When you hear the word “yoga”, what pops into your head? Insane flexibility, contortionist poses and Dhalsim from Street Fighter? Men – we hear you, but there’s no more to yoga than just the obvious. Even if you identify as a total gym bro and wouldn’t be caught dead toting a yoga wheel, adding yoga to your regimen can amp up your performance in the weight room.

If your focus is centred on lifting weights, it makes sense to train for strength and power. After all, those are what will get you the results you’re after: bigger muscles and a leaner physique. However, adding yoga to your flow (see what we did there?) might help you to shore up on weaknesses you never knew existed.

Why men should consider doing yoga
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Weight training – if done right- is hard on the body. Performing a litany of squats and presses will stress your muscles and if you’re not careful, you may end up incurring overuse injuries. Yoga has long been revered for its ability to relieve both physical and mental stress. If crushing an intense workout tends to leave you feeling burnt out the day, you could consider slotting in a low-intensity yoga class in between your workout days.

Low on time?
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You don’t HAVE to sign up for a class to do yoga (especially if you’re afraid of accidentally cutting the cheese mid-pose). Thanks to the Internet and YouTube, one can study the practice proficiently enough from the confines of home. There are plenty of qualified teachers who put up introductory and regular routines online for free. Of course, there’s always the option of online coaching for those who feel that they might benefit from some personal instruction. All you need is a good mat, sweat-wicking clothes and a decent enough WiFi connection and you’re good to go!

What about music?
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You may be tempted to put on your usual jam when you’re practicing yoga. It’s not so much a question of right or wrong as opposed to which one gets you “there” quicker. By “there”, we mean the meditative state that yoga practitioners encounter when they slip into their zone. Yoga also encourages you to focus on your breathing and being mindful of the state and position of your body. If you have the right tunes for that, then go ahead and put them on!

Don’t let the press fool you – it’s not just lithe women who get into yoga! Even the most famous of bodybuilders – Arnold Schwarzenegger – took classes in something as unconventional as dancing to help him at his sport. Often at times, it’s the things that you’re NOT doing that’s holding you back.

This article was first published on Lifestyle Asia.

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