Fall 2017 Yoga Challenge: Week 3 (Yoga Advice from the Web)

Fall 2017 Yoga Challenge, Week 3! If you need to catch up, no big deal (this is a self-paced challenge during Oct-Dec this year). Check out Challenge instructions by clicking the Yoga for Men link in the Challenge section to the left.

For this and other OlderBeast seasonal challenges (HIIT’s the other current one), “best of the web” content is part of the rotation. I’m always looking for useful stuff, sometimes at the theory/rationale level, and a lot of times at the concrete “what-to and how-to” levels.

In that spirit, here are three Yoga-focused sources I think you’ll find useful.

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Fall 2017 Yoga Challenge, Week 3! If you need to catch up, no big deal (this is a self-paced challenge during Oct-Dec this year). Check out Week 1 or Week 2 as needed.

For this and other OlderBeast seasonal challenges (HIIT’s the other current one), “best of the web” content is part of the rotation. I’m always looking for useful stuff, sometimes at the theory/rationale level, and a lot of times at the concrete “what-to and how-to” levels.

In that spirit, here are three Yoga-focused sources I think you’ll find useful. I’d love to hear your feedback on these, or ideas you have that can help other OlderBeasts in this Yoga Challenge. Feedback very welcome here, or at OlderBeast’s private members page on Facebook.

1. MEN’S FITNESS BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO YOGA

Where: this article at MensFitness.com

Why I recommend it: For starters, this does a great job recapping “why yoga for men?” Maybe OlderBeast yoga articles have been fully persuasive to you, but maybe not (and so maybe you’re still kind of window-shopping this challenge). If so, read this for more perspective on “why.”

But on top of recapping rationale well, there’s good content here on specific poses and how to do them. Often, you’ll be doing a practice led by an instructor who plays the pose-adviser role. But hopefully at some point you’ll construct your own routine to try at home. This could be a 10 to 15-minute add-on to a different workout, or a 45+ minute practice unto itself. Either way, having your own knowledge of good poses and how to do them is what you want, man.

Here’s a good point the article makes about yoga (and other exercise) as they related to stress:

“Going to amped up gyms or punching a punching bag can make you more aggressive or more tired. Yoga, on the other hand, employs a number of relaxation techniques, which, with regular practice, can make you calmer overall.”

Make sure to check out: The last part of the last section here, about Crow Pose. This is a pose that is challenging, but doable for semi-fit and above guys…so it’s a good thing to start doing soon.

2. YOGA STORIES FROM A DIVERSE GROUP OF TEN GUYS

Where: this article at YogaJournal.com.

Why I recommend it: These “how I started yoga” stories come from a diverse group of athletes – runners, cyclists, surfers, snowboarders, skiers, climbers, and even hockey players. Seeing this, and how different guys experienced getting into yoga, helps reinforce motivation to try and stick with yoga for a legitimate trial period…and then be your own judge as to whether it’s a permanent thing for you.

Also, different guys featured here reference different styles of yoga and what they like about them. And what they don’t like about them – i.e. there’s some good honesty here about aspects of yoga that didn’t work in some instances, and how the guy moved on from that.

Here’s part of what the runner who’s featured in the article has to say:

“I haven’t gotten injured in years, and I think yoga has a lot to do with that. It counterbalances the tightening that running creates in my muscles, and it’s taught me more innovative ways to stretch.”

Make sure to check out: The very first story in this click-through, slideshow-style article. It’s from Dave Kalama, a big-wave surfer. He really brings to life the physical benefits he gets from his yoga practice. And, he admits to failing at yoga on his first try, but goes on to describe how it became so core to his fitness.

3. YOUR FIRST YOGA CLASS: WHAT TO EXPECT AND WHAT TO BRING

Where: this article at The Huffington Post.

Why I recommend it: This article – as do so many – recaps some of the “why,” but I’m pointing to it for the parts that come after that. It has a nice section on what to expect from, and what to bring to, your first class. It also does a good job of identifying and debunking some misconceptions about guys and yoga. One of these – that you need to be flexible – was also the subject of this OlderBeast article.

Make sure to check out: The part at the very end where they talk about guys’ competitive urges and not trying to match the person on the mat next to you. And also, how yoga plays into the OlderBeast theme of embracing head-on the fact that we’re aging, but can and will still do all possible things to stay fit and vital.

From that part of the article…

“Motion is Lotion, as they say, and yoga is one of the few work outs that can keep joints healthy and lubricated, as well as giving you the stamina and strength to live fully.”

NEXT STEPS

If you’re already off-and-running with this challenge, I hope these three articles add to your knowledge base, your plans, and your underlying motivation.

If you’ve read this but you’re not in action mode yet — no worries (but it’s time to get started soon). As a reminder, the challenge here calls for doing at least six yoga practices before the New Year. Thanksgiving and Christmas week might be tough, especially if you’re traveling (though they’re also a great time to do yoga). So not counting holiday weeks, you’ve got about seven weeks left in the year — I know, holy s**t. That’s the perfect amount of time to get in your six trial yoga practices and see if it’s for you, to possibly include in your start-of-2018 game plan!

 

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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Introducing OlderBeast 2.0 with Seasonal Challenges

If you’re reading this…well, first of all, THANKS man. I truly value and feel honored by your engagement in OlderBeast.

If you’re reading this…you’re at the new, improved “OlderBeast 2.0.” Here’s an overview of new features and how to use them.

But first, one key thing has not changed. OlderBeast’s mission is to help 45+ guys double down on body-and-soul health, to maximize the 2nd half of life. Fitness, nutrition, wellness – and having these things contribute not only to our physical health but also to Joy and Meaning – that’s what this is all about.

With these guiding goals, “OB2” can be more customized for how you want to use it. It hopes to be more engaging, to invite and challenge (and help with) your “doing” vs. just “reading.” And to create (cliché alert, I know) community, so OlderBeast is more than a one-way thing.

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Six Signs of Unmet Fitness Needs at 45+ (Reasons For Yoga — Yoga Challenge Week 6)

I confess. I’m not always as proactive and purposeful as OlderBeast articles make me sound. When it comes to 45+ men’s fitness, I’ve often just learned from injury-driven needs that motivated experimentation, or by simply lucking into things.

When I started yoga at age 46, it wasn’t because I’d thoughtfully concluded “hey, I have some ‘need yoga’ signs.” I started just because yoga’s a weekly part of the P90X home fitness program. Luck. (Online yoga classes are actually a great place to start – more on that at the conclusion of this article).

I see in retrospect that, as my 40s progressed, my fitness needs were changing. I had many of the “Need Yoga” signs, but I didn’t recognize them. Now, with regular yoga as part of my fitness routine, I’ve turned a lot of these “Need” categories into fitness and wellness positives.

My goal with this list is to help you do a self-assessment, and possibly reach a yoga conclusion sooner than I did (or if not, then at least “better late than never.”)

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Something You Need for 2018: Your Next (or First) Yoga Mat

If you’ve been trying out yoga, you probably fall into one of two main camps when it comes to owning a yoga mat. (If you’re not aware of our Yoga Challenge and want to check that out for context, click on the “Yoga Challenge” link in the box to the left).

Maybe you ran out and bought one soon after your first class (the male stereotype is that we do love our gear, after all). Or, you might have figured you’ve got other stuff to worry about — like surviving challenging yoga practices — and using borrowed or rented mats seems fine for you.

In either case, if you’ve been stringing together some weeks of yoga and intend to continue in the new year, now’s a good time to think about a mat. Either your first one, or the one you wish you’d known to buy the first time around.

“What’s the big deal?” you might ask. What’s so great about the “right” mat? This is one of those things that’s best understood in the reverse. As in, what issues does the wrong mat bring? So let’s start off there — hopefully to motivate you, man. Then we’ll identify a number of mats that might have your name on them.

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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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