Encompassing physical and mental health, yoga is one of the most beneficial practices in the world. Most western yoga classes tend to be dominated by women, but there are more and more men starting to get on the mat, which I’m very pleased about!

It’s not just about stretching and breathing or saying ‘ohm’ and meditating. You genuinely do NOT need to be flexible to ‘do’ yoga – in fact if you aren’t flexible, then you are absolutely in need of yoga!

Here are a few reasons men need yoga in their lives:

1. Yoga improves overall well-being

Yoga is one of the practices that you should incorporate, especially if you’re trying to improve your lifestyle. It’s a great practice for your overall wellbeing as it promotes both physical health and mental toughness.

As you become more in tune with your body, your sleeping pattern can improve, as well as your natural diet. The best part is that you don’t have to follow a heavy workout/recovery plan to excel at yoga. It can be quite strong/physical, but it’s not a competition – you do what’s right for you at that moment.

2. Yoga makes your body flexible and strong

As already mentioned, most men avoid yoga because they think it’s not physical enough, and they think they need to be flexible to do it. Some may also feel intimated because it tends to be a class full of women, although some men might find that a positive!

The main physical benefits to yoga are an increase and improvement in both strength and flexibility, so no matter where you start, yoga will strengthen your muscles and help improve your balance and flexibility during the process as well.

3. Yoga relieves stress

If you’re looking for a way to unwind after a challenging day, yoga is for you! It’s a very in-the-moment activity that will help you focus and fill your headspace with positive vibes. You’ll be surprised by the improvement in your mood and energy straight away.

Yoga is one of the best ways to naturally boost your mental health. It is known to clear and calm your mind and may even combat mild depression and anxiety.

4. Yoga eases pain from injury

Pain from injuries not going away? Compared to many male-dominated physical activities that can increase the risk of injury, yoga requires controlled movement and stillness through sometimes challenging, opening, stretchy, strong poses that, as long as you learn to do them incrementally, will more than likely decrease your risk of injury.

Yoga stretches your whole body, gently alleviating pain you may have in your joints. There are also a lot of poses that stretch and strengthen your back, one of the most common places where men and women experience pain. So really, it’s a very complimentary form of exercise to whatever else you do.

5. Yoga helps improve your sexual performance

Yep. Yoga’s ability to help you become more flexible, feel more body-confident and lower your stress levels can all lead to better sexual performance. It helps to regulate your blood flow, which can lead to increased pleasure in bed. So, the more time you spend on the mat, the more quality time you’ll spend in the sack!

6. Yoga boosts bone health

Yoga includes weight-bearing exercises which are known for stimulating extra deposits of calcium and encouraging bone-forming cells (osteoblasts) into action. Those types of yoga pose increase bone density which becomes more important as we age (even for men), as well as range of motion and overall mobility. 

7. Yoga keeps you challenged

It’s no secret that most men generally love physical challenges. Learning new poses and seeing your progress on the mat are likely more than enough to keep you enticed by your practice. BUT, yoga is not a competitive activity, nor is it designed with the ‘go hard or go home’ attitude! Don’t push yourself too hard – take your time to get to the level of practice and flexibility you desire and your body needs.

What’s great about yoga is that you can literally do it anywhere. It doesn’t matter if you’re going on a trip or just staying at home for the weekend – yoga is your friend.

Yoga is not a “women only” practice – I promise you, women LOVE male Yogis and although I’m biased I would even say that yoga classes are more fun and challenging than most gym workouts.

“It was only after my first yoga class that my level of inflexibility was confirmed to me. Years of running, cycling, gym and football had seen to that.  But even after only a few classes, the benefits were plain to see. 

A room full of people watching you try yoga for the first time might seem daunting, but you quickly realise everyone’s focus is inward.  And actually, the odd wobble here and there breaks the ice!

Yoga is only part of my exercise regime, but it’s an essential part.” Paul, Vinyasa Yoga & Pilate FLEX

My Monday night yoga group is currently about 50/50 male and female, so don’t be intimidated, take Paul’s word for it join us for a trial yoga class.