The Connection Of The Body And The Mind — Men’s Health Yoga

Based on my previous blog, we had an introduction to yoga and tackled the four super powers of yoga. On today’s blog, we’ll be talking about the multiple benefits of men’s health yoga and how it affects your physical and mental state.

The Awesomeness

We already mentioned how the combined synergistic effects of the 4 Super Powers of Yoga can radically alter your health for the better by reducing tension and stress but there are other superpowers you should know about. Make sure you don’t just read these but instead, imagine them in your life. By doing this you’ll have a much better chance at committing to a regular practice. 

Counteracts Flexion Dominance, Low Self-Esteem & Low Energy

Flexion is the position you find yourself in throughout the day when you’re driving, texting, cooking, watching TV or hunched over a keyboard.  

As you can imagine, leaning forward for long periods of time eventually takes a toll on your joints and muscles but you may be surprised to learn that it can lead to depression, low self-esteem and low energy. If you’re at all doubtful about how important good posture is perhaps the following studies will convince you otherwise.  

Turns out, over 55 published studies prove poor posture has negative consequences and open expansive posture created from a regular yoga practice leads to multiple benefits. Below are five of my favorites; as you read through them, notice which ones relate to your personal circumstances.  

  • Self-Esteem Study – Researchers stated in a 2015 stud published by Health Psychology: “Slouchers reported significantly lower self-esteem, mood, and greater fear.”
  • Confidence Study – A 2012 study by scientists Pablo Binol, Richard Petty, and Benjamin Wagner on how body posture might affect “self-evaluation” showed that people who stood in a power pose (they called it “confident posture,” with chest pushed out and erect spine) were much more prone to rate themselves more confidently than people in a “doubtful posture,” slumped and self-contained.
  • Low Energy & Body Pain Study – Published in Biofeedback in 2017 by Dr. Erik Peper, this study found that “Sitting up straight” led to “positive thoughts and memories” while a sad, slumped walk “decreased energy levels.” The study also found that poor posture could lead to fatigue, headaches, poor concentration, increased muscle tension and over time injury to your vertebrae.
  • Power Study – When scientists tried to poke holes in Harvard University professor Amy Cuddy’s study from 2012 proving good posture makes you more powerful she created a follow-up study published by Sage Journals Psychological Science in 2017. This study examined over 55 additional studies and clearly demonstrates: “A link between expansive, open postures and feelings of power.”  
  • Depression Study – A study published by the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry in 2017 found that: “Adopting an upright posture may increase positive affects, reduce fatigue, and decrease self-focus in people with mild-to-moderate depression”

Fortunately, one of the main highlights of yoga and the Fired Up program is its many postures, which counteract this flexion dominance and boost your mood, energy and confidence.  

Lowers Cortisol and Stress

Further study conducted by Russian scientists in 2001 examined the effects of the Cobra pose on the hormone levels of healthy subjects. In the experiment, researchers drew blood from a group of seven volunteers both before and after they did the Cobra pose. In their report, they determined that cortisol levels dropped in the volunteers by an average of 11% after holding the pose for just 2-3 minutes.

Increases Testosterone

Perhaps even more interesting was the fact that researchers in the same study found the subjects testosterone levels increased by an average of 16%, with one male subject experiencing a 33% increase and the lone female in the study experiencing a whopping 55% increase. This is obviously significant as increasing testosterone helps increase libido and lowering cortisol reduces your stress levels. But it gets even better.

Reduces Fear & Regulates Emotions

Several studies show that yoga effects and changes parts of your brain, which most other forms of exercise, simply do not. 

For example, one study reviewed over two decades of research and found that yoga postures (asana) and breathwork (pranayama) reduced amygdala volume on the right hand side of the brain, which is associated with negative emotions and fear.  

Another study from Stanford University showed similar results of a reduction in  fear through concentration and self-reflection (Dharana and Pratyahara) by being more mindful of emotions instead of simply burying them or running from them.

Essentially, by engaging in a mindful yoga practice like the ones in the Fired Up program you’ll activate all four superpowers of yoga and reduce fear, which holds you back from success and really experiencing life at the peak.  

Increases Confidence

To further bolster the fear reduction claim, it’s worth mentioning important research from Harvard University, The University of Oregon and The University of Texas which concluded that powerful and effective leaders (men and women) not only share similar mindsets, but also similar hormone levels.  

More specifically, researchers discovered that: “Powerful leaders tend to have higher levels of testosterone, which leads to more confidence, and lower levels of cortisol, which leads to better coping skills for high stress situations.” And since we know all three elements of Fired Up boost testosterone you can count on a healthy dose of confidence flowing through your veins after your daily practice.

Once you develop a regular yoga practice, the real benefit is that it not only feels really good all over but it translates into more confidence when speaking in front of people, trying something new, getting up on stage, taking on a leadership role, calling someone out for being dishonest or overcoming any other life challenge. After teaching well over 10,000 students I can personally attest to this as a common occurrence. 

Relieves Back Pain

Chances are if you’ve been to your doctor for a back problem, they did not recommend dead lifts or HIIT to fix your problem. Instead, they more than likely recommended yoga. This is because, unlike other forms of exercise, yoga has been proven through multiple studies to relieve chronic back pain. Considering the fact that back pain is one of the most common disabling injuries and is a leading cause of lost productivity, this should be really good news.

Makes You Feel Really Good

While yoga produces feel good chemicals like endorphins, by adding in The 4 Super Powers of Yoga, when you engage in the Fired Up classes you will feel a different high than you will from Strength Training and HIIT.  

Almost without exception, I find most of my students report that they simply can’t get that high from strength training or HIIT. Hopefully, this piques your interest and gets you even further committed.   

Better Friends and Influences

A perhaps less tangible but clearly measurable benefit is the new friends and influences from the yoga community who lift you up instead of drag you down. 

Remember, whoever you surround yourself with has a direct impact on your results or lack thereof. So once you start to get comfortable with the videos provided in this training, I suggest you go to an actual class and experience the energy of other people doing the same thing you’re doing.  This will fulfill an additional need we all have for “love and connection” – more superpower!

Keep in mind, your first experience may not be so great simply because some teachers are just getting started and some are just not your style or pace. Some teachers get bogged down in talking about things that may not appeal to you, yet some are really experienced and speak just enough without distracting you from concentrating. You’ll need to keep searching and taking classes with different teachers until you find one that resonates with you.  

Hopefully after taking the Fired Up classes you’ll understand what a good teacher actually does, which will give you something to measure other teachers against.

I bet this post got you curious. To learn more, I suggest checking out the Fired Up program here.

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