Practicing yoga and meditation are both incredibly beneficial in helping us to cope with the stress of our modern day lives and can greatly assist people to overcome mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. There is plenty of information out there to back this up too: Results from 47 trials approved by JAMA Internal Medicine showed that symptoms of depression and anxiety reduced over an eight-week program of mindful meditation!
We get that it can be really daunting for a guy to start to practice yoga and meditation/mindfulness. There are many reasons for this but perhaps the biggest obstacle is that they are still seen as practices for girls and also slightly less aspirational than some of the other sports that show off our competitiveness and masculinity. Seeing an ad for Yoga versus and ad for ‘Gymshark’ for example, may not quite have the same motivational quality but we would like to change this and get you onto that mat!
Why shouldn’t Yoga and Meditation be cool?
Well in our opinion they are. You just need to look at some of the world’s top sports people such as Novak Djokovic, who puts much of his success down to his holistic approach to training, looking after his mental health as a top priority by regularly practicing both yoga and mindfulness.
And with male suicide being the biggest killer of men under 40 in the US and UK, the reasons for taking the first step towards self-care and introducing these practices into daily life are then even more salutary so in the words of 'Nike' we say "Just do it" and we promise you that it will be a life-changer!
So, here are a few words of motivational wisdom and our top 5 reasons to get on to the mat and start to practice mindfulness or yoga right now.
Words of Wisdom from Founder of Levitate, Ryan Nell
"First of all men should NOT feel unworthy of help or care"
Ryan discusses how times are changing, noticing around a 50/50 split of men and women in his meditation classes. He states that “self-care or looking after your mental health may seem out of reach or an admission of weakness but the fact is all of us need help from time to time … don’t let anyone tell you [meditation] is not for men.”
Our Top 5 Reason’s For Men To Practice Yoga and Meditate
1- IT GIVES YOU TIME TO SLOW DOWN
In an increasingly modern world, taking a beat to slow down is essential. Ryan talked to us about how, in a time where the average smartphone user checks their phone 47 times a day, “technology and all the distractions of the modern age have trained us to be reactive, distractible, and in need of constant stimulation”. So, practicing yoga and or meditation/mindfulness can help you to tune out and slow down.
2- IT HELP TO RESTORE CALM
Meditation and yoga are means to restore peace and calm. Many studies have explored how greatly this can aid depression and anxiety. Results from 47 trials approved by JAMA Internal Medicine showed that symptoms of depression and anxiety reduced over an eight-week program of mindful meditation.
3- INCREASED COMPASION FOR OTHERS
Ryan also discussed how meditation results in “increased compassion” towards both yourself and others. Part of the misconception about meditation is that it is merely slow breathing in a quiet room, but it can change the whole way we think. He describes being able to “reshape our brains … much like the way we'd learn a new instrument or language.”
4- COMBATTING LONELINESS
Some online yoga instructors actually tailor their classes to suit particular emotional needs, such as classes to help deal with loneliness. Again, this is something that applies to our time – an increasing amount of people admit to being addicted to their phones, yet studies show that those that spend more than two hours a day on social media are more likely to feel lonely or cut off.
5- IT HELPS YOU TO FIND YOUR TRIBE & COMBAT DEPRESSION
Yoga and meditation classes can combat loneliness, which has overlaps with clinical depression, in the simplest way – helping people meet. Studies have shown that whilst women can maintain friendship connections through phone contact, men largely only combat loneliness through face-to-face meetings. However, many men find it harder to make new friendships. Yoga and meditation classes are a way of bringing people together in a non-pressurised social situation and could lead to some amazingly strong bonds.
So where can you start ?
If you are living in or around London than do feel free to pop into one of Ryan’s drop in meditation classes that are held in various locations around East London, you can check them out on his website
If you can’t make that then Headspace and Calm are both awesome Apps that introduce you to some really easy meditation techniques.
For online yoga classes be sure to check out our YouTube channel Warrior Addict Yoga For Sports with beginners classes, specifically for men.