Regularly practice yoga, and most were attracted to yoga for many of the same reasons:
Roger Eischens Sports Kinesiology, Yoga P.O. Box 4035, Ryan Rd.
Blue Mounds, WI 53715 (608) 767-3931 www. uwmf. org/living/library/sports/yoga.htm
Looking for information on athletics and yoga? Try contacting Roger Eischens, a yoga instructor and kinesiologist in Blue Mounds, Wisconsin. Roger, an athlete and former football coach, studied lyengar in India.
¢ Because someone suggested it, or a friend does it and swears by it
¢ To reduce stress
¢ For weight loss
¢ To enhance sports performance
¢ Out of sheer curiosity
¢ To search out something more life enriching
¢ To augment spirituality for each side of my body. If I skip a few days, my back acts up, so I’m pretty disciplined.
¢ Yoga is not too hard. Yoga is like anything else that you begin: the more you do it, the easier it becomes. What can be difficult for men is getting beyond the idea of competition. Yoga is not competitive or about winning. You don’t check your pulse, heart rate, or length of practice. Yoga does, however, emphasize precision when doing the poses.
¢ YOga is cerebral as well as physical. Yoga encourages self-acceptance. No matter what type of yoga you practice, it will encourage integration of the body, the mind, and the soul. There are many different types of yoga. You may find hatha incompatible with your personality, and you might fare better in a raja yoga or bhakti yoga class.
¢ YOga relates to everyone’s life. Even if your first experience with yoga was less than satisfying, the point of yoga is about your life. Some men don’t relate to the style of some women instructors or a particular yoga philosophy of the teacher. If this has been the major roadblock to yoga for you, seek out a class taught by a man, or take a weekend yoga retreat for men only. Even among male teachers techniques differ.
¢ Yoga does not have to be about gurus. Yoga is sometimes used by devotees as a spiritual practice. Many practices are teacher-guru based. That doesn’t mean you have to follow a guru or practice a particular type of yoga. There are many generic yoga classes that are not guru based. Classes taught at the YMCA, health clubs, or gyms are typically not attached to a specific yoga lineage.
“When I began yoga thirty years ago, it did not occur to me that it would be a constant thread throughout my life and work. As an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley, I had experimented with different type of yoga and meditation groups. While I was in medical school at Baylor, in Texas, I read Autobiography of a Yogi. I went to classes and practiced kriya yoga when time permitted. During that hectic period of my training, and currently, my yoga practice affords my mind a quiet dwelling, a sense of ultimate relaxation,” says James F. Zucherman, M.D., medical director of St. Mary’s Spine Center, San Francisco of yoga often overlooked, yet clearly a part of professional athletic training, is concentration and the value of focusing the mind.
Men, like women, incorporate yoga into their lifestyles for a variety of reasons, such as a general sense of well-being, calmness, and increased strength and endurance. Emotionally, men find yoga to be a marvelous conduit for bridging blocked or dormant emotions. With more medical institutions delving into how the emotions interact with the body and mind, men who have stoically borne the burden of stress and heart disease are some of the first to understand the benefits of yoga.
If your doctor suggests that you practice yoga or meditation, if you are under tremendous stress, or you have back pain or concerns about your health, turn the page.
Men approach yoga for different reasons. It may be at the suggestion of a doctor or spouse, or because they are interested in physical flexibility. Some men find that yoga enriches their inner lives, and for some it guides them through life transitions. If your first experience with yoga was not a positive one, try another class or another style of yoga. Men sometimes resonate with some of the more physical styles of yoga.
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