By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
Very often, men wonder what they can expect from Yoga. Within the United States, Yogic practices have traditionally been seen as a woman’s form of physical exercise. This view is diametrically-opposed to the traditional Indian view of the practice of Yoga training. Going back to the early Indus Valley Civilization, the deep study of Yogic methodology and philosophy was primarily the domain of men. Regardless of the cultural context, or the time period, men can expect a regular practice to enhance their health and well-being on a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual level.
Physically, the regular practice of asanas (postures) will strengthen a man’s muscles and ligaments, as well as, improve his sense of balance. Asanas will help to keep a man limber and flexible as he moves through the decades of his life. This flexibility will help to prevent injuries from muscles strains and torn ligaments. As a man ages, practicing balancing postures will also help to improve and hone his sense of balance, which is very important in preventing injuries, such as broken hips from falls. Additionally, with the regular practice of vigorous styles, such as Ashtanga, Power, Flow, or Vinyasa Yoga, a man’s cardiac health will be improved, and his blood pressure could be lowered.
The pranayama techniques (breathing exercises) help to balance the brain, alleviate anxiety, and ease depression. The human need for pranayama is timeless. Our world moves at such a fast pace. The availability of all kinds of electronic technologies keeps us wired-in at all hours of the day and night. Many men and women are balancing a demanding career with personal family obligations. A brisk-paced schedule may have the effect of creating a frenetic mind and body. The breathing practices of Yoga help to restore balance to the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems, allowing a man to slow down and rejuvenate his body and mind during a Yoga class.
On a spiritual level, gathering together with a group of like-minded, and often spiritually-oriented practitioners, will give a man the opportunity to connect with the energy within a Yoga school. In the practice of Yogic methodology, the body and mind are connected through pranayama, asana, meditation, and relaxation techniques. The inward focus of a Yoga class, the gathering of other practitioners, and the atmosphere, within a typical session, will all help a man to be in touch with, and nourish his mind, body, and spirit. By choosing to practice Yoga regularly, in a class setting or in the privacy of his own home, a man will reap many benefits – ranging from improved physical health and well-being to emotional balance and spiritual growth.
© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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