It may surprise you to learn that for most of its 5,000-year history, yoga was practiced almost exclusively by men. Today, NFL players do it. Soccer players do it. Baseball and golf pros swear by it, too! In fact, many of the most famous athletes in the world do it!
We think yoga is the secret weapon to men’s health — but if you’re still sitting on the bench when it comes to yoga, let’s go ahead and dispel a few myths you may have heard:
- Myth #1: Yoga is just for women. Actually, yoga is for everyone! Men and women. Young and old. In fact, in the early 1800’s, yoga was common practice for the ruling Prince of India, and it was taught to young boys as a “workout”, making this myth especially puzzling!
- Myth #2: Yoga is just stretching. According to Dean Pohlman, author of Yoga Fitness for Men, yoga is “the best workout you’re not doing!” Yoga makes you stronger in new ways by targeting aspects of fitness that traditional exercise—such as weight lifting and cardio—does not. Yoga has been proven to build strength, improve performance and help relieve relieve aches and pains.
- Myth #3: Yoga is only for flexible people. Practicing yoga reinforces everyday functional movement. “The slow, controlled exercises improve overall muscle activation, so the more regular your yoga practice becomes, the stronger you get. You won’t have to think about everyday movements, whether it’s squatting low to pick up something off the ground, reaching for that top shelf, or bending over to tie your shoe— it will all feel natural and easy,” says Pohlman.
- Myth #4: Yoga is a mysterious religious practice. The word “yoga” translates to “union,” as in the union or connection between the mind and body. Self-realization and awareness can be spiritual aspects of your yoga practice, but there is no worship of anything involved. In addition to the physical benefits, yoga may also help guys experience less stress, improved mental clarity, better decision making skills, better sleep, improved hormone levels (including lowered cortisol and higher testosterone), improved mood and confidence, reduced blood pressure, better immune function, and improved blood flow. The list goes on and on.