Tag Archives: yoga

Yoga for men?

This is for all you guys out there looking for exercise in all the wrong places. If you’re looking for a type of exercise that is focused on strength training, stretching, and improving the body, then “broga” is the place for you.

Broga is a type of exercise designed for men that combines the basis of yoga but specifically targets strength training, avoiding traditional yoga poses.

Basically, it is a type of yoga that allows men to get stronger without the intimidation of having a woman out do them. “Broga celebrates the physical over the spiritual, and strength over flexibility. Experts say it sets men free to flex tight hamstrings without hearing invocations to Hindu deities or feeling inept next to a woman twisted like a pretzel.”

Broga classes allow for men to have their “guy time” by being able to “set their yoga mats down and talk about upcoming NFL games.”

Men typically have tighter muscles than females because of their ability to gain muscle faster, making it more important to obtain flexibility and stretch out muscles. Broga allows for the focus on the male form, doing exercises that are particular issues in physicality that men face.

warrior pose
“Broga is a type of exercise designed for men that combines the basis of yoga but specifically targets strength training, avoiding traditional yoga poses.”

One man stated “that he had tried [traditional yoga], as part of a rigorous workout program marketed on TV, but didn’t like it.”

It was a common theme among the men that traditional yoga was too hard for them saying “That’s a rough introduction to yoga.” Along with the consensus that traditional yoga is too hard, most men feel uncomfortable practicing Hindu rituals, chanting, spirituality, and exercising around candles. They would rather focus on the physicality of the practice rather than the spiritual side of it.

Broga was created for many reasons but one of the most important reasons it was created was to ensure men felt comfortable and not threatened while practicing yoga. “I like yoga, but I hate taking it with women because it’s so intimidating. They’re so good at it.”

No one likes to feel embarrassed while exercising, especially if it’s something that you like to do. Feeling discouraged while doing something you love is a terrible feeling, even more so when it could threaten someone’s masculinity.

Overall, Broga is a cultural phenomenon that is expanding all over the United States. They even have their own websites and studios making it easier for men to get in shape in a way that is nontraditional to masculine culture. Broga is also changing the way society views masculinity and is a new opportunity for men to get in shape.

Five reasons why you should take up yoga

Many people don’t see yoga as a valid workout because yoga is a relaxing and fairly stationary exercise that isn’t on par with other routines (such as jogging or lifting weights). However, this notion is very wrong. Yoga has many wonderful benefits for both the body and the mind, all while working up a sweat. So “become a tree” and read these five reasons why you should take up yoga immediately.

1) It’s an incredible stress reliever.

Students are just generally stressed this time of year. Sure, the weather is getting warmer and the sun is sticking around longer, but the impending doom that is finals week is right around the corner. Stress is a very dangerous thing. It can mess with sleeping and eating habits, causing one to rapidly gain or lose weight. It can raise blood pressure and mess with heart function. It can even cause anxiety attacks which are highly alarming. All of this trauma can be dramatically alleviated by as few as20 minutes a day of yoga.

2) It boosts your immune system.

While the worst of the winter has passed, it’s very common, for college students especially, to get sick this time of year. With everyone opting to stay up and finish papers or study rather than get a full night’s sleep, there’s bound to be a cold or two that will catch up with even the most health conscious of people. Yoga can help keep you from missing too much class so close to finals by relieving stress (which leaves the immune system vulnerable to viruses), opening up airways (to improve breathing,) and draining nasal passages (to avoid sinus infections).

Photo of Radford student. Photo by: Caroline Leggett

3) It helps you focus.

Yoga goes hand in hand with meditation, which centers around the practice of clearing one’s head and focusing on breathing. This mental exercise, if done frequently enough, can significantly improve your focus for studying and being more alert in class.

4) It makes you happy!

By increasing serotonin levels in the brain and improving the immune system, yoga makes you feel better inside and out — therefore making you a happier person! If that’s not enough of a reason to give it a try, I don’t know what is.

5) It helps you sleep.

Relaxation techniques used in yoga are proven to help you get a better night’s sleep, which any college student knows is invaluable. Having a better night’s sleep will improve every aspect of your life, from your academic performance to your social life.

In addition to all of these benefits, yoga is also terrific for building strength and burning calories. So grab a yoga mat and head over to the gym to grab a class schedule.

Treat yo’self

Many of us have already failed to make our New Year’s resolutions come true, especially about diets or exercising. Diets and exercise are particularly hard when it’s well below freezing outside and all you want to do is enjoy your electric blanket. Even if you have been snacking on Doritos while binge-watching “Bates Motel” on Netflix, it’s important to remember that it’s still the beginning of the year,.You have quite a while to make yourself proud this year.

Personally, I think New Year’s resolutions are just destined to fail. It seems like every time I try to set goals for the new year, I’m so hard on myself that I just get discouraged and give up. It’s important that we all remember that we need to be patient with ourselves and to not punish ourselves with painful diets or going too hard at the gym.

My mantra when I’m trying to eat healthier is, “one good meal won’t make you lose weight, and one bad meal won’t make you fat.” It’s important to find a good balance. The last thing you want to do when trying to diet is to take away all of the foods that you most enjoy.

I have never–and will never–consider salad a meal unless there’s a chicken breast involved in it. It makes me cringe when I see girls Many of us have already failed to make our New Year’s resolutions come true, especially about diets or exercising. Diets and exercise are particularly hard when it’s well below freezing outside and all you want to do is enjoy your electric blanket. Even if you have been snacking on Doritos while binge-watching “Bates Motel” on Netflix, it’s important to remember that it’s still the beginning of the year,.You have quite a while to make yourself proud this year.

picking at salads they clearly don’t like as they sigh about their diet. Dieting shouldn’t feel like a prison sentence. You should still eat foods that you like and treat yourself every now and then.

I’m no nutritionist, but I believe the best way to make yourself feel good and to treat your body right is to limit your alcohol intake. I’ve never woken up hungover and thought, “wow, I’m really glad I did that.” Drinking not only causes a lot of shame and confusion, it’s incredibly bad for your body. I like to get tipsy from time to-time and have fun, but that shouldn’t be a weekly thing. It’s easy in college to lose track of just how much you’re drinking in a week. Last semester I limited myself to one night of heavy drinking every two weeks. Not surprisingly, I lost a bit of weight. On top of that, I felt better and more positive.

Finally, the most important thing to keep in mind when pursuing your health-related New Year’s resolutions, is a goal . It’s easy to set marks such as, “I want to lose ten pounds by spring break.” However, a more graceful solution is to not focus on the numbers on the scale, but to focus on the way you feel. If you feel weak or displeased with yourself, find ways to create positive feelings. I’ve found that doing yoga and eating something that tastes good and is good for me always makes me feel more at ease.

If going to the gym or eating a nutritious meal will make you feel better, do that. If you’ve had a bad day and all you want to do is eat a big bowl of ice cream, do it. One bad meal and one bad day won’t completely ruin your goals, so long as those goals are centered around your happiness.



Why you should be doing yoga

Yoga is a practice that’s been going on for thousands of years. It’s the best way to improve your flexibility and is fun, easy strength training. It’s not only a physical exercise, it’s a spiritual and mental exercise as well.

As someone who suffers from anxiety, yoga has helped me relax and feel more in tune with my body. I’ve only started doing yoga and it’s already so addictive and freeing to me. I’ve never been a very flexible person, but in the short time I’ve been practicing yoga, I’ve noticed a difference in what my body is capable of and how it feels.

Closing your eyes and just stretching is very relaxing, but it’s also a great way to get exercise. I went to a yoga class on campus and really enjoyed it. I just felt like I was stretching, but the next day I could tell my muscles had been worked by the slight soreness of my body. The teacher was very helpful and you could tell she was learning just as much as we were. She explained the muscles we needed to be working and what each pose did for your body.

“It’s the best way to improve your flexibility and is fun, easy strength training.”

Although I thoroughly enjoyed the yoga class, I’ve found doing yoga by myself to be even more relaxing and beneficial. There are tons of videos of yoga sequences on YouTube that talk you through each pose. Once you watch one video a couple of times, doing the sequence on your own is usually very easy. The best part about doing yoga on your own time is that you can choose what area you want to work. If you want to work your abs, there are dozens of videos that will guide you through it.

I really hate running and going to the gym in general makes me want to cry. Yoga is a great way to get in shape without having to exhaust or embarrass yourself at the gym. Using your own body as weights instead of crushing yourself with a bar at the gym is really my kind of deal. Yoga is beneficial no matter your fitness level.

Yoga isn’t only a great way to get in shape, it’s very healing both mentally and physically. One of my biggest inspirations to start doing yoga was a video I watched over a year ago. In this video, an injured veteran who couldn’t walk without assistance and was morbidly obese starts doing yoga to get in shape. As you can see in the video, yoga helps him get his mobility back! It also helps him lose weight, as he becomes able to run and do other exercises. I’ve always had a bad back- my spine has always stuck out a little further than those of other people’s and I have terrible posture. My hope is that yoga will help me improve my posture and back.

Some may prefer other methods of getting in shape, but in the short time I’ve been doing yoga, it’s made a difference. I really recommend it for anyone like me who’s had a hard time finding an exercise method that they can enjoy. The most important thing is not to get discouraged. Some people are naturally flexible and will be able to do more advanced poses very quickly. If you can’t do these poses, it’s okay! The point is to take small steps until you can do more difficult poses. By taking small baby steps every day, you will eventually achieve your goals and be amazed at what you are capable of.

Alternative healing therapies you may not have heard of

Therapy is good for the heart and soul. While talk therapy is nice, additional therapies are also beneficial. I had the pleasure of recently going to a conference on alternative healing practices. I was able to learn about the mind, body and soul. A lot of these alternative healing ideologies come from eastern practices and may be foreign concepts.

The first practice to address is Yoga Nidra. When you think of yoga today, you probably get the mental picture of people doing all sorts of bending poses. While these poses are an aspect of a yoga, Yoga Nidra is much more in-depth. The basis of Yoga Nidra is all about focusing on your breathing and putting yourself in a deep state of meditation and relaxation while remaining conscious. The healing value of this type of practice is simple: it allows the individual to enter a state of deep rest and relaxation. Those with mental illness can find peace within themselves by just being and breathing. Dr. Swami Shankardev Sarawati helps his clients find peace with Yoga Nidra. You can read his account of how Yoga Nidra is useful as part of the therapy process here.

The next healing practice is homeopathic remedies, particularly Bach Flower Remedies. These Flower Remedies are extreme dilutions of the healing parts of various flowers in nature. There are 38 different flower remedies that are tailored to specific issues. For example, the Crab Apple Flower Remedy is often used for an individual who may feel emotionally dirty, or unclean, and isn’t satisfied with their appearance. This particular remedy is often used by individuals who’ve been sexually assaulted or raped. The healing value of this practice helps the individual feel better from whatever is ailing them emotionally. If you’re interested in the explanation of how these flower remedies work, you can read Heal Thyself by Edward Bach.

The last alternative healing practice is the power of pet-assisted therapy. When you walk into a room to find a friendly dog or cat, often you will notice a smile on your face. Pet-assisted therapy is a type of therapy that aims to help an individual improve their emotional, cognitive and social impairments. In the mental health community, animal assisted therapy decreases anxiety and improves symptoms of depression. Pet assisted therapy is also used to help children with ADHD and autism.  If you’re interested in learning more about pet therapy or how to become a certified pet therapy handler, you can visit Pet Partners.

Healing comes in many different forms. In the mental health community it often comes from within. Being open minded about what’s out there to help promote inner healing is a good idea. Whether it’s acupuncture or yoga, a lot of these eastern healing practices are based on the idea of negative energies being let out and positive energies being let in. Healing is healing no matter what form it takes, so be open about taking in those positive energies.

How to deal with stress

Deep breathing slows your heart rate and helps calm you down. Photo from Creative Commons.

You’ve got projects to work on and deadlines to make, upcoming tests that you need to study for, and not enough hours in the day to do what you need to do. Cram sessions and copious amounts of stress are inevitable. During the semester it’s easy to get bogged down with the heavy load of coursework along with the other demands that we all have, such as jobs, family and friends. So how can you manage your stress without having a meltdown? Continue reading How to deal with stress