When it comes to fitness, most guys focus on weightlifting and strength training. And I think this is appropriate.
Strength training offers guys by far the most benefits of any form of exercise… But that is NOT a reason to ONLY lift weights. This is why I advocate complementing your lifting routine with something aerobic like martial arts.
However, yoga might also have a place in your fitness routine. It offers many benefits that you can’t get through lifting weights, cardio, or any other forms of exercise.
Read below and learn 5 big reasons that every guy should consider picking up yoga…
#1. Stronger, More Dominant Posture
Our posture is how we hold our bodies by default. It’s the difference between strangers perceiving you as fit, confident, and strong… or weak, insecure, and frail.
While doing proper back exercises is one great way to improve your posture, yoga will also have a huge impact.
On one hand, it will teach you to have better control of your body, in particular your abdominal, shoulder, and neck muscles. These muscles are primarily responsible for how upright you stand, how tall you appear, and how broad your chest and shoulder seem to be.
On the other hand, it will stretch many commonly tight, over-active muscles in your chest, shoulders, and hips that cause most people to hunch over and take up less space. The combination of these two things will result in you carrying yourself with far stronger posture in your everyday life – something every man can benefit from.
#2. Better, Stronger Lifts
A second positive side effect of improving your control of under-active muscles and stretching over-active ones is that it will take your lifting game to the next level.
For example, most guys have super tight hamstrings. This will prevent you from being able to squat to proper depth, get into the correct deadlift position, and even cause lower back pain.
By stretching commonly over-active muscles like your hamstrings yoga will allow you to correct these common issues, move with far greater freedom, and get way stronger as a result. By being able to move better, you’ll also drastically reduce the risk of injury that comes with heavy squatting and deadlifting.
#3. Enhanced Focus and Clarity of Mind
For me, yoga is like an hour-long meditation. You should remain focused on breathing deep, full breaths for the duration of class… even as you move through challenging and uncomfortable positions.
This is not easy! In fact, it’s really fucking hard.
But over time, by training your mind to stay focused on the breath despite any discomfort or wandering thoughts, you can vastly improve your ability to stay present in life. This is why so many people love to meditate. When you’re able to remain focused on what you’re doing, rather than neurotically worrying about stupid shit, you become a far happier and more productive person.
#4. Mental Toughness
This benefit is similar to #3 (enhanced focus). In yoga class, there will be poses and postures that are extremely uncomfortable to hold…
Now if you’re in excruciating pain, then you’re probably doing something wrong or you might have an injury that you don’t know about.
But assuming that’s not the case, the challenge of remaining focused while holding a difficult pose will build discipline and mental toughness. You’ll train your mind to master the discomfort and remain focused on the task at hand, despite every muscle in your body wanting to quit and head for child’s pose.
This is invaluable, as there are many times we face similar challenges in life. Maybe you’re in an uncomfortable social situation. Maybe you’re just on a long walk home in the freezing cold. Maybe you’re sparring and take a body shot to the liver. Either way, being able to quiet your mind and stay focused despite the discomfort always pays dividends.
#5. The Perfect Complement to Lifting
Look, I firmly believe lifting weights is the number one physical activity guys should focus on. But unfortunately it’s not a complete, all-encompassing solution for improving your body.
If you don’t stretch properly, certain muscles can become tighter and tighter, and damage your posture (as we explored above). If you don’t do exercises that target your inner abdominal muscles, your rotator cuff, and other smaller, stabilizer muscles, then you risk injury when lifting heavier weights.
I’m obsessed with weightlifting and strength training, but it simply doesn’t account for EVERYTHING you should be doing in terms of improving your body’s overall function and performance. Luckily yoga takes care of all of these little things that you’d otherwise neglect or have to figure out on your own.
Bonus: Cute Girls
Alright boys, let’s be honest: yoga is known for the super cute and fit chicas that flock to class each and every day. But let’s get one thing straight: this should NOT be your reason for getting started!
If it is, you won’t be focused in class. And then you’ll sacrifice all of the amazing benefits we discussed above. Not only that, but your motivations will probably be pretty obvious. Girls who do yoga can pretty easily discern when a dude wanders into class just to sight-see and check out the girls. Don’t be that guy.
That being said, it’s a pretty awesome bonus. And if you start to enjoy yoga and go consistently, then you’re likely to meet some cute yogis along the way. Get started by finding a yoga studio near you and checking out a class (most offer a free first class), or trying out a quick guided video on YouTube like this 20 minute one.