Whether you’re male or female, yoga can be extremely beneficial for everyone. But for guys in particular, regular yoga practice will dramatically increase endurance, sculpt muscles, prevent injuries and relieve stress. Guys, you may not realise it but you’re probably already incorporating a bit of yoga in your everyday life right now! Those stretches you do before/after your workout - yoga, those deep breaths you take to calm yourself down - yep! That’s yoga.
There’s a common misconception that yoga is a practice only females can do, or that it’s not challenging enough, but the truth is, yoga can be very beneficial for men.
We chatted to YogaBar instructor and fellow yogi Samuel Hann who shares his yoga journey and how it has dramatically improved his physical and mental well-being.
YB: Why do you practice yoga?
Sam: I first stumbled into a yoga class by chance - right place, right time. I started for the fitness aspect but it wasn’t long before I realised I get like a much fuller version of myself when I practiced.
YB: How has yoga helped with your mental and physical wellbeing?
Sam: Yoga is all about awareness. I wasn’t aware that I was depressed when I started but practicing yoga brought this to light. It gave me the tools I needed to breathe and help move through which is what was holding me back. Today I could not be happier or healthier and am constantly challenged both mentally and physically on the mat.
YB: Why do you think men should practice yoga?
Sam: Apart from the obvious mental and physical benefits of a regular physical yoga practice, my number one reason why men should practice yoga is vulnerability!
I often hear the same excuses as to why men won’t try yoga. “It’s for girls” or “yoga is easy” and “I need something stronger like weights”.
The truth is they’re scared; scared to not be great at something, worried about how they’ll look and concerned they won’t look ‘strong’. Vulnerability is strength and the sooner men become comfortable with being uncomfortable, the stronger they’ll become inside and out.
YB: What would be your top 3 yoga poses you would recommend for men to try and why?
Pashimottanasana (seated forward bend)
Disguised as a hamstring stretch, it’s an entire back body lengthening posture. From the crown of the head to the top of the toes.
Ardo Mukkha Svanasana (downward dog)
The holy grail of yoga poses. Men are often tight through shoulders and hamstrings so this pose gives you everything. Strength & stability in shoulders, length through spine, active mid section and length through the legs.
Chaturanga Dandasana (low plank)
A great core stabiliser and arm strength builder. Men are often drawn more towards the strength based aspect of the practice such as arm balances so this is a great preparation for stronger postures. A few breaths here you’ll be shaking like a leaf!
YB: What would be your advice for men who are interested in starting yoga but don’t know where to start?
Sam: Rip the band aid off. You’ll never know unless you try. Find a male teacher if you’re feeling super apprehensive and let him know before class starts that it’s your first time.
Try a range of different class styles to find something that you like. Don’t just take ONE class and make your assumptions about yoga based off a single class (you wouldn’t have one bad meal and stop eating for the rest of your life.) I personally get so stoked when more and more blokes turn up to class because I know how yoga made me feel and I’m excited at the possibility of it happening for them.