Yoga for Men
Every time I step into a yoga class my mind and body are flooded with images and feelings of my first day of school.
Although I am a fitness enthusiast and participate in many physical activities, both inside and outside the gym, on courts and fields and in arenas and pools, I still get that jittery, uncertain feeling. I am not sure what to do or how to correctly perform the poses. I am even confused as to the names and positions of the poses.
All that said I continually hear how great yoga is for the mind and the body. With various types of yoga, one can center the mind, de-stress, strengthen the body's core, gain flexibility, learn to breath and relax more efficiently, gain strength, stamina and improve endurance. No wonder so many people enjoy the ancient practice.
Over the past 15 plus years, I have tried quite a few yoga modalities. I tend to stick with one I enjoy for anywhere from a day to a few weeks or months. The five well known types are Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Bikram (heated), Iyengar and Hatha. There are others I cannot pronounce let alone spell. Since I spend more time in the gym or playing sports, yoga tends to fall out of my routine. Yet I always tend to come back to yoga for the change, experience and opportunity to stretch my limits.
I recently came across Gaiam, a yoga inspired company with teaching dvds, clothing and equipment. I wanted to improve my technique, get a feel for some practices, names and techniques before entering a class, and the products did just that.
A great beginner DVD was "Core Centered Yoga" by Rodney Yee. It focuses on how finding one's "core center" is the key to getting fit and finding balance in the body, mind and life. It features five practices including "Lower Balance," "Back Balance," "Bending Balance" and "Restorative Balance.
A more advanced and interesting DVD for those who still want to feel they are getting a workout through yoga is Power Up Yoga, also by Yee. It offers a total-fitness-based approach to yoga, emphasizing strength and flexibility, increasing one's overall fitness level, allowing people to perform their everyday activities with ease.
Beyond the DVDs, it is reassuring to have the equipment and clothing to help one feel more prepared and knowledgeable. Gaiam offers six different yoga kits that feature combinations of products to fit whatever practice works best with one's level and style. There are basic kits for beginners, an on-the-go kit perfect for travelers, and one that's perfect for at-home practice. Gaiam also offers seven men-specific workout attire and accessories.
As yoga has become a growing trend among men, isn't time you added it to your exercise regimen?
This story is part of our special report titled "Living Well with HIV." Want to read more? Here's the full list.