Considering that 80% of the people who practise yoga today are women, you might be thinking that yoga isn’t for guys. In this ultimate guide to yoga for men we’re here to dispel that myth because yoga can be just as beneficial for men as it can for women!
With International Yoga Day just around the corner on June 21, guys, now is the perfect time to discover how yoga can help you achieve your healthy living goals!
All set to learn more about yoga for men? Read on to learn about famous guys who helped spread yoga across the globe, find out which celebrities and athletes use yoga to stay in shape, unlock the top health benefits of yoga for men, and everything you need to know about how to get started.
Then, keep an eye out for expert insight from professional yoga teacher Ravi of Ravi Yoga, who consulted with us while creating the article!
1. Why is Yoga More Popular For Women?
Today, yoga has become more and more popularly viewed as a fitness routine for women. So it’s easy to come to an assumption that yoga just isn’t for men. The good news is, that’s just not true! Yoga offers just as many benefits for men as it does for women.
Yoga hasn’t always been viewed as a fitness routine for women either. In fact, yoga has been around for more than 5000 years and historically, it was primarily practised by men.
Ravi notes that the popularity of yoga among women isn’t a global phenomenon either, rather it is primarily a Western trend. In Asia, many of the yoga teachers are, and have historically been men.
Two of the most influential people to help yoga spread across the globe were men as well. Through their inspirational work both Swami Vivekananda and BKS Iyengar laid a strong foundation for the worldwide yoga community that exists today.
Swami was a Hindu spiritual leader who was born in India during the late 1800s. One of his most notable contributions to the worldwide spread of yoga came about as a result of lectures he offered at the 1893 Parliament of Religions in Chicago. During these, he shared his passion for yogic meditation and hope for a harmonious society.
Following this famous appearance in Chicago, Swami continued to speak across both America and England sharing his message. Essentially, Swami helped to introduce yoga to the world, creating the foundation for yoga to take root globally.
Iyengar discovered yoga when he was 16 years old and fighting for his life. As a child, Iyengar overcame malaria, influenza, and typhoid fever to name just a few of his health challenges as a youth. Yoga became a way for him to regain his strength while recovering from his illnesses. And recover he did. During his lifetime Iyengar went on to create his own system of yoga practice, Iyengar Yoga.
His books which outlined how to practise the Iyengar system of yoga were translated into 13 languages and sold in 70 countries. Not to mention that Time Magazine even named him one of the most influential people in 2004.
Chrissie Harrison, who was the British Wheel of Yoga in 2014, explains the breadth of his contribution best “He had a great influence on, I would suspect, every yoga teacher there is.”
What Does That Mean For You? Yoga is For Guys Too!
With such a deeply influential history on the spread of yoga across the globe, both Swami and Iyengar prove that men can be just as amazing at yoga as women can.
Yoga is also beloved by countless modern celebrities. Many popular male stars such as Orlando Bloom, Colin Farrel, Tom Hanks, Ryan Goslin, and Russel Brand who is pictured below on his way to a yoga sesssion, all incorporate yoga into their fitness routines.
If you’re a guy who’s set to discover how yoga can transform his health and fitness routine, keep reading to the section below to learn more about the different types of yoga.
2. What Are The Different Types of Yoga?
One of the aspects of yoga which makes it so popular is its wide breadth of variety. There are numerous different styles of yoga, so there really is something for everyone!
Are you looking for a hot fitness challenge? Then hot yoga might just be the perfect option. Hot yoga gets its name for the toasty temperatures in which it’s taught. A hot yoga class is usually taught in a room that is 35 degrees Celsius, so if you give this yoga style a go, get ready to work up a sweat!
Like hot yoga, Vinyasa-style yoga is another great option for an intensive work out. During Vinyasa flow yoga classes, you’ll move at a quick yet steady pace through a series of postures. If your goal for yoga is to charge full speed ahead then Vinyasa has everything you’re looking for.
When you’re just starting out with yoga, Hatha can be a good choice. In a Hatha yoga class, you’ll hold each pose for a few breaths to align your breathing pattern with movements. This can give beginners time to settle into new postures and get a feel for yoga at their own speed.
Similar to Vinyasa, Ashtanga yoga also provides fast-paced classes. Also known as ‘athletes-yoga‘, this style will set you up for a fulfilling aerobic workout. During an Ashtanga class, you’ll move through a series of specific postures which are always done in a particular sequence.
Power yoga is a style which blends the quick-pace of Ashtanga and Vinyasa with a more flexible sequence. Unlike Ashtanga, during a power yoga class, you won’t need to practise postures in a particular order. Instead, the sequence of your postures may switch up from one class to another. This is great if you’ve learned the basic yoga postures, want to work up a sweat, and are ready to challenge yourself to learn some new poses.
Iyengar yoga focuses on using props to help you deepen your yogic postures. When you attend an Iyengar class expect to learn how to use props like yoga straps, blankets and yoga-blocks. Using these props can be especially handy if you’re finding it hard to settle into a particular pose. They are great for stabilisation so that you can stretch out your muscles without fear of wobbling too much or losing balance.
Kaiut yoga is a biomechanical yoga method designed by chiropractor Francisco Kaiut to work with the modern body and mind and deliver improved health and wellbeing. Life is quite different today than it was thousands of years ago when the yoga asanas were originally designed. This method works from the joints to remove the restrictions in our systems that come from our sedentary lifestyle and often overloaded minds. Kaiut Yoga is intentionally designed to be accessible to all body types – male or female, young or old, flexible or not.
Kundalini is one of the most meditative styles of yoga and often involves chanting. This makes it great for relaxing the mind and body after a stressful day.
3. What Are The Benefits of Yoga For Men?
Not only are they countless different styles of yoga, but there are also a wide variety of benefits of yoga for men. Check out the chart and information below to find out which type of yoga is best aligned with your goals.
Top Benefits of Yoga For Men
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With regular practise yoga can help you soothe your nervous system so that you can completely unwind and relax. It does this by turning on your parasympathetic nervous system and gently winding down your sympathetic nervous system at the same time. This can help you unwind from a go-go-go mentality so that your mind and body can recharge properly.
“For thousands of years people have practiced yoga to maintain balance. Yoga creates harmony between mind, and body. When these are connected, the result is a healthy body and a balanced life.” – Ravi
If you’re a naturally shy guy, in addition to reducing anxiety, a yoga routine can also help you build your self-confidence. Aside from the social benefits of attending a class, you’ll be strengthening your body, and improving your health so that you can feel that much better and more confident in yourself.
Plus, while you’re learning the poses, you’ll also be improving your concentration. This can lead to stronger memory skills and the ability to focus more deeply on any projects that you’re working on.
Relaxation, stress-relief, improved focus and a self-confidence boost? That sounds like a pretty good deal to us!
Flexibility Complements Sports
Women are naturally more flexible than men, which can sometimes leave men feeling like they’d rather not venture to a yoga class. Yet, flexibility is essential to every healthy lifestyle, no matter whether you’re a man or woman.
If you’re working in an office job, yoga can help soothe the aches and pains that come from sitting at a desk 9 hours a day. However, yoga isn’t just beneficial for those who work in an office. Improving your flexibility can also provide substantial benefits to athletes as well.
If you’re an athlete, flexibility can have a significant impact on your athletic performance. Athletes such as David Beckham swear by a regular yoga routine. As Beckham said, “yoga made my aches and pains after playing disappear.” The intensive stretches which yoga routines provide can help to soothe sore muscles after a game so your muscles can recover better.
As well as soothing sore muscles, a yoga practice can also provide athletes with better balance and coordination, giving them an extra edge when they’re on the field.
Cardio and Circulatory Health
The British Heart Foundation cites coronary heart disease (CHD) as the UK’s biggest killer. Approximately 1.4 million men in the UK live with CHD while 110, 000 men suffer from a heart attack each year. With men more susceptible to heart disease than women, cardio and circulatory health is not something to be taken lightly.
On the bright side, according to a recent study, yoga can present part of the solution to healing this problem. During the study, researchers found that participants who attended yoga classes lost more weight and improved their heart health, regardless of their age.
The gentle movements of yoga also mean that you can go about exercising in a less strenuous and stressful way, which is ideal if a traditional workout causes you any anxiety.
According to the National Statistics report on Obesity, Physical Activity, and Diet, in 2018, 53% of overweight adults in the UK were focused on trying to lose weight to improve their health.
As we become increasingly more focused on living a healthier lifestyle, many are turning to yoga to transform their lives, and what’s more? They’re succeeding. Don’t believe yoga is a strong enough workout to help with weightloss? Then check out Arthur’s inspiring weight loss journey with yoga for yourself!
Arthur isn’t alone either, there are countless other men using yoga to completely transform their lives. In 2017, The Independent shared another incredible journey about Jared, a man who’d struggled with his weight for over 40 years. Through dedication, regular yoga practice, and giving up sugar Jared lost 21 stone in 15 months!
4. What You Need to Know Before Getting Started
So you’ve read about all of the ways that yoga can benefit your health, now it’s time to hit the mat and get started! But wait? What do you need to start practising yoga? Aside from an adorable puppy to keep you company while you practise, there a few key supplies that are a must for every yogi.
During your yoga practise you’ll want to have easy access to a bottle of water, some loose clothing, and a good yoga mat. Honestly, it can be that simple!
That being said with the extensive selection of yoga mats available in shops, the prospect of finding the best yoga mat for men can seem a bit daunting. To help you find the best yoga mat for your practice here are a few criteria to keep an eye out for.
How to Pick The Best Yoga Mat For Men in 3 Easy Steps:
- Room to Stretch: If you’re a taller guy, the typical length of a yoga mat might not cut it for you. When practising you want to have a mat that is long enough so that you can comfortably move through poses without ending up on the floor. This goes for the width of the mat too. No one wants their elbows falling off the edges of the mat in the middle of their yoga practice.
- Slip-Resistant: While no yoga mat can guarantee the perfect pose, your mat shouldn’t be slippery. A good yoga mat will stay put on the floor, instead of sliding around. You also shouldn’t find yourself slipping around on top of the mat while moving through your practice. So when you hit the shops, look for a yoga mat that has a ‘grippy’ texture.
- The Right Amount of Cushion: If you have sensitive joints then keep an eye out for a mat with a bit of extra cushion. This will help to provide you with more support when you are doing poses that strengthen your ankles and wrists.
What to Wear
The yoga industry has been booming in recent years so when it comes to men’s yoga clothes, there are plenty of options to choose from!
Generally, loose clothing that fits comfortably is all you need. Think sweatpants and a t-shirt instead of jeans. So even if you don’t have any yoga-specific clothing in your closet already, you can still get started right away!
On the other hand, if you’d like to expand your clothing options, there are plenty of different styles of yoga leggings for men which can be worn with or without layered shorts, and come in both knee-length and full-length options. Practising yoga in leggings can help give you that extra bit of room you need to settle into deeper stretches.
When it comes to yoga shirts for men, look for shirts which are made with a breathable fabric like cotton, or a sports material. That way when things get hot and sweaty you can stay cool!
Yoga shorts for men are another popular options for men’s yoga attire. Many popular yoga clothing companies offer a wide selection of shorts which are specially made to provide you with full flexibility and comfort.
Keep in mind that the best type of clothing for your yoga practice can depend on the type of yoga class you’re taking. While most clothing items can be comfortably worn in any yoga class, if you opt for a hot yoga or hot yoga class, you’ll want to dress more lightly so that you can stay cool and comfortable.
If you head to a yoga class, in most cases you won’t need any more gear than your mat. Some classes even provide yoga mats too!
However, if you choose to practise at home it can be useful to have the right gear nearby. Some top gear choices for yoga include yoga straps, blankets, and yoga blocks. These yoga props are often used in Iyengar yoga but are also used in other types as well to help you deepen your stretches.
Yoga straps are primarily used to help you find balance while practising poses that involve the extension of one leg. Then, yoga blankets can help elevate you during seated postures so that you can align your body with ease. Finally, yoga blocks are used in a variety of postures from standing to lying down, to help you deepen a stretch and fully work your muscles.
All of these supplies can be easily found at a local yoga shop or fitness store. You can even use blankets you have around your own home if you’re focusing on keeping your budget cost-effective!
5. How to Learn Yoga
There are countless different ways to learn yoga, the most important thing is to ensure that you take the approach that you are most comfortable with. To help you get started we’ve outlined some of the top ways to learn yoga for men from yoga apps to online videos, and in-person yoga lessons.
Is a Brief Yoga Video or Yoga App Enough?
Before we jump into the best resources for learning yoga, we thought we’d banish a yoga myth first. It’s all too easy to assume that a brief yoga session from a video or app won’t be in-depth enough to deliver the results you’re looking for.
So, we asked Ravi for his expert advice on the topic, “You don’t have to commit to full classes straight away. You’ll start feeling benefits with just 10 minutes of yoga in the morning.”
The conclusion? Making time for a yoga session, even if it’s brief, will set you on right track to reach your yoga goals.
Now that that’s settled, let’s jump right into those yoga resources so you can start learning!
The 3 Best Yoga Apps
Whether you’re planning to practise yoga in your living room or head to the park, a yoga app is a perfect way to take your yoga practice with you, no matter where you are.
1. Daily Yoga
Daily Yoga for Android and iPhone
With a 4 star rating for the Android app and a 5-star rating on the iPhone app, Daily Yoga is a popular choice for yogis on the go. The app is free, with in-app purchases and has an extensive library that includes more than 500 asanas, 50 yoga class plans, and 200 yoga, pilates, and meditation lessons.
2. 5 Minute Yoga
5 Minute Yoga for Android and iPhone
The brief lesson outlines that the 5 Minute Yoga app offers are great when you’re short on time but still want to squeeze in a quick yoga session! With a 4.5 star rating for both the Android and iPhone apps, this free yoga app proves that you can make time for yoga every day.
3. Pocket Yoga
Pocket Yoga for Android and iPhone
With its extensive library of resources at £2.99, this app is a fairly priced option for its value. The app includes 200 examples of poses so you can make sure you have the right posture and alignment. It also holds a dictionary of yoga poses that discuss the benefits of each one so you can see just how you’re improving your health with each posture. Plus it has top ratings of 4.5 stars for both the Android and iPhone apps.
Online Yoga Videos For Men
Want to start a yoga practise in your living room? Here’s Ravis’ advice, “If you want to start your own practice at home, find some good online videos that focus on simple, light postures, that prepare your joints and some ‘pranayama’ or breathing exercises.”
To get started, check out the 3 top YouTube channels below which focus on yoga for men videos and easily start learning yoga in the comfort of your own home.
Yoga With Tim
Yoga with Tim on YouTube is a great free resource for both beginner and more advanced yogis. His channel features an extensive array of resources from 30-day yoga challenges that will kick-start your journey to a playlist of beginner videos that walk you through your first yoga practices.
Man Flow Yoga
Like Yoga With Tim, Man Flow Yoga is a free online YouTube channel that offers great resources on how to practise yoga for men. His channel includes videos on energy-boosting yoga workouts, yoga for muscle-building as well as a series of 15-minute yoga sessions.
Do You Yoga
Though the channel itself is geared to both guys and girls, Do You Yoga created a special 30-day Yoga For Men challenge so that you can get your yoga practice off the ground. You can give the Men’s 30 Day Yoga Challenge a test run here or pop over to their website where you can access the full series of videos for free.
Local Yoga Class
Would you rather learn from a local yoga instructor? Then a class could be your best option. Yoga classes are a great way to get advice on your form to make sure you’re practising in a safe and effective way. Plus, they’re a great way to meet others who are interested in learning yoga as well. If you’d rather learn one-to-one, click to get quotes on Bidvine from local yoga instructors.
If you’re interested in attending classes exclusively for men, you might find specific workshops in your local area. For example, Ravi Yoga hosts regular workships titled Yoga For Men – Authentic Indian Yoga so check out his Bidvine profile for more information.
With benefits like improved heart health, better sports performance, and decreased stress yoga can have a a positive impact on men’s health. Not to mention that, with so many styles it’s easy to find the one that suits you best, whether that means a fast-paced workout or yoga sessions with meditative chanting.
Still worried that you won’t be able to master yoga postures perfectly? As Ravi says, “Yoga is not about the perfect pose, it’s about your own practice and the connection between you and you.”
So, get out your workout clothes, roll out a mat, and get ready to stretch your way to a healthier lifestyle!
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