Yoga and being over forty

Seven Reasons Why Every Man Should Take up Yoga” – it’s the title of an article I read today. It could have been an average puff piece with little substance, but it turned out to be a worthwhile read. And I am certain that every reason is as much applicable to women as it is to men.

What really caught my attention though was that the article was written by a former cricketer Andrew May – and it focused on how yoga is especially beneficial to older men.

2016-09-08-14-29-42Everything that he said I have either experienced or could could relate to – specifically as a man who is now 44 years old. I’m not twenty-something (this is a good thing really) and I don’t have a young man’s body. Like Andrew May and his professional sporting colleges I have a legacy of injuries, large and small, I don’t heal as rapidly as I used to, I am not as flexible as I once was, my skin isn’t as elastic as it used to be, and I now tend to gain body fat more easily around my middle. All typical aspects of aging for men.

But that doesn’t in any way mean that I dislike my body, or feel bad about it, or don’t feel attractive. On the contrary, I love my body. And being older has actually brought some improvements. When I was in my twenties, I was always very lightly built. I’m no heavy weight now, but I have “filled out” you could say. My upper body is larger and stronger and I build muscle much more easily and quickly than I ever did in my twenties.

Anyway, for many people – male or female – aging is a huge challenge for our perception of self. We are no longer the person we feel we should be. Our body is busy betraying us, and of course work and family life make it all so, so much harder.

Andrew May’s response is that yoga is the answer – and I honestly can’t disagree.

I personally prefer pilates to yoga, but they share enough basic principals (like flexibility, core strength and stability, and control) that I personally feel they are interchangeable. 10 years ago, pilates gave me a solution to a lifetime of back trouble that started when I was 15 years old.

Andrew May observed that doing yoga bought him “better mates”, better mood, and better sexual function (amongst other things). Unexpected benefits perhaps, but I would say that it shouldn’t be a surprise really. Undertaking a discipline like yoga is completely at odds with the permanently busy, consumerist lifestyle that so most of us are ruled by. Taking time out to stretch, to breath, to extend our bodies and our awareness of ourselves forces you to stop, to disconnect from the rest of the world and to just be, for a time at least.

It is no wonder I think that in doing so we can find broader benefits than being more flexible – and of course there is nothing here that says women can’t benefit just as much as us men!

John.

6 thoughts on “Yoga and being over forty

  1. Hey John
    for some one who has been doing yoga for four years now I cant agree more, its not only great for body but also the mind. I have found that yoga has not only been good for my body but also my mind. I made comment to my yoga teacher coming to class help not only strengthen my body but it would slow down my mind.
    I found that yoga help me in my job, I too have meet lovely people, and like yourself I found myself far more flexible much more than when I was a child.
    I can also tell you yoga was meant for men but the Yuri (can’t remember his last name) changed that and introduced it to women and also western culture. My first class with my yoga teacher there was man who would come in off season off Rugby to help stretch, strengthen and relax his muscle. We have had many men come through, but what makes the class even better at the end of class after relaxation the chanting sound so good with the deep baritones of a man.
    I also know that few male work colleges that also do yoga and have spoken of the health benefits. One last thing Micheal Franti (from Spearhead) has be doing yoga for many years, and he has mastered many advance poses that I can only dream about even after four years.

    Namaste
    S ;)

    • The one thing I forget to mention and I didn’t notice in the article or blog is how to breathe . Yes I know we all how to breathe but learning how to breathe properly while moving through each poses is so differently to every day breathing even different to the type of breathing we do during regular exercise. We are taught to breath deeper longer down in to our lungs and through our bodies.
      Personally I have found using this breathing method so much better it has made a difference during intercourse, allowing me to have longer and lingering organism something we all like to obtain. Using yoga breathing method can obtain creating a great out come for both men and women.

      Namaste S:)

      • As you say, breathing is something that we all do – of course – but often don’t do well. In my years of sport I found that many people were held back more by their breathing than their fitness. It is absolutely central to everything that we do.

        Regarding breathing and orgasm, you are absolutely right! Learning how to breath better is one of the key techniques for women who have trouble reaching orgasm to get themselves there. Often our typical breathing patterns are counter productive, which makes no sense I know, but there you are.

    • You make a good point about wider benefits of yoga – like calming your mind. We live in a world that is seriously too busy and while being strong and flexible is great, being calm and collected is also good for us, most definitely.

  2. I think as we all get older I agree both men and women our bodies start to develop ailments and we all need something to help maintain our lifestyles and wellbeing.
    Even if it is not yoga or pilates, swimming helps our bodies and with breathing. I also find walking can help.
    As for your body with your ailments, its pretty good John.

    • There is no doubt that any exercise is beneficial. Due to my back, walking isn’t as easy for me as it once was, but swimming is a good substitute!

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