OlderBeast Fall 2017 Yoga Challenge: Week 1 Intro

Welcome to OlderBeast’s Fall 2017 Yoga Challenge.

The purpose of this and other challenges is to help inspire and support you in trying new fitness/nutrition approaches, in ways that “one-off” articles can’t do as well on their own. Every guy who undertakes this challenge can succeed, if he decides to. Really, it’s a challenge to your curiosity, willingness to be a “beginner” at something new, and determination to give something a fair trial to see if it might be part of your long-term game plan.

As the season unfolds, each week there will be updates such as OlderBeast-original content, curated “best-of” information and advice from gurus from around the web, expert interviews, and reviews of relevant products and services.

The rest of this post lays out this challenge’s specific goals, rationale, and detailed instructions for how to get started. Please consider yourself challenged, and read on!

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Welcome to OlderBeast’s Fall 2017 Yoga Challenge. If you know what this is already and are ready-to-go, skip right to the next section (and if so, then nice decisiveness, bro!).

If you’re just exploring, then FYI the purpose of this and other challenges is to help inspire and support you in trying new fitness/nutrition approaches, in ways that “one-off” articles can’t do as well on their own.

The “challenge” in this context won’t typically be just quantitative (like “X push-ups”). Rather, it will more broadly target successful experimentation, learning, decision-making if this is “for you,” and (if so) incorporation into your routine.

So every single guy who undertakes this challenge can succeed, if he decides to. Really, it’s a challenge to your curiosity, willingness to be a “beginner” at something new, and determination to give something a fair trial to see if it might be part of your long-term game plan.

As the season unfolds, each week there will be updates including one or more of:

  • OlderBeast-original content – as always, from the perspective of the 45+ guys that we are
  • Curated “best-of” information and advice from gurus from around the web
  • Expert interviews
  • Reviews of relevant products and services

THE YOGA CHALLENGE

Goals:

  • Do at least six yoga practices during October-December 2017
  • Have those practices span at least two sources of instruction (yoga studio instructor or online class), including at least one in-person studio experience
  • Achieve at least three weeks in a row where you get a yoga practice into your routine, during the span of this challenge
  • Decide by New Year’s if-and-how you will keep yoga as part of your fitness and wellness routine

Rationale:

Why yoga as a challenge focus?

There are tons of reasons why 45+ guys should do yoga – and overcome the usually-illogical reasons we have for not doing so. See next section.

Why these specific goals?

Yoga is one of those things you can’t just do once and figure out if you like it. You need to string together a number of times doing it, to start getting comfortable and most fully feel the benefits. Also, instruction matters, and so diversity of instruction sources will help you get the best sense of what’s out there.

Instructions for Getting Started:

  • Please read the sections below on “why” and “where to start”
  • Find and select your first source of an instructor-led yoga class (studio or online)…
  • …and SCHEDULE it into your life for some time in the next two weeks, to get going on the challenge
  • Check back at OlderBeast.com each week for more to guide you along the way (or follow OlderBeast on Facebook or Twitter to be notified each time new content is available)
  • Join OlderBeast’s Private Facebook Members Group to compare notes and swap tips & tricks with other guys taking the challenge.

WHY YOGA?

I wasn’t born a yoga cheerleader.  I lucked into yoga, via the P90X fitness program’s weekly “Yoga X” workout. Unexpectedly, it became my favorite day of the week. It made me feel great in ways nothing else did, and it was the thing I continued even as I stopped strictly following the rest of that highly-regimented program.

With hopes you’ll also benefit, here’s my two cents on why and how you should bring yoga into your life.

You know yoga proponents say it helps with strength, flexibility, balance and tranquility-of-mind. I want to emphasize and expand on parts of this, instead of repeating it all.

Strength. Yoga hits muscles other workouts ignore: core and trunk…secondary leg muscles not worked by running, cycling, or squats…lower back. Try the right yoga class, brother, and I guarantee you’ll be sore in unfamiliar places. Do you want those places to keep getting weaker as you age – or will you do something about it?

Flexibility and balance. What fitness-minded guy doesn’t know he should work flexibility more? Yoga actually does it. As for balance, most of us don’t think about it much. But it’s those under-worked muscles that help balance, so balance is really a sign of all-over strength. More interested now? For further motivation, observe some 70- or 80-something guys. Balance is one of the unsung things that makes some look old and tentative, while others keep looking spry.

Tranquility-of-mind. The rhythmic, deep breathing of yoga is a lot of what drives the mind/body benefit we seek from fitness (swimming is great for this, too). This is also a big part of what meditation is about. More and more is being understood and written about the powerful benefits of breathing – and yoga delivers.

Put these things together. A 1-2x per week yoga practice is an awesome complement to our other endurance and strength activities: it’s low-impact, works un-worked muscles, keeps our bodies pliant and in balance, and brings peace.

WHERE TO START

Here’s concrete info for overcoming hesitancies, getting a mat, and finding instruction resources.

This link is to a post originally constructed as a 6-week plan, you’ll see. But in this season-long challenge, you have a bit more breathing room time-wise. And, you’ll have more support resources each week at OlderBeast.

ONE LAST “PITCH” FOR THIS CHALLENGE

Interested, but already “fully scheduled” with your current workout routine? I get that feeling…but as we age we really need the benefits yoga can bring. Provided you’re working out 4+ times a week, it’s worth it to experimentally take one day away from your current routine and try yoga. Or of course, add yoga on so you’re being physical one additional day vs. your current pattern.

So if you have even remotely thought about yoga before – or if you’ve lingered on this page in “maybe” mode – then please stop over-thinking this. Take the challenge here. You’ll be glad you did.

 

If you think this would be useful to others, please help spread the word about OlderBeast by sharing this post with the social media buttons below. THANKS, MAN.

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Four Online Yoga Sources for Busy (or Reluctant) Guys — Fall 2017 Yoga Challenge, Week 4

Fall 2017 Yoga Challenge, Week 4. If you need to catch up, no big deal (this is a self-paced challenge during Oct-Dec this year, and you don’t need 12-13 weeks to meet its basic goals). Click on “Yoga for Men” in the Challenges box to the left, to see Week 1 and other posts.

As a reminder, challenge goals are: (1) Do at least six yoga practices during October-December 2017; (2) Have those practices span at least two sources of instruction (yoga studio instructor or online class), including at least one in-person studio experience; (3) Achieve at least three weeks in a row where you get a yoga practice into your routine, during the span of this challenge; and (4) Decide by New Year’s if-and-how you will keep yoga as part of your fitness and wellness routine.

To seek these goals — and for life-with-yoga after the challenge, if you go that way — online yoga classes are a great resource. You can use them when you don’t have time to get to a studio, are traveling, or for any number of other reasons. Including this honest one: you’re just not “up for” doing yoga in public yet. I get that. I felt the same way. But after doing a bunch of online yoga practices, I knew enough about what an in-person class would entail — and could do “enough” of the stuff” — that I was ready to brave the studio.

So here are four recommended online yoga class offerings. Each has a bit of a different style. They all offer free or sub-$1 trial periods so you can experiment with two or more of them if you want.

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Challenges , Flexibility & Alternative Fitness

Advice from “The Yoga Man(ual)” Author Jen Murphy — Fall 2017 Yoga Challenge Week 5

Recently, I sat down to talk about “yoga and men” with Jen Murphy. She’s the author of the great new book The Yoga Man(ual) and the widely-read Wall Street Journal column “What’s Your Workout?” She’s also written numerous OlderBeast-relevant things in publications like Men’s Journal and Men’s Health.

Here are excerpts from our conversation. I think this is really useful reading for guys currently in the Fall 2017 Yoga Challenge AND guys who are not.

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Challenges

Fall 2017 Yoga Challenge: Week 2 (Six Tips)

Welcome to Week 2 of the Fall 2017 Yoga Challenge. If needed, you can find the Week 1 kick-off post by clicking the “Yoga for Men” icon in the box to left.

When I thought about writing this post, something felt a little unusual. I realized what it was: you see a lot written about yoga nowadays, but you don’t often see “tips” about how to do it. You can find so many sources on how to do a push-up or a kettlebell swing, or how to run more efficiently. But you don’t often see “these techniques help you get more out of yoga.”

These six principles are ones you’ll use in many yoga poses within a typical practice. And as I’ll point out in a few places, some of these “yoga tips” are things you can use throughout your day to reduce stress and its impact on us.

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Challenges

Another Fitness-as-we-Age Trick: Add HIIT Intensity to Everyday Workouts (Fall 2017 HIIT Challenge, Week 4)

Fall 2017 HIIT Challenge, Week 4! If you need to catch up, no big deal. Click the “HIIT” link in the Challenges box to the left of this post, to get started.

If you’re taking this challenge, you plan to try out at least a few HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) classes at an in-person gym or studio, and experiment with online classes or on-your-own work at home. These are all ways to help you experience how HIIT can combine cardio and strength conditioning, and burn a lot of calories (during and after your workout).

But: a workout doesn’t have to formally be a “HIIT” one to confer some of HIIT’s benefits. You can (and should try to) add some interval concepts into running, cycling, swimming or “traditional” strength training. As architect of your own long-term body-and-soul health, this would be a good example of coming to understand what different forms of fitness and different workout approaches can do for you, and orchestrating them within your own game plan.

So please read on for my two cents on how to “HIIT-ify” your current workouts.

2 Comments
  1. […] OlderBeast Fall 2017 Yoga Challenge: Week 1 Intro […]

  2. […] during Oct-Dec this year, and you don’t need 12-13 weeks to meet its basic goals). Check out Week 1 or browse other prior weeks as […]

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