I was discussing yoga at a party a while ago. One guy said he was going to take his first yoga class in the morning. It was getting late and he’d been helping himself to the punch, so I asked him if he was sure he was going to make it to class.
“Depends on how much I drink tonight, I guess,” he said, as he poured himself another glass. It didn’t look like he’d be going anywhere in the morning and he didn’t seem to want to. As we talked further, he conveyed he was nervous about trying yoga.
For a lot of men there’s a real mental block about yoga and this fellow at the party was no exception. In honour of him and all the other men in our lives who really would benefit from yoga if they just mustered the courage and had an open enough mind to give it a chance, here are three of many huge rewards men reap from practising yoga.
For various reasons, men tend to be less flexible than women. Getting a yoga flex gives men a greater range of motion, resulting in a sense of bodily freedom and greater ease of movement.
With time, this flexibility is truly a lifesaver, potentially making the difference between a stooped-over, cane-bearing old age and continued enjoyment of a fairly full range of physical activities as long as we live.
2. Mind-body balance
For centuries western culture has operated with the mind being portrayed as disconnected from the body. Consequently, we do a lot of thinking, completely unaware that our minds are attached to bodies.
As Eckhart Tolle and other wise beings have pointed out, the mind dominates so entirely that we can’t control it.
For most of us to stop thinking upon command would be as difficult as to stop digesting on the spot.
We men tend to exhibit more of this mind dominance than women, expressing ourselves more often in supposedly rational terms and less in tune with our emotional connection to ourselves and others.
Yoga is a powerful tool for restoring our natural balance, allowing us to think more clearly, integrating mind and emotions, grounding us through body awareness.
Some men still believe that yoga is for women and wimps. That is until they step onto a mat. Then they see that yoga challenges their physical strength and endurance.
Speaking about his first yoga class, Bruins goalie Tim Thomas admitted, “I was sweating within five minutes. I didn’t know how I was going to make it through the rest of the hour.” This from a world-class professional athlete.
Men, yoga will make you strong in an integrated, full-bodied way. In other words, it’ll give you real,sustainable strength that you might think you have, but don’t. Now that’s a goal worth aiming for!
Che Nolan is a propologist with a major in bolsterology and an Iyengar yoga practitioner with a daily meditation practice. He is also a writer and a regular Halfmoon contributor.