Six years ago, I was living it up in my senior year of high school. I started going to parties, just to get a sense of how awesome college was going to be. I was hanging out with my friends and enjoying being the big-man-on-campus at the ripe age of 18.
The only things that were on my mind at the time were where the next party was going to be, where I was going to eat with my buddies at 2 a.m., and how I was going to get (insert sexy girls' name here)’s phone number that evening. Yep, a pretty typical bro, I’m not gonna lie.
Looking back now, if there’s one thing I could have done differently during that crazy, hormone-driven, completely stereotypical high-school-dude stage of my life — I would have gotten my ass to a yoga class.
You see, I wasn’t always the most athletic kid in high school. I was the kid who was always picked last for sports, made fun of, or left out — I was the stereotypical fat kid. Things got better in college when I started running and exercising, but I still felt like I needed something more.
I had heard of yoga, but had always assumed it was just for girls. My cousin is an instructor in L.A., and after her numerous challenges of trying to get me to try yoga, I finally made my way to a studio and fell in love at first asana.
Here are 7 guy-approved reasons why I’ve continued with my practice, that will hopefully motivate you to put down that playstation controller and give yoga a try:
1. You’ll start to feel better.
Yoga is one of the few forms of exercise that can offer you (and your body!) so much, for so little of your time. You’ll gain flexibility, strength, endurance and balance — all in one class! You will reap these benefits by practicing yoga just a few times a week. The more time you put in, the more you'll only continue to get out of it.
2. You’ll start to eat better.
The last thing you’re gonna feel like doing after a yoga class is heading over to McDonalds, Chick-fil-A, or whatever your mid-week vice may be. Yoga leaves you feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and replenished. It’s going to leave you craving things that will fuel you, fill you up, and help your body recover. Stuffing down that double-stack burger after a rigorous vinyasa flow, would be like filling a Porsche 911 Turbo with regular gas instead of premium. Don’t be that guy.
3. You’ll start to think more clearly.
Yoga is movement with breath. It’s training your mind to listen and your body to flow, in tune with your inhales and exhalations. As you do this, your mind begins to ignore that to-do list, that grocery list, that pumpkin spice latte you probably shouldn’t have downed before class — everything. Yoga helps you think in The Now, and declutter the thoughts that no longer serve you. Who knows, maybe yoga might just help you work up the courage to ask out (insert sexy girls' name here) this weekend!
4. You’ll start to breathe a lot deeper.
Ever notice when maybe you're about to get handed back the exam that you KNOW you didn’t study for, and you start to breathe heavily? Or you've got heart palpitations when you realize that you probably shouldn’t have been doing 80 m.p.h. in a 65 zone on the way to that Daft Punk concert, and now you're about to get a ticket.
In stressful situations, the most common reaction for people is to start breathing heavily with anxiety. Yoga makes you more aware of your body, mind and breath, and teaches you how to control it. Doesn't it sound way better to approach conflict cool-headed and even-keeled? So when life comes a-flyin' at you, you've learned to take deep, slow breaths before you react.
5. You’ll start to look better.
Where do I begin? Adam Levine. Russell Brand. John Bon Jovi. Robert Downy Jr. — all are dudes that girls can only dream about. And guess what? They ALL have a regular yoga practice. Don't you want to be that dude? I think I'm done here.
6. You’ll start to be more productive.
No, yoga is NOT the type of workout that’s going to leave you completely exhausted, lethargic, and depressed, because you didn’t meet your scheduled reps for that day.
But yes, yoga WILL leave you feeling energetic, calm, cool, collected, and ready to get on with your day, and conquer all that you have scheduled.
Pro Tip: Start your morning off right with a yoga practice, to feel great the rest of the day as you conquer that to-do list.
7. OK, yes, you’ll meet girls. Seriously.
I saved this one for last because it really isn’t the main focus of having a yoga practice, it just happens to be one of the many, many great perks.