For a long time, men have shied away from yoga. But that’s all about to change as the likes of Adam Levine, Maroon 5 lead singer and rocker icon, as well as People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive in 2013, come forward as a proud yoga devotee.
“I had been lifting weights for years. After our first yoga session, I vowed never to lift another weight again,” the singer was quoted as saying by Women’s Health Magazine.
Known for his ripped physique, Levine even goes on to say that he felt his body “more sculpted” after picking up the practice.
About more than a decade on, the singer’s devotion only grew as he shared on social media how yoga had a “profoundly positive impact” on his life.
He wrote: “I have never been pretzel-ish or particularly flexible. And my practice is riddled with mistakes and imperfections. Which is precisely what makes it so powerful. Striving to do better while simultaneously remaining satisfied with where I am. It’s much larger than I am. I just tag along for the ride. Pretty cool. So…thanks, yoga. You’re awesome.”
And it’s not just Adam Levine. Other famous male celebrities who famously swear by yoga include A-listers such as David Beckham, Lebron James, Matthew McConaughey, Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey, Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal, Justin Timberlake, Orlando Bloom, Colin Farrell, Russell Brand, Woody Harrelson, Russel Simmons, Jeremy Piven, and Sting.
According to the 2016 Yoga in America Study conducted by Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance, traditional male attitudes on yoga have dramatically shifted over the years. Between 2012 and 2016 alone, the number of male practitioners rose to a whopping 150 percent.
There’s a good reason why yoga’s becoming more popular among men. The wonders of yoga can be felt not just physically but also holistically beyond the mat.
Here’s a breakdown of scientifically proven benefits that men get when they regularly get their “om” on:
Stress can trigger lifestyle disorders like diabetes, hypertension, hormonal disorders, etc. It can also aggravate autoimmune disorders and chronic inflammation. That’s why it is extremely important to control stress.
Slow yoga practice stimulates a deep sense of stability and security. The deep calming effect of yoga is a definite cure for stress. Alternative Medicine Review published a research paper in 2012 underlining the efficacy of yoga on stress.
More than 20 patients out of the 35 individuals experienced significant stress relief after a regular yoga practice. Many other pieces of research prove that yoga poses and especially breathing practices help to relieve stress immediately.
Therefore, if you are stressed, yoga is a simple, affordable, accessible, and effective method to nip stress in the bud.
Prevents Cardiac Disorders
Atherosclerosis or abnormal deposition of cholesterol on the surface of the blood vessels is the primary cause of all kinds of cardiac disorders. Yoga helps to prevent atherosclerosis, thus eliminating the fundamental causal factor for cardiac conditions. Besides, it has an overall beneficial effect on related factors like blood pressure, serum cholesterol, triglycerides levels, etc.
Forty-two people were observed in a randomized, controlled trial for the effects of a yoga lifestyle on atherosclerosis for one year. It was found that the yoga group suffered from a significantly lesser number of angina episodes per week. They also developed better exercise capacity and significant weight reduction.
This experiment also found that the yoga group had lower serum total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels as compared with the control group.
Therefore, yoga practice can be an excellent prevention and management tool for cardiac disorders.
Yoga offers a holistic solution for diabetes control, especially in the case of type 2 diabetes. Firstly, it shifts the autonomic nervous system from sympathetic to parasympathetic mode. This helps the body to “rest and repair” itself. The relaxing effect of yoga helps to combat oxidative stress and enhance the endocrine activity of the pancreas.
As the cells “rest and repair” themselves, they absorb more sugar from the blood, which helps to lower the blood sugar. Therefore, yoga naturally reduces insulin resistance in the body.
Multiple scientific experiments prove that yoga helps to maintain normal blood sugar levels and thus prevent/manage diabetes. So, you must add yoga to your daily routine as prevention for diabetes.
Reduces Nervous Disorders
According to multiple scientific studies, yoga helps to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the nervous tissue. In this manner, it helps to prevent early degeneration of the nerves and brain cells.
Also, yogic practice helps to boost the antioxidant levels in the body. These antioxidants preserve nerve health and elongate their life. Yoga also reduces neural hyperactivity and produces a tranquilizing effect on the entire body.
Multiple scientific studies prove the efficacy of yogic practice in various types of nervous disorders:
- Yoga practice helped a group of epileptic patients experience significant relief in the frequency and intensity of seizures. They also experienced significant improvement in the quality of life with yoga.
- Stroke victims who participated in a 10-week yoga program reported significant improvements in biopsychosocial health and reduction in stress.
- A six-month yoga intervention for patients with multiple sclerosis demonstrated great improvement in fatigue and overall quality of life.
- There is considerable scientific evidence that supports the positive impact of yoga in the case of Alzheimer’s disease, peripheral nervous system disorders, fibromyalgia, etc.
The bottom line is that yoga can help both to prevent and manage various severe nervous disorders.
Depression occurs when we are not able to accept reality. This lack of acceptance gradually may lead to symptoms like social withdrawal, addiction, suicidal thoughts, etc.
The single most vital benefit of yoga for men is that it helps them to calm down and be realistic. Accepting reality saves us from the “guilt of the past” and “fear of the future,” and that is exactly what yoga helps you to do. So, yoga may not help you achieve your sales targets, but it will definitely help you maintain a realistic approach toward your work.
Accepting reality may seem a very passive approach. But it is not. In fact, it is the first step toward real success. Once you accept reality, this acceptance serves as a shield against overconfidence, misjudgments, stress, and depression. And this is exactly what most men may need the most.
A scientific review on the effects of yoga mentions several benefits of a regular practice such as reducing the inflammatory markers present in the brain of depressed patients and the calming impact on the limbic system that helps prevent mood swings, especially in the case of unipolar depression.
Depression can catch you anytime in this super-competitive environment, so practice yoga and eliminate the very cause of depression.
Most of us get anxious when we feel that we are not able to control external situations. Both past experiences, negative memories, and uncertainty about the future may lead to an anxiety attack.
Yoga strikes at the root of the anxiety problem. The practice of slow yoga stimulates a deep sense of mindfulness. Mindfulness enables us to live in the present and to utilize it to its best. It helps to develop a feeling of security and balance. When you are not fretting about the past or worried about the future, there is no reason to be anxious!
This mindfulness is not only about yogic movements. With practice, it gradually spreads to all dimensions of your life. You will become more conscious about your eating habits, lifestyle, or addictions. And then, it becomes easier to improve and eliminate the undesirable from your life.
A systematic review of eight scientific papers in 2004 found that yoga practice can help to significantly reduce anxiety, depression, and multiple other mental disorders. It also found that yoga is effective even in cases of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Essentially, yoga changes your attitude toward the world, and this change brings lots of physiological and psychological benefits.
Compulsive eating or stress eating is one of the primary causes of obesity. The deep relaxing effect of yoga diminishes stress and anxiety. As a result, it helps to reduce stress-eating. You cannot grow obese if you are not eating excess food.
Yoga activates the endocrine system and stimulates the rate of metabolism. Thus, it leads to optimal energy expenditure by the body and natural weight management.
In 2012, 37 obese participants were observed for the potential effects of yoga. They exhibited a significant reduction in anxiety and abnormal stress eating and an improvement in nutrition behaviors, thus leading to natural weight loss.
Muscle Strength and Flexibility
Yoga is not an exercise suitable for building abnormal muscle mass, but it can definitely help you to increase your muscle strength.
Yogic poses focus on slow and conscious movements. Therefore, you may have to maintain your hands or legs in a particular position for a longer time, and that’s where real strength is needed. Fasting exercises are relatively easy to practice, but to hold a difficult position is the real challenge for muscles.
Thus, yoga practice trains muscles to develop better resistance to muscle fatigue, muscular injury, or early degeneration. Besides, yoga enhances the blood circulation in the muscles. With better circulation and nutritional supply, muscles naturally develop better flexibility and also improve bone health.
Yoga may not help you build muscles, but it will bring magnetic confidence to your personality. Besides, it also helps you find your balance. If muscles were the only thing that mattered, elephants would be more important creatures than humans. With yoga, you may realize that you are more than a bunch of muscles.
Alleviates Respiratory Disorders
Yogic breathing exercises are definitely helpful in better respiratory function and the prevention of breathing disorders. However, they can also help you to manage respiratory problems.
With rhythmic breathing exercises, the lungs gradually increase their vital capacity (maximum air intake). Yogic breathing exercises (Pranayama) also serve as an exercise for the lung muscles, alveoli, diaphragm, and windpipe.
Pranayama also enhances the blood circulation in the lungs, thus providing more nutrition to the lung muscles, nerves, etc. It is scientifically proven to be highly effective in almost all kinds of respiratory disorders. A recent study proved that regular practice of breathing exercises helps to significantly improve ventilatory function, strengthen the respiratory muscles, and improve overall breathing rate.
Another six-week-long experiment on 22 patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease proved significant improvement in lung functions and breathing. Yogic breathing is also effective in other respiratory disorders like asthma, bronchitis, etc.
One of the biggest problems in men is sexual disorders. Let’s see how yoga helps in some of the major sexual disorders.
Cures Premature Ejaculation
There are three main reasons for premature ejaculation:
- Nervous weakness
- Muscular weakness, and
- Performance anxiety
Yoga helps to eliminate both the root causes of PE.
Firstly, it helps strengthen the nerves and nervous coordination. One of the scientific studies proved that the calming effect of yoga helps to increase the antioxidant levels in the body and prevent early neurodegeneration. The result is stronger nerves and muscles.
On the other hand, the calming effect of yoga helps to release performance anxiety in men. In this manner, the long-term practice of yoga can help effectively prevent and cure premature ejaculation.
Improves Erectile Dysfunction
Let us look at the most common and fundamental cause of erectile dysfunction: bad circulation and blood pressure. Weak circulation leads to poor nutrition supply to the penis muscles. Increased viscosity in the blood leading to higher blood pressure also contributes to erectile dysfunction.
Here, too, yoga helps to prevent circulatory damage through its rejuvenating effect. Regular yoga practice helps to activate the vital points in the body and improve circulation. This overall improvement in blood circulation also results in a better blood supply to the penis.
Besides, yoga brings a bouquet of benefits like better muscular strength, enhanced nervous supply, and improved spermatogenesis. All these factors help to improve the sexual performance of men.
A study proved that regular yoga practice can bring significant improvement in erection quality.
Many pieces of scientific research suggest that oxidative stress is one of the primary causes of infertility in men. Yoga definitely helps to remove stress and therefore may contribute to male fertility.
But one of the studies recently proved that yoga has a direct impact on male fertility. This trial observed males in a 21-day yoga camp and found a marked improvement in sperm quality. This finding also indicates that yoga practice can bring deep positive changes in genes through DNA methylation.
Many of these genes are directly responsible for fertility and genomic integrity. Thus, the yogic impact can reach and change even your genes.
From getting rid of stress to steamier sex, the comprehensive benefits of yoga should be enough to bust the gender myths around it. You don’t even have to hit the mat every day of the week to reap the benefits. Just a few days a week of yoga or a few minutes a day of practice can already boost your overall life quality.
Then, you begin to see why famous male celebrities like Adam Levine, men who are at the top of their game, are crushing it at yoga. It’s a game-changer.