7 Major Benefits Of Yoga For Men (As Written By A Man Who Swears By It)

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benefits of yoga

While you frequently hear about the benefits of yoga, you don't often hear about men giving yoga a try. But the benefits of yoga for men are huge for those willing to step outside of their comfort zones. In fact, the yoga benefits for men may convince even the burliest guys to namaste.

When I was growing up there were certain things that boys did, and other things reserved for girls. Boy sports included boxing, basketball, and football. Girl sports... well, girls weren’t encouraged to engage in sports at all. They were the pretty cheerleaders who did backflips when we scored a touchdown. They were the ones we hoped to score with after the game if we were good enough, strong, enough, fast enough, tall enough, and handsome enough.

But to paraphrase Bob Dylan, "The times are a changing,’ big time." Now, women are doing all the sports that were once reserved for men. In addition to female basketball players and footballers, we now have women boxers like Laila Ali and Regina Halmich, who popularized female boxing in Europe. We have mixed-martial artists like Amanda Nunez, Holly Holm, and Ronda Rousey.

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While women have been breaking through the barriers that have kept them out, men are slower to break through the barriers that have kept them from enjoying and benefiting from healthy activities such as Zumba and yoga, which continue to be predominantly practiced by women.

I go to Zumba classes twice a week. I love the Latin music and I get a great workout that keeps me fit. There are additional benefits to your sex life that come from taking ZumbaI also go to yoga classes, which I also enjoy and get great benefit from attending.

Here are 7 health benefits of yoga for men that you should definitely consider:

1. Yoga increases your flexibility.

Staying flexible is good at any age, but as I get older, it’s become increasingly important. A lot of my men friends are stiff and move like old men. I like the feeling of ease I receive.

2. It Improves respiratory and cardiac health.

We all want to keep breathing and ensure our hearts are healthy. The American Heart Association recommends yoga. 

"Hand in hand with leading a heart-healthy lifestyle, it really is possible for a yoga-based model to help prevent or reverse heart disease," says M. Mala Cunningham, Ph.D., counseling psychologist and founder of Cardiac Yoga.

3. It counters the negative effects of other physical activities.

I love to play racquetball and go golfing. With those activities, the spine tends to consistently turn in one direction. Yoga helps balance us out, using postures that keep the spine supple.

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4. It promotes weight loss and tones up muscles.

In a study by the Journal of Alternative Medicine, overweight men who practiced yoga lost four pounds in 10 days! Yoga lowers levels of cortisol, the stress hormone that prompts your body to collect belly fat.

5. It alleviates chronic low-back pain.

There’s nothing more miserable than back pain and nothing that will ruin your sex life faster. Like most guys I know, I spend a lot of time sitting on my butt in front of a computer. Muscles get tight and shorten and chronic back pain is the result.

Yoga not only alleviates lower back pain but also helps with fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, and other kinds of chronic pain.

6. It reduces stress, anxiety, and depression.

Yoga uses a combination of physical poses, controlled breathing, and relaxation techniques that have been shown to lower blood pressure and heart rate, both of which help modulate the stress response. It’s been proven that yoga can also help with anxiety and depression.

7. It can improve your sex life.

I’ll admit it. I’ll try anything that can improve my sex life. Both increased libido and improved sexual performance have been linked to regular yoga practice.

In a 2010 study of men ages 24 to 60, yoga was shown to improve all domains of sexual function in men. The breathing techniques and concentration taught in yoga can help men better channel their sexual energy.

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Jed Diamond is a licensed psychotherapist with a Ph.D. in International Health and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

This article was originally published at Reprinted with permission from the author.