Yoga Could Be the Key to Better Sex, Less Stress, and Greater Strength
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A lot of guys hear the word “yoga” and instantly think it’s for hippies — and of course, women in matching crop tops and tights. But the practice — which dates all the way back to 3,000 B.C. — is about so much more than that. It’s no wonder why in recent years, more and more men have been rolling out the mat.
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According to the 2016 Yoga in America study, 28 percent of all yoga practitioners in the United States are male, up from 17.8 percent in 2012 – and growing steadily by the year. These guys aren’t only enjoying the commonly toted wins of yoga, such as increased flexibility and balance, they’re improving their muscle tone, mental health, and sex lives, too.
Still not sold on the idea of getting bendy like a human pretzel? Read on to get all the deets on the lesser-known benefits of yoga, which may just convince you to channel your inner warrior.
1. Increase Muscle Mass and Strength
If you think you need to load up a barbell to see major strength gains, think again. Research shows that adding in yoga — specifically the sun salutation, which is a popular series of yoga poses performed in a continuous flow — can increase your one-rep max for both push and shoulder exercises.
“Over 90 percent of yoga poses are weight-bearing, specifically static contracted poses that directly build strength,” says Anthony Chavez, director of personal transformation and mindful leadership at CorePower Yoga. “Adding yoga into your workout regimen adds a new layer of strength as it can fully round out your program, helping you to increase your ability to hold weight longer with more control, which then builds muscular endurance.”
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2. Natural Pain Killer
Whether you’re dealing with sore muscles from a workout or chronic pain from a condition, practicing yoga can serve as a natural pain killer and tension reliever. “Yoga is movement therapy,” says Bobbi Hamilton, CYT
Creator and CEO of Chi Universe, ChiUniverse.com. “It helps relieve muscle tension and back pain! It’s a natural painkiller.”
Studies have found that those who deal with everything from arthritis and fibromyalgia to migraines, low back pain, and muscle soreness, have been able to increase mobility and reduce pain after incorporating yoga into their routine.
3. Improve Athletic Ability
Being a good athlete is more than just God-given talent and hard work inside the gym. Research shows that yoga can fine-tune your dexterity, which in turn can help you move faster. “Left brain focus in your yoga practice gives you the ability to contract and hold multiple muscle groups at once,” says Chavez. “As a result, the body becomes more agile and dynamic because your overall body awareness is increased.” In other words? You’ll be less prone to injury.
4. Slow Down Aging
You might be turning to creams and serums to combat the signs of aging, but a little yoga can do the trick as well. One study published in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity found that cellular aging slowed down in participants after just 12 weeks of consistent yoga and meditation.
Hamilton agrees, “yoga slows aging. Do it for the vanity if you have to!” she says.
5. Boost Your Sex Life
Seriously. Indian researchers found that after 12 weeks of yoga camp, men enjoyed their in-the-sheets time more with their partners, improving various aspects of the deed from performance and overall satisfaction to partner synchronization and even erections.
While more research is needed, studies have also found yoga, when practiced regularly, can be looked to as a natural treatment option for some experiencing ED.
RELATED: Everything You Need to Start Yoga
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6. Greater Focus and Productivity
Yoga helps us to be more present and create more focus, according to research. That focus can result in a few things, from a more productive weekend to visualizing bigger opportunities at the office. “With yoga, you have greater access to what’s available at any given moment,” says Chavez. “In other words, you won’t have to turn down the radio when you get lost on your next drive because you’ll have expanded your ‘field of view’ as it pertains to your mental capacity.”
Hamilton notes that tackling “even two to three yoga postures before or during work can really make a difference in getting the mind going in the right direction.”
“This can be particularly helpful for people with ADD and ADHD, or anyone having trouble concentrating. It a remedy for confusion, and brings control of the mind,” she adds.
7. Benefits Heart Health
While cardio workouts should still be a part of your weekly workout routine, you can feel good knowing that your yoga time is helping out your ticker, too. Studies have found practicing yoga on the reg can improve blood circulation, reduce blood pressure, lower heart rate, and even improve an irregular heartbeat.
In addition, Hamilton notes that yoga can help to balance blood sugar levels. Whether you have type 2 diabetes or you’re just trying to regulate your blood sugar levels, research shows that certain yoga poses can be incredibly beneficial.
8. Enhance Immune System
Experiencing one of those summer flu situations that are pretty much the worst thing ever? Yoga can help with that. Research shows that yoga can boost immunity at a cellular level, boosting the body’s defense system. Warrior one, anyone?
9. Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Research shows that stress is linked to so many diseases. The deep, controlled breathing, left-brain focus, hormonal release, and meditative aspects of yoga have all been proven to decrease stress and anxiety, says Chavez. “Most of us live in a high-stress environment and biologically the signs of stress are present in high hormone markers like cortisol, the body’s main stress hormone,” he says. “When we practice yoga, endorphins are released to combat cortisol, while deep breathing lowers blood pressure, which fills your body with oxygen-rich blood.”
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LeNaya Smith Crawford, licensed therapist & holistic wellness expert adds that “by connecting your breath to movement you are helping your nervous system relax and bringing a sense of presence and balance to your psyche.”
Adding on to the productivity point above, she adds: “When we are relaxed and balanced it is easier for us to complete tasks more efficiently.”
10. Improve Fertility
Trying to conceive? In addition to time in the bedroom, you might consider spending some time on the yoga mat. Not only do the benefits of stress reduction, physical activity, and circulation help with fertility but, more specifically, research has found that yoga can improve sperm quality as well.
Yogi Bare Paws Mat
The only tool you’ll really need to tackle your yoga workout is a mat. This mat offers grip and cushion in equal supply so you can focus on your balance and strength without worrying about the surface below you.
Manduka Cork Yoga Block
Yoga blocks are a great tool to have on hand during any yoga session. You can use them for added support, to further your reach in a posture, or increase difficulty.
Alo Moves App
If you’re practicing yoga at home it can be tough to know where to begin. Alo Moves is here to help. Within the app, you’ll find an extensive range of yoga classes, catering to a variety of styles and fitness levels. You can also download workouts to use when you are out of WiFi range if you plan to take your workout outside!
$20/month (first 14 days free) at Alomoves.com
As you can see, the benefits of yoga for men and women alike are numerous, and it doesn’t take much to get started. Whether you choose to buy a yoga mat, queue up a YouTube video and practice a few simple poses at home, or head to a local studio to try out a regular yoga or hot yoga class, you can easily incorporate yoga into your weekly or daily routine.
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