[tps_header]Hey dudes, this Downdog is for you!
OK, I know what you’re thinking–doing yoga is strictly a chick thing, but give me a minute and I’ll explain to you why that’s a lie. Regardless of gender, none of us are immune to the daily stresses of life, which can lead to anxiety, depression, and illnesses if not handled properly.
Let’s talk about Yoga. This ancient practice connects the body, mind and spirit to help relieve stress and tension. It has also been noted to lower blood pressure and slow the heart rate. So how does it work? Well, for starters, yoga helps calm the body and mind by encouraging you to turn your attention inward and focus on your breathing. Sure, this may sound a little hokey at first, but once you experience the aftermath of class (i.e. post-yoga bliss), you’ll be namaste-ing every chance you get.
Of course, there are the physical benefits too. I know, I know… you already workout, lift weights, run, bike, swim, etc. but you may be surprised to find that stretching can actually help strengthen your body.
“Yoga poses work by stretching your muscles. They can help you move better and feel less stiff or tired,” according to WebMD. (http://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/the-health-benefits-of-yoga#2). The site noted that one study found people improved their flexibility by up to 35 percent after only eight weeks of yoga. Nothing wrong with a little more mobility!
There are also many different styles of yoga, so if a regular hatha yoga class doesn’t seem to strike your fancy, I challenge you to give Ashtanga, Power, Bikram or Hot Yoga a try. These practices are all very physical and will help you to improve strength, flexibility and muscle tone, in addition to relieving stress, tension and anxiety.
“Many of the poses, such as downward dog, upward dog and plank pose build upper-body strength,” according to WebMD. (http://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/the-health-benefits-of-yoga#2) “The standing poses, especially if you hold them for several long breaths, build strength in your hamstrings, quadriceps, and abs. When done right, nearly all poses build core strength in the deep abdominal muscles.”
Still not convinced? I’ve got one final argument to get you over the fence…
Girls dig guys who do yoga. Yep, it’s true — we really do! Now, I’m not saying to attend class solely for the women, but a little yoga date may just help you score some extra brownie points with your girlfriend. Not only has the practice been proven to strengthen muscles, but it’s also known to strengthen relationships.
Ready to give it a try? Here are 8 yoga poses specifically geared towards you guys![/tps_header]
Benefits: Stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches of the feet and hands. Strengthens and tones the arms and legs.
Beginning in mountain pose (standing position), reach your hands down to the floor, bending your knees if need be. Walk your hands out about three to four feet in front of your toes. Pushing into your palms, lift your hips up toward the sky and press back into your heels, trying to get them flat on the ground (keep a slight bend in your knees to help your heels get closer to the ground). Keep your gaze toward your legs and continue pressing your chest toward your thighs to create a nice flat back.