1. Back pain relief
I had to put this at #1 as if it was the only benefit of yoga, it would still be worth it to me. I long suffered from low back pain, and I know many other men do too. Yoga puts an emphasis on a strong core and a lot of the poses focus on the low back region. The working out and strengthening of the back has not only gotten rid of my low back pain entirely, but also improved my posture.
2. Injury prevention
A lack of flexibility and “stiffness” is often the root cause of our injuries. We tend to get injured playing a pickup game of basketball or hitting the slopes because our tight bodies can’t handle any movements outside the norm. Yoga is designed to help us get to a point where our muscles and joints move in their FULL range, thus decreasing any surprising jolts to the body.
3. Builds muscle
Anyone who has ever done body weight exercises (push-ups, pull-ups, crunches, etc.) knows how effective they really are. Yoga is all about leveraging your body weight and introduces you to poses that sculpt everything from your triceps to calves. As someone who mostly focused on weight training in the past, I can say it’s definitely a surprise benefit of yoga.
4. Challenges you
Trust me on this, yoga is a challenge on both your mind and body. You’ll find some poses are easy, while others you couldn’t imagine ever being able to do. But each class, you’ll notice that you’re getting better. It’s a lifelong challenge and one that you never “win”, but instead enjoy the journey of.
5. Improves breathing
Breathing is not something we think about doing (by design!), but is an amazing anchor into the vitality of our lives. Yoga focuses on the breath while you are challenging the body. The type of “belly” breathing learned in class, referred to as Diaphragmatic breathing, can help you relax and lower stress outside of class in your everyday life.
6. Quiets the mind
With all of the breathe and body work, it’s hard (and nearly impossible) to let your mind wander and worry about things outside of class. Many people find traditional meditation to be a challenge, but get a lot of the same benefits of quieting the mind through yoga.
7. Improves circulation
Yoga has long been shown to promote healthy blood flow throughout the body – leading to healthy skin, positive cell growth, and improved energy / brain performance.
Bonus: It’s something you can do for your entire life and the benefits only compound. As we get older our posture and spine get worse and worse – making it even difficult to walk for some. There are several 50+ year olds in our yoga classes that are in great shape, it’s inspiring to see there flexibility and strength – it motivates me to continue it for life.