The benefits of yoga vary depending on the precise type of yoga practiced. At one extreme it can be an almost entirely spiritual affair and a way of life. At the other, it can be a purely physical form of exercise.
In its purest form, yoga is as much a philosophy as a physical activity. It can cover beliefs such as avoiding violence or coveting possessions. It can also include activities such as meditation and contemplation.
Many people, particularly in the West, are more likely to experience the health benefits of yoga in the form of exercise. This type of yoga has many names but comes under the overall title of Asana. This term refers to the numerous positions which yoga practitioners move themselves into as part of a routine.
The medical benefits of yoga can be somewhat disputed depending on your interpretation of medicine. For example, some yoga enthusiasts believe it can help a form of life energy known as prana to flow better. But even those who stick to the mainstream scientific attitude to the body recognize that yoga has physical benefits. These include improving blood supply to all parts of the body, increasing flexibility by stretching muscles, and relieving some of the pressure on bones caused by poor posture and lengthy periods of sitting at a desk.
More and more men these days are enjoying the benefits of yoga. Celebrity yoga enthusiasts include Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George, NBA All-Star MVP Kevin Garnett and NHL All-Star Sean Burke. Former professional wrestler Dallas Page even designed his own form of the exercise which he markets as “Yoga for Regular Guys.”
The concept of yoga is around 6000 years old, but it wasn’t until comparatively recently that it became popular in a purely exercise-based form. Most systems aimed at men are variations of Ashtanga, or as it’s often marketed, power yoga. These techniques combine the breathing and stretching of traditional yoga with strength-building calisthenic routines. There are also several sexual benefits of yoga, including the way improved blood flow can increase sexual arousal.