Why men should do yoga
The graceful and nimble movements of yoga postures may be partially to blame for the ‘women only’ label that yoga sometimes attracts. However, real men know better! The strength of the warrior, the wisdom of the ancient sage, the sharp-minded focus of the hunter, the firm, grounded stability of the oak tree; this is what yoga is made of.
It’s not surprising to find many yang-dominant yoga postures, intentions and visualisations in a 5000-year old practice that was developed by male sages and yogis. What is surprising is the imbalanced ratio of female to male practitioners today in Western societies.
Dru Yoga, one of the UK’s most popular schools for teacher training, has been the subject of many scientific studies that are pertinent to men; stress, back pain and illness in the workplace among them. Co-founded by Mansukh Patel, a doctor of cancer toxicology, Dru Yoga is a proven remedy for many medical and physical conditions that are often unknowingly stress-induced.
One participant of a recent Dru Yoga study within the workplace, reported: “At the end of the first session I went back to the office with a much clearer head and renewed vigour – I could think more clearly, make better decisions and work more efficiently.”
Jon, a Marine Biologist from Sweden with a high pressure workplace knows when to tap into his Dru Yoga routine: “…a three minute breathing exercise has more than once helped me to save an uncomfortable discussion from developing into an undesirable outcome, and a 15 minute session (in the morning) can transform my working day.”
While Dru Yoga emphasises flowing movements, directed breathing and visualisation, it is unique in that all movements originate from the spine because a flexible, healthy spine is paramount. The spinal wave and spinal twist are key features of Dru Yoga, as is a deep understanding of core stability. This makes it very suitable to men of all physical abilities. Many who begin Dru Yoga have very little strength and flexibility but with a regular practice they notice dramatic improvement, also in their general well-being.
Co-founder Mansukh Patel, born in Africa of Indian parents and now living in North Wales is the inspiration behind Dru Yoga techniques. His studies in camcer toxicity and osteopathy led him to pioneer unique approaches to health and wellbeing.
Dru Yoga is one of the few physical activities that suits men of all ages. It counters the compacting effect that other popular sports have on the body and joints; running, soccer and weight training for example. Some sports, golf and tennis for instance, turn the spine in only one direction. Dru Yoga promotes symmetry and balance while focusing on the spine, which in turn improves the performance in these other sports and goes a long way to preventing injuries.
To incorporate 15 minutes of yoga into the day as a compliment to other activities will reduce tightness in the shoulders, hips and groin and strengthen muscles in otherwise forgotten places like the lower back and knees. Yoga also has the potential to prevent and manage heart disease and is a known antidote to depression, which many men suffer without diagnosis.
Mansukh based his Dru Yoga form in the roots of hatha yoga and combines classical yoga postures (asanas), pranayama (the science of breath), mudras (hand gestures), positive affirmations and empowering visualisations as the recipe to achieving your goals.
Among those who have enjoyed the benefits are not-so-active male factory workers (OK, so they had the giggles during their first session but now look forward to their regular class) and elite sportsmen, including rugby and football players who include Dru yoga in their professional training routine.
Mansukh, now an author and motivational speaker, demonstrates Dru Yoga on various DVDs and in books on the practice. He lives by his word and daily Dru Yoga in his routine gives him the energy, vibrancy and focus to succeed.