By Dean Pohlman
Today I have a terrific guest post by Dean Pohlman of Man Flow Yoga. Man Flow Yoga is the largest brand of yoga for men on the net -- and for good reason. Dean's approach is unique in that he focuses more on the strengthening and muscle-building properties of yoga and less on the Namaste.
Personally, I practice yoga about once a week. I love what it does for both my muscles and my state of mind, and I think you'll love what Dean has to say about the importance of yoga in a well-rounded training program.
Let’s say you have five days a week to work out, and your main goal is to develop muscle mass. I would bet my right nut that most people would say that you should use all five of those days to lift weights. Luckily for me, I get to keep my right nut.
Lifting weights isn’t the only thing that goes into developing muscle. Muscle growth doesn’t actually occur while you’re working out; it happens during the recovery process. The workout itself actually destroys your muscle tissue. That means that if you aren’t giving yourself the proper amount of recovery time that your body needs, then you are actually doing your body more harm than good.
So slow down on the weights, and change up your workout. Your
body gets stronger when it’s exposed to different movements and
new exercises. Incorporating yoga into your routine will not only help your
body feel better, but it will also help you get better at weight training. It’s
the yin to yang. It’s the aspect of your fitness that’s
There are many different types of yoga, but something that all of them have in common is the flexibility training component that almost every other form of fitness lacks. For many years, most people thought that flexibility was unimportant. It was the Joe Dirt that got left behind at the Grand Canyon. Now, people are beginning to understand that flexibility does a number of amazing things for your body, including:
- expanded range of motion, which means more power, torque, and speed in every aspect of your fitness, and especially applicable to athletes
- reduced risk of injury, by making your muscles more elastic and able to stretch to further lengths to accommodate unfamiliar bodily situations and react to unexpected situations
- ability to do a proper squat, without letting your heels come off the ground or your butt to remain embarrassingly high off the ground because you lack hip flexibility
- ability to use your back and shoulder muscles in a military press, instead of doing a modified bench press because your shoulder muscles are so tight.
There’s more to yoga than flexibility, though. Yoga also teaches you to slow down and pay attention to every part of your body. It reveals imbalances that you have, teaches you about proper pelvic alignment (whether you tend to have an anterior or posterior pelvic tilt), proper core engagement, and proper shoulder alignment. It slows down movements so that you can then apply your mindful movements to real time in weight lifting or other disciplines of physical fitness.
If you’re not interested in the workout because you don’t think it’s hard enough, try out some different forms of yoga. They don’t all have gongs and bells and shit. A gentle vinyasa (flow) yoga class will allow your muscles to lengthen, relax, and recover. On the other hand, a Bikram (hot) yoga class will make you want to pass out and die as you lose all moisture in your body over the course of 90 minutes in a 105-degree room.
Try out as many free trials at local studios as you can, and then figure out which type of yoga works for you. This will mostly depend on the instructor. Some focus on the physical, some on the spiritual/meditative, and most on a combination of both. I encourage you to be open to both forms. Even though it’s not my thing (I focus solely on the physical aspects of yoga), you might surprise yourself and end up loving the spiritual and meditative side.
If you’re afraid of being embarrassed while attending your first yoga class, don’t be. Almost every class has a new guy in it. Yoga is getting more and more popular, and more and more mainstream, so there are tons of yoga noobies stepping into yoga studios.
|Just don't wear yoga pants to class, men.|
If you’d rather learn some of the basics of yoga on your own before jumping into a studio with a group class, I invite you to use the free resources that I have available on my YouTube channel () and website (). You can also check out my #1 best-selling e-book, available in PDF version on my website, for a solid introduction to the physical basics of yoga. If you don’t like my style, check out some other yoga peeps on the internet. We tend to give a lot of free stuff away.
I’m not saying all this because I want you to spend a ton of money on yoga shorts, mats, and lavender-scented candles. I’m recommending this because it will help you do what you want to physically at a higher level for as long as you possibly can.
Have fun in downward dog.
About the Author
Dean Pohlman is the founder and CEO of Man Flow Yoga, the most popular brand of yoga for men on social media, and the author of Yoga Basics for Men, a #1 best-seller in 4 categories on Amazon. Dean's mission is to help spread the physical benefits of yoga to as many people as possible by concentrating on the physical fitness aspects of yoga and breaking down the stereotypes that surround yoga. Man Flow Yoga is currently hosting a 30-Day Challenge that you can join for free by signing up for the Man Flow Newsletter on www.manflowyoga.com. For more info on Man Flow Yoga or to stay current on new workouts, videos, products, blogs, and more, like Man Flow Yoga on Facebook at www.facebook.com/manflowyoga, follow on Twitter and Instagram (@ManFlowYoga), or simply visit www.manflowyoga.com.