Yoga for Men’s Health

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the health outcomes for males are often poorer than those of females. 

With this article, I would like to contribute and raise the awareness for men’s health issues. Here is my message to men:

Eat healthy, make sure you have enough sleep and exercise well. If you recognize any changes, see a doctor or talk to a mate.

Ignorance can be deadly

My dad used to say: Issues come and issues go. Then, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the age of 50. After a saga of surgeries and chemotherapy he only made it to 55. Our son was just 3 ½ months old when my dad passed away. He was overwhelmed to witness his daughter having a baby but very sad that he could not be with his grandson as he grew up.

Yoga for Men?

My female students occasionally tell me that they wish their husbands would practice yoga, too. However, the men usually think that yoga is tailored for women.

It is obvious that my mature female students are better off in terms of health than their husbands. I often hear that ever since their husbands stopped working, they cannot muster the energy to be interested in anything including exercise.

For staying healthy you don’t need to lift heavy weights or run a marathon. Yoga is suitable for everyone. This is true!

Historically Yoga was only for Men

Looking at yoga history, scholars assume that yoga was practiced, taught and written about by men. It was mainly Indian men who traveled to the West to teach yoga. With the increase of women’s rights, yoga became more secularized and thus accessible for women. Today, more women are practicing yoga in the West than men.

Change happens

As we approach the 40’s, the body changes more noticeably. This results in increased muscle tension, short hamstrings and tightness around the joints. The weight usually increases because the metabolism slows down due to changes in the hormones. Even mental and emotional fluctuations can be explained by hormonal changes. An inflexible and weak body can induce back and shoulder pain as well as hip and knee problems. Incidentally, this is true for both sexes.

What kind of changes could you feel? Maybe there is a general immobility of the body, unsteadiness of the mind. There might be the notion that you are not happy and feel lethargic. Many men might believe these symptoms are a normal part of aging. But, it does not have to be this way.  

Know what to do … and breathe

Yoga is an option to counter these problems. Actually, it is a great possibility for change because the yoga movements holistically address the total body. So, not just the extremities, shoulders and spine but also the respiration. Bringing attention to breathing will have a positive influence on your nervous system and mind. After being active, breath becomes smoother and not forceful. As a result, the body and mind will experience a benevolent feeling. This will happen after each class!

Positive Effects of Yoga

Yoga increases the range of motion. This alone has many positive effects. Over the years blood circulation increases and digestive processes improve. More effective muscle performance leads to increased security due to better balance. Yoga is also effective in reducing stress by employing a number of relaxation techniques.

A Companion for Life

Yoga is a reliable companion and a beautiful way of life for every sex and age.

Once you are able to practise yoga you become your own teacher. You will be able to scan your body to assess yourself as you practice. This will help to reduce the incidence of injury also when playing other sports.

You can only feel it when you are attempting it!

In the following post I will mention some great articles for men that provide better insight how yoga works therapeutically. Read more.