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When you think of yoga, the image that comes to mind is probably a group of women doing the downward-facing dog. You’re not alone. Yoga for men is a relatively new concept for many. While yoga continues to grow in popularity across the globe, it’s generally perceived as a female-oriented activity. Recent studies show that 83% of yoga practitioners are female. Despite this figure and the fact that classes tend to be dominated by female participants, yoga is a fantastic form of exercise for both women and men. Reported by The Net Doctor, the benefits of yoga, which include stress-relief, better sleep and greater flexibility, can be enjoyed by those who choose to practice it. So what’s stopping men from signing up to for yoga classes?

Besides the obvious stigma, fear of taking up “a female sport”, there are a handful of “yoga myths” that keep men away from the activity. From differences in female and male builds to yoga being considered too hard, too easy or not a “real” sport, perhaps the main reason is that men feel intimidated, stretching, posing and embracing spiritual awakening, all of which are key elements of yoga. Men should be encouraged to look past these “yoga myths” and give yoga a try this spring. Here are a few reasons why.

Enjoy Improved Cognitive Function and Work More Efficiently

We understand how you might feel. You’re out of your comfort zone trying something new, surrounded by strangers most of whom are probably women. While this may seem intimidating and you probably have a string of negative thoughts running through your mind — “What if I embarrass myself?” “What if I get the pose wrong?” — a paper conducted by Gyanesh Kumar Tiwari at the International Journal of Indian Psychology: “Yoga and Mental Health: An Unexplored Relationship”found that many turn to yoga after noticing and experiencing increased concentration, improved memory and a boost in work productivity. Making these enough of a reason to brush past any initial doubts and anxieties.

Yoga has eight limbs. From discipline, enlightenment and positivity to meditation, these pillars come together to help students build resilience to mental distress. This can particularly benefit those in high-powered positions, trapped in a stressful routine. Men who practice yoga will find themselves able to overcome obstacles with a calmer and more rational approach.

Learn to Manage Stress Effectively

Many of us will have experienced stress and anxiety at least once in the past 12 months with as many as one-third of us feeling stressed for what amounts to at least one full day a week. From a racing pulse to tightness in the chest and profuse sweating, the symptoms of stress can be truly unpleasant.

Managing stress effectively begins with acknowledging that you are, in fact, stressed. The next step is to develop practical tools to manage it and turn that stressed energy into something positive. Opting for high-intensity sports such as boxing and Taekwondo may seem like obvious choices for men to release stress. However, aggressively hitting a punch-bag in repetitive motions to release stress may do more damage to your body than good as a common cause of workout-related injuries reported by the National Center for Biotechnology Information is over-exertion.

Yoga combines breathing techniques and meditation with physical poses. Research by the Mayo Clinic found that this tunes the body and mind into a state of sedation and serenity, helping to calm nerves and lower blood pressure, and to relax and learn how be present in the moment.

Keep Fit and Get into Shape

Summer is fast approaching and many of us will already be thinking about detox routines to slim down ahead of the holidays. Instead of enduring lengthy gym sessions and squeezing in speedy workouts between commitments, why not try yoga?

The common misconception that yoga is not a “real” workout or that it’s too easy to achieve any real results tends to puts men off from giving it a try. Give Bikram (“hot yoga”) and Ashtanga a go and your opinion may start to change! These two styles require skilled diligence, patience and on-going practice.

Due to the various stretches, poses and postures involved, men who practice yoga have reported benefits of muscle growth and lengthened muscle tissue. According to the experts at E K Hart Yoga, the science is simple: “As yoga utilises the weight of the body in balancing poses and postures, it increases blood flow and oxygen levels, enabling a faster recovery rate to help the muscles lengthen and grow.” Next time you are in doubt about yoga being “real” exercise, give it a try and see for yourself!

Enjoy a Better Sex Life

“Wait, yoga can improve pleasure in the bedroom?” In short, yes! Many assume yoga is simply a spiritual practice, but in 2010, a study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found a positive correlationbetween the men who enrolled in a yoga camp for 12 weeks and sexual satisfaction, desire, performance and orgasm. Some of those who participated in the above study stated thatimproved strength and stamina, reduced anxiety and a boosted relaxed mood made sexual satisfaction more likely.

Follow in the Path of the Rich and Famous

In recent years, a growing number of male celebrities have spoken of their devotion to yoga. David Beckham, Justin Timberlake and Matthew McConaughey have all extolled the virtues of regular practice. After a recommendation from a fellow sports personality, David Beckham initially turned to yoga as a channel to relax and build strength. Both him and his wife, Victoria Beckham now attend couples yoga, which they report has contributed to increased intimacy and an improved husband-and-wife connection.

Justin Timberlake was also sceptical at first but soon realised the benefits of yoga. His wife Jessica Biel has long been a fan of the practice and attends several classes a week.

If notable male celebrities are happy to dismiss the judgemental looks of others to step onto a yoga mat, why not you?

Develop a Practice You Can Take Anywhere

Unlike sports that require training, boxed inside a gym for a set number of hours each week, yoga can be practised anywhere. On the beach, in a hotel room and even aboard the deck of a private yacht if you’re lucky! All you need is a mat. It’s no wonder that over the past few years, yoga retreats have become an increasingly popular option in the world of wellness travel.

A yoga retreat can quench your thirst for travel and enrol you on a journey of life-enriching experiences in one hit. It’s not necessary to spend an extensive period of time away from home in order to reap the rewards. Guests who have previously chosen and attendedashort weekend breakwith us, whichconsistedof yoga, meditation and other outdoor activities in a natural setting said it wasenough to reset emotions, recharge, relax and develop a new skill.One guest from the Forest Bathing Retreat said,“Relearningthe art of breathing in one of the workshops has helped me cope with stress and stay calm at work.”

Get Started with Yoga Today!

If you’re a man, or you know a man who has been interested in yoga for a while but feels hesitant, now is the time to give it a go. Look past the myths and misconceptions and broaden your horizons this spring with a new activity. The benefits of yoga for men are many and varied — find out for yourself by booking your first yoga retreat today!

Want to find out more about our luxury yoga retreats? Contact us today to get started with yoga!