The importance of yoga needs no separate introduction. However, it is often thought that yoga is meant for the women only, whereas, men too can be hugely benefited with the benefits of yoga. This is because yoga helps them to get rid of the tightness in hamstrings, hips or shoulders that men usually have. Yoga helps to create flexibility and strength in the body and much more. Learn about the various benefits of yoga for men and some of the must-do asanas and pranayamas for men.
Various Benefits of Yoga for Men
Yoga Benefits for Strengthening Immunity in Men:
Yoga can actually change the gene expressions and therefore, the immunity is strengthened from within. It can flush out the body toxins and thus improves the immune system.
Benefits of Yoga for keeping Food Cravings off in Men:
Due to the immense stress in work life, men often tend to overeat and feel the food cravings during mid-day snack attacks. In that case, yoga can help to curb the urge.
Yoga is Beneficial in Improving Work Productivity in Men:
Research studies have proven that in comparison between those, who jog or walk for 20 minutes and those, who practice yoga asanas for 20 minutes, the yoga practitioners have a better focus, better memory retention, improved work relationship and better energy. This helps them to take better work decisions and be more productive.
Yoga Helps in Improving Digestion:
To calm down the digestive woes, the yoga asanas can work better than antacids provided it is practiced regularly. The yoga asanas that encourage more twists of the abdomen give a massage to the internal organs. This soothes the tummy, encourages a better food digestion, nutritional absorption as well as reduces the troubles of bowel movement.
Stress Relieving Benefits of Yoga in Men:
Those who do yoga asanas regularly, have a lower level of stress and anxiety; many research studies have successfully proven so. The parasympathetic nervous system is activated by yoga and cortisol release is reduced. It is a stress hormone that can increase blood pressure, damage muscle tissue and also cause inflammation.
Regular Practice of Yoga Improves Brain Function in Men:
Although it is a known fact that physical activity is helpful for brain activity, it is also proven that practicing yoga for 20 minutes every day, will boost the brain function more than any other physical activity may. It is possible due to the connection between the body movement and breathing.
Benefits of Yoga for Better Sex life in Men:
Research studies have shown, regular yoga practice increases sexual stamina, prevents and eliminates the psychological and physical issues associated with sex such as premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction in men etc. Libido improvement as well as confidence boost in men is greatly associated with yoga.
Best and Must-do Yoga Asanas for Men:
Standing Forward Fold or Uttanasana
Benefits: As a warm up for the rest of your yoga and asana session, this is a great start. With regular practice, this asana will lower your blood pressure and increase blood circulation as well as lung capacity.
Steps to do Standing Forward Fold or Uttanasana: Also known as Uttanasana, in this asana, you have to stretch your feet hip-width apart. Now, by gently lowering the torso towards the floor, you need to try and reach the floor. The knees must stay straight and not bend at all. Breathing deeply in, you need to grab hold of your ankles and stay for about a minute by letting your head and shoulders loose. Now slowly roll back to the standing posture.
Crescent Lunge Yoga Asana and its Benefits for Men
Benefits: This too is a great asana for your warm up session. It beautifully heals the pain associated with knee strain, injury or back pain.
Steps to do Crescent Lunge Yoga Asana: Start this asana by staying on your knees and put the hands rested on your knees. Bring the right foot between your hands to make a lunge. Make sure that the right knee and the right heel stand straight in line. Put your hand straight up to the ceiling, facing the palms towards each other. Now, pressing on the hands and right foot, stretch the left leg back while inhaling. Hold the breath while you straighten your spine. Drop the hips at this position and hold for a minute. Now repeat the posture with the other leg.
Yoga Benefits of Warrior One or Virabhadrasana for Men
Benefits: The Warrior One asana increases mobility in hips, shoulders and knees of the men. It also builds stability in the knees to withstand even more high-impact workouts and sports.
Steps to do Virabhadrasana: This asana will be quite similar to the Crescent Lunge posture. The only difference would be, as you stretch one of your legs, instead of placing forward, you need to place the toes sideways. The other toe and the hips should be facing forward. It is only the stretched toe that will face sideways. Hold the posture for a minute and repeat with the other leg.
Benefits of Downward Facing Dog Pose or Adho Mukha Svanasana for Men
Benefits: This asana helps to tighten the shoulders and decrease back pain for those men, who suffer from it. It is a very relaxing process that increases the blood circulation and maintains blood pressure normal.
Steps to do Downward Facing Dog Pose or Adho Mukha Svanasana: Start by sitting on a four point position on your hands and knees. Then, stretch your knees and feet hip-width apart. You must also stretch your hands shoulder-width apart. By pressing your hands, you have to lift your hips and knees off the floor. Make sure that the backbone is not bent, rather is in an alignment. You can adjust the position by walking your feet a few inches back or on your hand a few inches forward. Hold the position for about three minutes and then relax. Repeat for a few times.
Yoga for Men – Benefits of Chair Pose or Utkatasana
Benefits: This posture helps to improve flat feet troubles and is an amazing way to burn abdominal fat, providing a flat abs without rushing to the gym.
Steps to do Chair Pose or Utkatasana: In this asana, you have to start with standing. Stretch your hands straight up towards the ceiling and make sure that the palms face each other. Now, drop back your hips by bending the knees in such a position, as if you were sitting on a chair. During the asana, straighten your spine while inhaling and sit a little deeper as you exhale. The thighs must come to a parallel position to the floor. Hold the position for 30 seconds and return to the standing posture.
Bridge Pose or Setu Bandha Sarvangasana Yoga Asana and its Benefits for Men
Benefits: This asana opens up the chest muscles making the breaths easy and full leading to an increased lung capacity which in turn helps men in doing laborious tasks more easily. Prolonged practice helps to recover from respiratory issues.
Steps: For this asana, you have to start with lying on your back and your hands resting on either sides of your body. With your knees bent, your feet must touch flat on the floor. Stretch the feet hip-width apart. The posture should be such that you can touch the heels of your feet with your hands. Now, while inhaling, lift the hips towards the ceiling. The legs should be in such a position that the knees and the heels make a straight line. To give your shoulders an added stretch, slide the hands through under your back to interlock the fingers. Hold the position for 45 seconds and then exhale while lowering your hips.
Half Bow Yoga Pose for Men
Benefits: This pose helps in creating strong muscular abs in men giving a good shape to the physique. It ensures that your muscular growth is balanced. It also helps you to inhale more oxygen.
Steps to do Half Bow Pose: In this asana, you have to lie on your stomach. Now, stretch your left hand backwards and the left foot towards your hips. Hold the ankle of your left foot with your left hand; while stretching the right hand forward and the right foot straight outwards. Hold the posture for about 30 seconds and then repeat with the other hand and leg.
Yoga Benefits of Boat Pose or Navasana for Men
Benefits: Along with strengthening the back muscles, this asana also promotes prostate gland and thyroid gland functions in men.
Steps to do Boat Pose or Navasana: Sit on the floor with your knees bent and the feet touching the floor. Keep your spine straight and lift your legs to form a 45 degree angle. Stretch your arms to either side of the body and the palms facing down while you touch the floor. Hold the posture for 30 seconds or longer.
Benefits of Hero Pose for Men
Benefits: The Hero Pose asana strengthens the knee joints and lubricates the connective tissues present in between. It is especially useful for men who are runners, as fluid, oxygen and blood circulation around the knees is increased.
Steps: For this asana, you have to start with a kneeling position, with the knees touching the floor. Try and sit on your buttocks so that they touch the floor, while your heels are stretched outside. This will create a stretching sensation on your thighs, but it must not cause pain. If you are uncomfortable to sit on your buttocks with the feet stretching out, you need to place something under your buttocks. Now slowly stretch your spine backwards to lie down on the floor. Hold the position for a minute and then return to the starting position.
Yoga Benefits of Reclining Hand to Big Toe or Supta Padangusthasana for Men
Benefits: Tight piriformis muscles leading to sciatica are relieved with this asana. It also improves digestion, stimulates the prostate gland in men and helps in improving its function.
Steps: Start this asana with a posture of lying on the floor. Lift one leg towards the ceiling to form a 90 degree angle. Now slowly bring the lifted leg towards your chest by bending the knee. Hold the feet with your hands to relax the hip and then leave it back to the 90 degree angle. Return to the starting posture and repeat asana with the other leg.
Yoga Benefits of Half Pigeon Pose for Men
Benefits: To help your hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors and adductors become more powerful, the half pigeon asana is very helpful.
Steps to do Half Pigeon Pose: In this posture, you have to start with your legs crossed while you sit and then slowly stretch one of your legs outside and then take it back, while the other one still stays folded. The hand on the opposite side of the leg that you are stretching will help you maintain the balance. Repeat the steps with the other leg.
Butterfly Pose or Baddha Konasana Benefits for Men
Benefits: Baddha Konasana is a great asana that can effectively increase the pelvic blood flow, especially in prostate, kidneys and bladder. It stimulates, improves and cures reproductive system function in men.
Steps: In this asana, you have to sit with a straight spine, folded legs. The feet must face each other and the knees should be bent to make an enclosed space. Hold the feet with your hands and flap the knees as a butterfly flaps its wings.
Pranayamas for Good Health in Men:
Yogas or asanas helps in keeping the body fit. However, one needs to de-stress the mind and body too. Pranayama, which mainly focuses on breathing patterns, be it thoracic breathing or abdominal breathing, work for this purpose wonderfully. It helps in relieving stress and relaxing the each and every cell of the body. Pranayamas or meditation also helps in building attention and concentration. It is best to perform pranayamas after completing the yoga asanas to bring the body in to a calm state and for relaxing.
Benefits of Pranayamas for Men:
Apart from the holistic aspects that are solely associated with the yogic point of view, there are many other benefits of pranayamas, relating to the health and energy levels in the body. These are –
- Releases hypertension, stress and depression
- Reduces heart related problems
- Improves blood circulation
- Improves reproductive organ functionality
- Improves concentration levels
- Builds up self-confidence
- Provide relaxation to body and mind
- Cures neurological problems, headache, asthma, migraine and gastric problems to name a few.
Here are the must do pranayamas for men:
Anulom Vilom or Nadi Shodhana Pranayama for Men
Benefits: This excellent breathing exercise purifies the body, releases stress and builds energy.
Steps: To start, you need to sit on a flat surface or on a chair. With the thumb of your right hand, you need to close your right nostril and inhale with the left. Fold your index finger and the middle finger of your right hand, you need to close the left nostril and exhale with the right nostril. Now repeat the process by inhaling with the right nostril and exhaling with the left. This must be done for 5 to 10 minutes and breathing should be limited to the lungs and not to the stomach.
Bhastrika Pranayama for Men
Benefits: This is associated with bellowing that heals lung and heart problems.
Steps: You need to start with sitting on a flat surface or on a chair. Now, with both of your nostrils, you need to inhale and as your lungs are filled, you need to exhale with a hissing sound. This must be done for 3 to 5 minutes slowly or in fast motion, as per convenience, twice a day.
Kapalbhati Pranayama and its Benefits for Men
Benefits: To cure digestive and stomach disorder or even obesity, this is a great practice. Kapalbhati also helps in losing the abdomen fat and toning the muscles for getting a better abs in men.
Steps: You need to start with sitting with your legs folded and spine straight. Place the left hand with palm facing up on the left knee and the right palm facing up on the right knee. You need to breathe forcefully in so that the breath touches the stomach. Now, with force, you need to exhale. However, after exhaling out, you need to naturally or effortlessly start the inhalation. After every 5 minutes, you need to take rest and continue the procedure for 15 minutes. You can start with fewer forceful exhalations and slowly increase the frequency once you are used to the practice. It is certainly useful that a minimum of 20 minutes of yoga and pranayama session must be managed by every male regularly. It can effectively cater to a number of physical and mental issues that many other exercises cannot.