Whether you're a professional athlete, a weekend warrior, or just someone who's passionate about staying healthy and fit, yoga has much to offer. The movements and poses of a yoga practice are designed to benefit both body and mind, making it a fantastic addition to your wellness routine.
The Benefits of Yoga for Men
As described by the experts at Yoga Journal, a consistent yoga practice has beneficial effects on pretty much every system in your human body: the muscular and skeletal systems; the endocrine and immune systems; the respiratory, cardiovascular, and digestive systems; and the central nervous system.
And, contrary to popular belief, yoga is not just for women! The benefits of yoga for men are just as potent and inspiring: flexibility, mobility, overall strength and conditioning, enhanced brain function, and better sex—is just some of what a regular yoga practice can deliver.
The benefits of yoga go far beyond being a great physical workout. Yoga can also support an inspiring array of "attitude adjustments" and deep mental-emotional transformations. A regular yoga practice can, for instance, provide:
- Emotional harmony
- Stress reduction
- Relaxation, calm and ease
- Enhanced concentration and mental clarity
- Increased confidence and courage
- Equanimity in the face of challenging circumstances
- True and lasting peace, contentment and happiness
Yoga's Deeper Healing Potential
While most people have heard about yoga and know about some of its body-mind benefits, fewer realize that it can also help with recovery from addiction and other psychological disorders. So, how exactly does yoga accomplish this? The answer, at least in part, has to do with how yoga affects us physiologically:
"Yoga is very effective at regulating the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline … An imbalance of those hormones has been associated with anxiety disorders, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder as well as substance abuse. These chronically high levels of hormones are toxic to the body and central nervous system, and we know yoga can help reduce or balance the stress hormones in the body. It makes sense that if you're less stressed, you may not be so quick to seek substances to cope."
Yoga can help you act with greater wisdom and loving-kindness toward your body. How? By helping to create a more mindful and positive relationship with physical sensations—with how we feel our body directly, from inside. It helps us listen more closely to what our body actually needs, in the moment.
And this kind of enhanced mindfulness sets the stage for unwinding all kinds of compulsive or addictive behavior; and for resolving anxiety or depression.
Ten Yoga Poses for Overall Health & Wellness
Now that you understand a bit about why yoga is such an awesome support for physical and psychological health, it's time to get your feet wet, and begin an actual practice. These ten poses (listed with both their English and Sanskrit names) are great ones to begin with. Feel free to explore just one or two of them at a time, or experience the entire sequence, in the order presented here.
While it's preferable to receive in-person instruction from a certified yoga teacher, you can get started yourself by clicking through to the more detailed written instructions.
1. Child's Pose (Balasana).
Kneel on all fours, then drop your hips onto your heels and rest your forehead on the ground. So relaxing!
2. Thunderbolt Pose (Vajrasana).
Kneel with your inner knees and inner ankles touching, then sit back onto your heels. Try to keep your inner ankles pressing together.
3. Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana).
Kneel on all fours, then lift your hips up toward the ceiling, pressing strongly into your hands and straightening your legs, if possible. Feel your spine lengthening as your head and neck remain relaxed.
4. Easy Pose (Sukhasana).
Sit on a yoga bolster or on the ground, with your shins crossed loosely. Close your eyes, and tune into the movement of your breath—how the breath feels in your body.
5. Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana).
Sit on a yoga bolster or on the ground, with the soles of your feet together and you knees relaxing outward toward the ground. Become aware of constrictions in the muscles of your hips, lower back or inner thighs. Just notice these sensations, without judgement.
6. Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana).
Sit on a folded blanket or right on the ground, with your legs extended out in front. Begin with your spine upright, and then fold forward, placing your hands on your thighs, shins or feet. Stay relaxed through your face, neck and jaw.
7. Knee-Hug Spinal Twist (Jathara Parivartanasana).
Lie on your back with your knees hinged and the soles of your feet flat on the ground. Extend your arms out from your shoulders. Then draw your knees toward your chest and gently twist your legs to one side; and then to the other side.
8. Knees-To-Chest Pose (Apanasana).
Lie on your back with your knees hinged and the soles of your feet flat on the ground. Use your arms to draw your legs toward your chest, as though you were giving yourself a big hug.
9. Legs-up-the-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani).
Put your legs up the wall, with your pelvis about a foot away from the wall, so the legs are at an angle. Have your head either resting on the ground or on a pillow. Relax deeply in this position, for five or ten minutes. Tip: This is a great one to do right before bed!
10. Corpse Pose (Savasana).
Lie on your back, flat on the ground. Or, slide a yoga bolster under your knees. Rest your arms/hands a few inches away from your hips. Close your eyes. Release the full weight of your body to the support of the ground. Smile gently, and allow all unnecessary tensions to melt away.
If you dedicate 15-20 minutes daily to your yoga practice, you'll begin to notice all variety of beneficial changes. To support and complement your yoga practice, drink plenty of water, and keep your skin vibrantly healthy and comfortable with our hydrating beard and skin system.
Questions or comments? Please feel free to contact us.