Ever Thought About Being a Yoga Dad?
About a month ago, we published a post about the ways moms can benefit from yoga. Now, with Father’s Day approaching, it’s your turn, dads. One lesson we try to stress in this blog is that yoga is for everybody. Regardless of who you are or where you are in life, yoga is a great way to supplement your day to day routines. It can be particularly helpful for lowering stress and dealing with anxiety, improving muscle control and strength, and helping you think with a clear mind.
So, if you’re looking for a way to treat yourself (or the dads in your life) this Father’s Day, keep in mind that the gift of yoga is a great one to give.
Not sure if yoga is right for the dads in your life? Here’s why it probably is.
Yes, Yoga Really is for Guys too
For many guys, coming to a yoga studio can be a bit intimidating because of the mistaken assumption that yoga is inherently feminine or an exercise for women. In actuality, for much of yoga’s long history, it was practiced exclusively by men. On top of that, there are many yoga poses that require significant upper body strength and muscle control, which many women often lack at first.
Everybody– masculine, feminine, and everywhere in between– benefits from exercise, and yoga is another form of exercise. Unlike exercises that focus exclusively on building strength or endurance, yoga is an exercise that allows you to work your body, mind, and spirit all together. That’s one reason why yoga can be a great addition or counterbalance to more aggressive forms of exercise. As a guy who both does yoga and lifts regularly, I can attest to the fact that yoga has been incredibly beneficial for my lifting. Thanks to my yoga practice, I have the bodily awareness and muscle control to better detect when my form isn’t correct or when I’m putting too much stress on one of my joints. As a result, I’m able to lift more weight with better form, decreasing the likelihood of injuring myself at the gym.
Men can also benefit greatly by improving their flexibility through yoga. Tending to naturally be less flexible, sometimes guys see images of yogis contorting into living pretzels, and they think that if that is what it takes to do yoga, they might as well not even try. However, not even the knotted-up yogi started with that much flexibility. Much like strength, flexibility is something that has to be grown and improved steadily over time. Yoga will help you improve your flexibility, but you don’t have to be particularly flexible to start out.
Decompress and De-Stress
Fellas, let’s get real for a second. Men are often taught (and believe) that the best way to handle stress is to just repress it, shoving it deep down and trying to ignore it. That’s probably why men are more likely to be diagnosed with the types of chronic physical illnesses associated with high stress levels and unhealthy lifestyles.
By not addressing your stress, you’re setting your body and mind up for strain and illness. Don’t worry – in a yoga class, you’re not going to have to open up to others and talk about your feelings. But, a yoga practice does help cultivate mindfulness and can help your body release tensions in the areas where you store stress, such as the lower back, neck, or hips. Without even trying, practicing mindfulness will help you lower your stress levels. When you learn to be present in the moment, conscious of little more than your breath and your movement, your mind becomes more still. This lowers your stress levels tremendously. On top of that, as an exercise, yoga also increases your heart rate and stimulates the flow of endorphins through the body. That means that yoga’s anti-stsyress components are twofold: it helps release stress from your mind and your body.
Feel Better, Live Better
When you have the opportunity to work through your stress and loosen up achy muscles, you feel better. The better you feel, the happier you are. The happier you are, the more patience and compassion you’re able to give to your loved ones, take with you into the workplace, and extend to yourself.
Be sure to share this article with the dads in your life! If you’re already a dad who does yoga, leave a comment below about your experience with yoga. Who knows? It might help someone else take the next step.