Yoga for Guys: Top 3 Reasons "A Little Stretching" Is Everything We Need

For too long, women have tried to keep us guys out of their yoga classes. They've told us it's nothing but a little stretching. It will force us to talk about our feelings. And without warning, we'll be connecting with our inner earth mother goddesses.

Well, no more. The cat is out of the bag! he truth about yoga is spreading fast: done right, it makes us healthier, happier, and more capable in our lives. It's not just a secret-handshake club for a chosen few, and it's definitely not just for women!

Of course, this isn't exactly the real story. The truth is, women have for a long while been tugging and pulling many of us just to give yoga a chance. So why have guys been so resistant? Certainly yoga rooms around the world are seeing more men hit the mats now. But compared to things like running and going to the gym, the yoga population is still tiny, in spite of the huge returns. Maybe a few facts can help.

Yoga has been my training for triathlons, martial arts, ski-touring, snowboarding, and mountaineering. I've done very limited cardio work outside of yoga, and I've never walked into a gym. Except to have a look around at why so many people still walk into gyms! On top of my own experience, I've been reading for a few years now the mountains of mail sent to my wife, Tara Stiles. She's the owner of New York yoga studio Strala, best-selling author, and Vanity Fair's "coolest yoga instructor ever" (among many other things!). Her latest book Yoga Cures just launched at the Apple store in New York and is already a hit. We get hundreds of stories each week from people all around the world, curing themselves of all kinds of insurmountable health difficulties and creating their own best lives with yoga. So for any remaining fence-sitters, here are the top 3 reasons for getting into yoga, right now:

1) Yoga will make you stronger. Yes, this is the easy one. What guy doesn't want to have formidable strength in every situation? Unlike repetitive, isolated training of large muscle groups, yoga works every little muscle in your entire body all at once. You learn how to call on your whole body to accomplish whatever is needed. Great feats of strength are achieved with minimal effort.

2) Yoga will make you faster. More than a few times my coaches have told me - "What you can't do slowly, you can't do." Yoga gets you slowly connecting with and controlling your body through every inch of possible movement. This level of conscious control gives you the ability to move far more efficiently. You get fast.

3) Yoga will make you more capable in your body. Imagine being able to do anything you can imagine, just because you imagine it. Yoga does this in two ways. First, it helps you get easy in your body - letting go the tension that holds you back at every step and every breath (this also increases speed and endurance). Second, yoga connects you with you. You get to practice in every imaginable way (and often unimaginable ways) how to work with your body in every direction. We learn how to move easily over and around obstacles, rather than struggling to bash directly through them.

Good enough reasons? We're barely scratching the surface. To get started, check out the "Yoga for Beginners Pose Library" here at MindBodyGreen. Soon enough, you'll be scampering up unscalable towers of rock and tearing past your competition on race day. When asked how you train, you'll mention that you just do a little everyday stretching. Best of all, you'll be creating the greatest health and feeling-good of your life. Jump in!

Michael Taylor

Co-Founder Of Strala Yoga & Tai Chi Expert
Mike Taylor is the co-founder of Strala along with his wife, Tara Stiles. He studied mind-body medicine at Harvard and complementary medicine at Oxford. Mike has practiced Eastern movement and healing, including tai chi and qigong, for more than 30 years. In his younger years, Mike challenged centuries of reasonable and well-tested martial traditions in hundreds of competitions by applying unruly imagination to a world where rules were unbreakable. His record established the strength of finding your own way in your own body rather than copying the techniques of other people’s traditions. As he got older, Mike continued on to medical applications of the mind-body connection in university. After running into walls with standard medical practice in the United States and England, he left his health care roots for a little while. As the first internet boom was getting started, he joined the startup team of one company, then founded a couple more. Now through Strala, Mike has found his way back to health care done right: helping people let go of stress in their bodies and minds, enable their lives, and become their own best caregivers.Mike has climbed some of the world’s largest mountains in Alaska, the Alps, and the Himalayas. He’s now a cyclist and runner and spends as much free time as possible exploring the backcountry on foot, skis, and snowboard. He lives in New York with his wife, Tara, and baby, Daisy.
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Michael Taylor

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