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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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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Avoid These Four HIIT Risks (HIIT Challenge, Week 6)

There are drawbacks to anything/everything we might do for fitness. That’s why, especially in our 40s and beyond, it’s so important to create your own personalized workout mix to get the best-of various things, and navigate around their con’s.

If you’re reading this, you’re already aware of HIIT’s benefits. And maybe already feeling them for yourself. So now’s a good time to flag potential drawbacks of HIIT and discuss ways to avoid them.

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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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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.

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