Here at the Perfect Gentleman, we are always trying try new things and improve our health and well-being. So after talking cycling, power lifting and a little martial arts we thought we should look at something of a different speed. The quiet power of Yoga.
Yoga has exploded in the past couple of decades from the hippie communities of the 1960’s into a the popular fitness regime of the modern day. The History of Yoga itself stretches back many thousands of years but was brought into the Western world fully in the mid-Victorian period. It became exceptionally popular in the 1930’s & 40’s due to celebrity endorsement but really came into the public consciousness in the 1960’s with it’s association with the Hippie movement. The real boom came in the 1980’s when it was officially linked with health benefits, that the Yogis had known for many thousands of years. It has grown steadily, with some 20 million active practitioners in the USA alone.
Yoga is not just the series of physical exercises that we have all seen, but those with a combination of mental and spiritual disciplines that have a view to obtain a place of peace with yourself. Though these things are linked what we are referring to here are the physical practices that rose in the 1980’s. The main form is called Hatha Yoga, though there are many subsets and branches. Yoga that is practiced in the west is a series of postures (asana) that use your own body to provide the exercise.
One of the misconceptions of Yoga is that it’s just for women. I am sure the Ladies would like to keep this fitness regime to themselves, but many men are practitioners, indeed most of the original Yogis were men.
The second misconception is that it is inferior to other forms of exercise or it is not ‘masculine’ enough. We would heartily disagree, after 90 minutes of Bikram Yoga, you will know you have had a workout! Yes,it won’t turn you into ‘The Rock’ muscles wise but it will give you strength and flexibility that no amount of pumping iron can deliver.
One of the other issues it that you have to flexible or you will look like a fool! Yoga is about gaining flexibility, so you will get better. It is about individual practice, we all start from somewhere and get better and we should not compare ourselves to others anyway. You would not compare yourself to a professional footballer if you played in a local after work team?
Several Gentlemen friends of ours swear by it, in fact a number would say it has changed their lives. In fact one Gentleman we know is fitter now in his late 50’s than when he was in his 20’s and played squash every other day! Our very own #1PG has become a convert and taken to Bikram and given up his gym membership.
Here is the Perfect Gentleman’s Handy Guide to a few of the main styles of Yoga:-
A vigorous type of Yoga, that will certainly raise the heart-rate. A series of specific poses linked by breathes and a repeating salutation. You can either do this in a class or with personal practice.
Developed from the same Lineage as Ashtanga, this type of Yoga is more about getting the exact posture and form correct and will use props to do so. It is probably the best Yoga is you have an injury.
The hot yoga, done in heated room, you will certainly come out thinking you have had a workout. It follows the same 26 postures, whichever class you attend anywhere in the world. It is exceptionally popular.
The flow yoga, they are fluid classes that move from one set of postures to the next continuously. Another intense yoga, that can involve music and generally never the same.
You will find a class, we are sure, somewhere near you and take the plunge, even to just expand your physical horizons!