When I was growing up there were certain things that boys did and other things reserved for girls. Boy sports included boxing, basketball, and football. Girl sports…Well, girls weren’t encouraged to engage in sports at all. They were the pretty cheer leaders who did back flips when we scored a touchdown. They were the ones we hoped to score with after the game if we were good enough, strong, enough, fast enough, tall enough, and handsome enough.
But, to paraphrase Bob Dylan, “The times are a changing,’ big time.” Now women are doing all the sports that were once reserved for men. In addition to female basketball players and footballers, we now have women boxers like Laila Ali, daughter of Muhammad Ali, and Regina Halmich, who popularized female boxing in Europe. We have mixed-martial artists like Amanda Nunez, Holly Holm and Ronda Rousey.
While women have been breaking through the barriers that have kept them out, men are slower to break through the barriers that have kept them from enjoying and benefitting from healthy activities such as Zumba and Yoga, which in my town, continue to be predominantly practiced by women.
I go to Zumba classes twice a week. I love the Latin music and I get a great workout that keeps me fit. There are additional benefits as I wrote in “Six Sex Trends From My Zumba Class.” I also go to Yoga classes, which I also enjoy and get great benefit from attending. My wife, Carlin, has taught Yoga classes for many years. It took me awhile to try them out. I had accepted the stereotype that “men go to the gym. Women do yoga.”
But now I find they are a super good work out. The classes I attend still have mostly women in them, but hey, hanging out with a lot of hot, sweaty women, isn’t too bad. I mean, someone has to do it.
Here are some great reasons to do Yoga:
- Increased flexibility.
Staying flexible is good at any age, but as I get older, it’s become increasingly important. A lot of my men friends are stiff and move like old men. I like the feeling of ease I receive.
- Improved respiratory and cardiac health.
We all want to keep breathing and insure our hearts are healthy. The American Heart Association recommends Yoga. “Hand in hand with leading a heart-healthy lifestyle, it really is possible for a yoga-based model to help prevent or reverse heart disease,” says M. Mala Cunningham, Ph.D.,counseling psychologist and founder of Cardiac Yoga.
- Yoga counters the negative effects of other physical activities favored by men.
I love to play racquetball and my buddy, Ian, is a golfer. With those activities, the spine tends to consistently turn in one direction. Yoga helps balance us out, using postures that keep the spine supple.
- Yoga promotes weight loss and tones up muscles.
In a study by the Journal of Alternative Medicine, overweight men who practiced yoga lost four pounds in 10 days. Yoga lowers levels of cortisol, the stress hormone that prompts your body to collect belly fat.
- Yoga can alleviate chronic low-back pain.
There’s nothing more miserable than back pain and nothing that will ruin your sex life faster. Like most guys I know, I spend a lot of time sitting on my butt in front of a computer. Muscles get tight and shorten and chronic back pain is the result. Yoga not only alleviates lower back pain but also helps with fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, and other kinds of chronic pain.
- Yoga reduces stress, anxiety, and depression.
Yoga uses a combination of physical poses, controlled breathing, and relaxation techniques that have been shown to lower blood pressure and heart rate, both of which help modulate the stress response. It’s been proven that yoga can also help with anxiety and depression.
- Yoga can improve your sex life.
I’ll admit it. I’ll try anything that can improve my sex life. Both increased libido and improved sexual performance have been linked to regular yoga practice. In a 2010 study of men ages 24 to 60, yoga was shown to improve all domains of sexual function in men. The breathing techniques and concentration taught in yoga can help men better channel their sexual energy.
Meet the Men Dedicated to Helping Guys Become Healthier, Happier, and Sexier
Louis d’Origny loved mathematics, but the immense pressures of university life, were stressing him out. He turned to yoga to help improve his physical and emotional strength. After graduating in 2013, he followed the well-trodden path of his predecessors and went to work in banking. But he continued to practice yoga and found it a massive support in becoming a success in the business world.
But he became increasingly disillusioned with the finance world:
I wanted to create something to inspire men to embrace their individuality and be the best that they could be.
During a yoga class in London in September 2014, Louis had the idea that he could create better yoga clothes for men than the offerings currently on the market. Diving in, head first, Louis put all of his time and energy into building OHMME. “What’s the deal with the name?” I asked. “I mixed the yoga mantra sound ‘AUM’ with the French word for man – ‘HOMME’ to make a brand which is yoga focused and solely for men.
Starting a business alone is very hard, and 18-hour days are not uncommon. Louis uses yoga as a way to calm his mind and maintain focus on the important issues in the business. He also partnered with a fellow yoga enthusiast named Jonty.
Jonty Hikmet was a shy boy growing up in North West London. “I had all the usual allergies and ailments as everyone else; Colds in the winter, hay fever in the summer and stomach issues as well,” he told me. “But in my early 20s I started to align myself more with health.” He earned a degree in Business Management, but instead of going to work in an accountancy firm, Jonty moved to Buenos Aires to teach English. Not being able to resist a new experience, he discovered yoga. He later returned to London.
Louis and Jonty met through an Ashtanga yoga class that they both regularly attended in Central London. Here they noticed they were the only guys in the class, and they bonded over wanting to be able encourage guys to get involved in yoga practice. They shared a passion for yoga, business, and helping men break through the stereotypes that have kept men from being all that they can be.
We are currently the only men’s yoga brand, created to make men feel that it’s normal and O.K. to do yoga. This is the only business designed by guys that do yoga, for guys that do not, to encourage them to take up the practice, for their health, fitness and wellness.
I’ve been trying out their yoga pants and shorts and I love them for all kinds of movement activities. They’re extremely well made and super comfortable.
Louis and Jonty take seriously author Sam Keen’s challenge that “The radical vision of the future rests on the belief that the logic that determines either our survival or our destruction is simple:
- The new human vocation is to heal the earth.
- We can only heal what we love.
- We can only love what we know.
- We can only know what we touch.”
“We use Bluesign® fabrics,” they told me, “which means all of our clothes reduce our collective carbon footprint as much as possible. We use the best fabric technology like recycled plastic bottles which uses 35-55% less energy than making new polyester.”
If all that wasn’t a reason to check out OHMME, they are offering my readers a 10% discount valid until August 31st 2017 with the code M3NALIV3, to use at checkout! Come take a look and check them out. I’ve been wearing the Warrior I Yoga Shorts and Dharma Graphite Pants (which are super well-made and comfortable) depending on what I’m doing. But check out their whole line of great clothes here, take advantage of their special offer today, and let us know what you think.
Be healthy, happy, and sexy, my friends.
This article originally appeared on Men Alive
Photo credit: Getty Images