Yoga is usually seen in the West as a form of exercise primarily suited for women.
When we imagine a yoga classroom, we tend to picture elegant, slender women in fantastic poses.
When we think about the benefits of yoga, we tend to picture flexibility, balance and posture, not strength gains or power.
However, this should not be the case: yoga is an ancient practice that has been studied by men and women for thousands of years and can challenge even the most athletic and strongest of men with ease.
There is much to be gained by men in the practice of yoga.
First of all, there is a long-standing and erroneous belief that yoga causes people to lose muscle mass.
This is not true.
Yoga alone will not sustain the sheer amount of muscle that a professional bodybuilder might be carrying, but for your average healthy man yoga will only tone and tighten your muscles, not cause you to lose it.
In fact, many men discover that despite their successes in the gym they are shaking and weak in the yoga studio, which leads us to our next point.
Yoga can help you gain strength in muscles you never knew you had.
Squatting, benching and such will pump up your major muscle groups, but yoga targets not only your quads and pecs but also the ancillary and more subtle muscles that weight lifting often ignores.
Not only does your core receive a blasting, but muscles such as your deltoids are asked to perform new moves and hold positions that many weightlifters cannot hold with shaking and falling down.
Yoga requires that you enlist the complete strength of your body, not only augmenting your main muscle groups but helping you develop and tone all the muscles of your body as you engage in difficult poses.
Finally, most men are stiff.
Picture a seventy-year-old man, imagine him walking.
Most likely he is hobbling, shoulders hunched, hips tight, feet shuffling.
Yoga aims to prevent this fate befalling us, by forcing us to expand our range of movement, forcing us to remain healthy, flexible, balanced and strong.
Too many men think only in terms of muscle mass, not realizing that the second half of their lives will be much more impacted by the benefits of yoga than those of the weight room.
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