Men can benefit from yoga, too

By Jodi Mohrmann - Managing Editor of special projects
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When men think about exercise, rarely is there ever a yoga mat involved.
But more and more men are turning to yoga. Judi Bar, a yoga teacher at Cleveland Clinic's Wellness Institute, says there are a couple of reasons she's seeing more men in her classes.

"So, on that first level we get a big range of motion, which gives more fluidity to the body and then there's that mental, emotional, and the stress-management piece that's really so huge, too," she explained.

Men can use the poses they learn to stretch their stiff, bulky muscles. But many still don't understand how yoga can help them. Bar says one of the typical complaints from men who've never tried yoga is that it is not going to be challenging enough.

"'Oh, it's not going to help me get cut,' or 'It's not hard enough,' but put your body in a different position that you haven't been in for a while and using different muscle groups- it becomes hard," Bar explained.

The flexibility men gain from yoga not only helps to make every day activities a little easier, but yoga may also help promote joint health.  Throw in the stress-management techniques they'll learn and yoga can provide a total body benefit.

"In yoga we do a relaxation at the end and in that relaxation, sometimes we're so tired that we really do slow down to come into that 'rest and digest' or the parasympathetic nervous system to help us calm," added Bar.

Bar says more and more men's sports teams, even professional teams, are bringing in yoga instructors to work with players on their flexibility, balance, strength, and focus.

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