: biceps and triceps, quads and hamstrings, and so on. It is not easy to sit down in a lotus position and be silent for twenty minutes during breathing exercise, and many men would rather go for sports instead. But Yoga is truly more than just another physical challenge. It has great spiritual benefits as well, and one of these benefits is how it strengthens our relationship with our body, mind, and soul. So when you do Yoga—the oldest and best form of exercise—look at it as a competition with yourself, to see how much further you can fortify your entire being.
Real Men Do Yoga