Lets face it many of us guys sit more in our left side of the brain.
This is the analytical, logical and rational side. Therefore most of us left brainers don’t want to go to a yoga class, which opens up space in the right side of our brains, the intuitive, thoughtful and subjective side.
As a left brained skeptic, I am writing this article to hopefully inspire men to realise 5 wonderful benefits yoga can provide.
1) YOGA IS NOT ABOUT HOW YOU LOOK IT IS ABOUT HOW YOU FEEL
‘I’m too inflexible to try yoga’, is the equivalent of saying, ‘ I am too dirty to take a shower’ or, ‘ I am too weak to go to the gym.’
Flexibility is a wonderful by product of yoga. Increased range of motion in your joints, better circulation and improved posture are just a few benefits from greater flexibility, however yoga is not about aesthetics.
We use the pose to get into the body not the body to get into the pose.
Yoga has hundreds of anatomical cues but remember, but every single person’s body is different. Try not to compare with how the person next to you looks. This can often put off beginners to yoga, who walk into a class to see people ‘seemingly’ touching their toes with ease.
Accepting where you are is a wonderful challenge yoga always provides, never pushing to pain but being mindful of the signals that are being sent to you.
2) BREATHE AND CALM DOWN
We breathe on average 21000 times a day.
However we are rarely aware of even one of these breaths coming in or going out. We have never been educated on how to breath, yet each breath effects our Nervous System.
In yoga we put the body in a ‘stressful’ situation and by lengthening your exhalation the nervous system starts to become retrained to have a calm response in any situation.
So when you are off the mat and you feel agitated you can start to lengthen your exhalation and stay calm, cool and reposed.
3) NON REACTIVITY IS TRUE POWER
So often we are at the mercy of our emotions.
Many decisions we make come from our emotions such as fear, anger, desire. So who is running the ship our emotions or us?
By learning to become ‘non reactive’ we empower ourselves to make better decisions throughout the day.
Holding yoga poses stirs up different emotions in the body. Staying in the posture, observing them and allowing them to release we realise we have a choice. We don’t have to let emotions take us so that we do or say something we regret, we can watch them pass and make decisions based on calmness and clarity
‘We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.’ Albert Einstein
4) IMPROVE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS
Presence with a ‘CE’ is the best gift you can give to someone.
In this world of phones, laptops and social media, our attention spans are getting shorter. It is easy to spend time with someone and never be really present. Even though we are physically in the same room we can be miles apart.
In yoga we spend time with being present with our breath, our movement, our emotions. observing, watching and waiting. This presence is helping us to re educate our brains and improve our attention span.
Life is about a series of connections with people, so deepening these connections is a wonderful and rare gift.
5) ESCAPE INTO NOTHINGNESS
The ‘masculine’ energy is always trying to break free into nothingness.
Take football as an example, as men always move towards sports, think about the satisfaction when you beat a defender and score a goal, or see your team score. The silence is almost blissful.
Similarly in French an orgasm is called, ‘le petite mort’. Which translates as the little death. An orgasm is a build up of energy and then a strong release into emptiness and silence, or maybe some snoring!
I guarantee that you aren’t worrying about future problems in these moments.
Yoga also provides this. After moving the body in and out of challenging positions and learning to allow thoughts and emotions to come up more and more moments of quiet start to appear. These moments of peace are boundless. They are unlimited in their depth and they are always available.
So get onto the mat. Increase your flexibility. Calm your mind. Improve your relationships and step into the silence.