TOP DOGS ARE DOWNWARD FACING

Think yoga is just for the gals? Think again. Sarah O’Connell, owner of Soul Studio Hot Yoga in Christchurch, explains why this intense full-body workout is becoming increasingly popular with Kiwi blokes. No man-bun required.

Hey Sarah, congrats on the opening of Soul Studio in Christchurch! You’ve been practicing and teaching yoga for more than a decade – are you seeing more men in your classes nowadays?

Absolutely. Most guys we see at Soul Studio have had years of fitness and physical movement that focus on exertion. Most of them have spent their 20s, 30s and 40s pushing their bodies and their minds – often resulting in injuries, burn out, and compromised mobility. Thankfully, what I’ve seen over the past ten years since I began teaching yoga, is an increase in the way men are starting to accept and practise movement modalities – like yoga – that balance the force of activities such as running and weightlifting and cross training.

In addition, Kiwi men are slowly starting to accept the fact that stress, anxiety and burnout aren’t just issues facing women, and that simple breathing and calming practises in yoga can be game-changes for men in terms of mental health. We still have some way to go, but attitudes are definitely changing.

Tell us more about that shift in attitude. What’s the perception versus the reality?

The fact is, yoga is becoming increasingly mainstream in 2021. It’s really not the tree-huggie, tie-dyed, kumbaya practice that some people associate it with. Its hip and its healthy, and it’s here to stay. We see men from all different walks of life coming along, giving it a go, and then making it part of their regular fitness and wellness practice – from doctors and drainlayers to designers and diesel mechanics.

What are the main benefits of yoga for men?

Fitness. Stress relief. And better sex.As well as yoga being a great cross training option for men there are bucket loads of benefits you’ll notice outside of the gym.

I see the stress men are under. And I am crossing my fingers that young men in years to come can step up and use the stress with a little yoga. So often stress is related to sleep which had become our 21st century our global health epidemic. Around 60% of us don’t get enough, and that lack of sleep has a negative impact every organ, and every bodily and brain function. No doubt, hands down, you will sleep better if you practise the appropriate yoga postures.

Sleep’s great and all, but let’s get to that thing about better sex. And we talking flexibility, or…?

It’s no secret – men have been applying yoga for male libido enhancement for thousands of years. If you want to be better in bed, you’d better get yourself to a yoga class!

Research shows that the men who take up yoga for sexual health generally experience relief from problems related to sexual dysfunction, like erectile dysfunction, ejaculation disorders, and inhibited sexual desire. There are actual postures men can practise on a regular basis. Sex is one of the most important parts of a person’s life, but sexual dysfunction can prevent you

and your partner from getting sexual satisfaction. It’s a common health problem that affects men of all ages, but it’s more common with increasing age.

Mobility – tick. Posture – tick. Workplace performance… they all get ticks with a regular yoga practice.

What would your advice be to men who are thinking about going to their first yoga class?

There’s are rational reasons why yoga was originally created BY men FOR men. Because dudes back then knew they needed it, and had a sense of living their best lives with yoga being key. Let’s hope our Kiwi men can ponder that, and then practice.

Learn more about hot yoga at www.soulstudio.co.nz

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