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When we look at Men’s Health we often think in terms of physical health and not mental, emotional or spiritual health.

“Sadly the men who were suicidal often succeeded in their first attempt.”

As a Lifeline Counsellor (which deals with mental illness and suicide) for ten years, the majority of callers were often men, and sadly the men who were suicidal often succeeded in their first attempt. Men tend to use extreme and violent measures to end their lives. They called Lifeline not to be stopped or for intervention but rather to feel like their lives mattered or had an impact in some way on someone, even if that person is a stranger.

“I have no time to breathe”

When I became a Yoga Teacher I started teaching at The Hilton Hotel in Sydney Australia. The majority of the clients who attended my classes were men. At that time I was teaching Hatha Yoga which would start with a traditional warm-up, the Great Full Complete Yogic Breath followed by the Asana practice where each pose is held for a couple of minutes (sometimes more) and a cool-down sequence ending with seven minutes of Yoga Nidra (psychic sleep). Many would come up to me and say ’no one gives me permission to let go and reminds me to breathe’ or ’this is my only chance in the week to surrender and be with my thoughts,’ ‘I have no time to breathe,’ ‘I need sleep and this Yoga Nidra is the best sleep I’ve had in a while,’ ‘How do I get in touch with my inner self?’ etc.

Every human operates from what I call ‘the first emotion.’ No matter what happens in our lives we will react or respond from this emotion. A boy’s first emotion is generally anger, ‘boys don’t cry’ is something typically found in parenting techniques. If he is not taught how to articulate his needs and wants healthily, this emotion tends to play itself out in adulthood often developing further, leading to mental imbalance or illness and addictive behaviour.

“It is said that a woman will use up to one thousand words a day whereas a man will use one hundred (if that)”

It is often assumed that women express their feelings more than men however the opposite is true.  Men express their feelings through behaviour whilst women express their feelings through words. It is said that a woman will use up to one thousand words a day whereas a man will use one hundred (if that). Another assumption is that women are instinctual and not men. While that may be true it is actually men who demonstrate their instincts and act on them more than women. If a woman feels or senses something she will run it by all her friends often going against her instincts whereas a man will just act and give no explanation for how they feel. This is why men are far more emotional than women. They just express it differently.

From the very beginning of my healing vocation, I have worked with men using Counselling, Reiki, Massage, and Yoga.

Despite Yin Yoga being challenging for men, it is a style of yoga where the entire practice involves self-reflection, surrender, breathing and watching emotions rise to the surface without reacting to what comes up, by holding poses for five to seven minutes. Traditionally men play sports or do muscular activity however Yin Yoga works with fascia, bones, joints, ligaments, tendons and moving stagnant blood where emotions are trapped in the Five Primary Organs (Liver, Kidneys, Spleen Heart and Lungs). Yin Yoga is physically the safest and least confrontational way for a man to work through his pent up emotions rather than resort to anger and escapism which eventually leads to injury. Each Primary Organ deals with specific emotions (eg the liver heals anger, the kidneys heal fear, the lungs heal grief, the spleen heals worry and obsessive thinking and the heart heals manic depression and mental imbalance). This healing takes place on a cellular level where deep-seated traumas and where our life story resides which is in our fascia (connective tissue).

“I have worked with many men who suffer from depression and are told it is mental illness when in reality it is a mental imbalance.”

As a consequence, men respond very well to Reiki as it’s an opportunity for them to let go and be in touch with their soul. In my experience, when you open up a dialogue with men about the nature of the soul they become quite insightful and are for the most part very interested and open to the way energy moves. A crystal is placed on each Chakra (vortex/wheel) to ascertain where there is heat in the body, meaning energy is spinning too fast, and where it is cold which means energy is blocked. This helps men (and women) understand how energy moves in the body and physically “see” where it is stagnant. Each Chakra is connected to an organ, a gland, an emotion, and a body part. Once you explain not only the energetics but the physical imbalance it makes it easier for men to share what is going on in their lives easily, openly and honestly.

“After a few sessions, they are able to recognise the destructive behaviour and how it plays itself out with regards to their health and wellbeing.”

Often the men that book appointments show up because they feel something isn’t ‘right’.  Usually, it is depression that doesn’t feel ‘right’ and Reiki offers the space to move through depression without judgment.  I have worked with many men who suffer from depression and are told it is mental illness when in reality it is a mental imbalance. Such imbalance occurs from a specific repetitive behaviour that has become destructive emotionally mentally and physically. After a few sessions, they are able to recognise the destructive behaviour and how it plays itself out with regards to their health and wellbeing. Once the observation is made they start to feel as though a “pressure cooker” has been released inducing a sense of renewal, restoration, and peace. Through consistent maintenance, the behaviour is managed and they start to sleep deeply and eat healthily as food is a by-product of a person’s emotional state. Humans are by nature emotional eaters. In order to heal the body, we must seek to find what has created an imbalance in the soul, which is the cause. Food is the symptom.

Massage, on the other hand, allows the muscles to relax restore and recalibrate. Deep Tissue massage is profound in helping men recognise how emotions get stuck in the physical body.  Each Channel is massaged which connects to an organ, bone, joint, ligament, tendon and connective tissue. What is interesting about having someone lying face down on the table is that they just open up sharing their grief and trauma as they are not looking at you for part of the session. This eases the guilt and shame men often feel when they have no control over their lives.

Overall, I have found that men respond well to sharing and exploring their feelings with strangers more than family and friends, as they are expected to maintain an image or persona in their personal and work environment. The facade melts away easily and effortlessly in a session and then they are able to manage their lives effectively. It does not mean that the stress or triggers disappear.

“What yoga, Reiki and massage does offer is an opportunity to manage and deal with triggers and stress in an effective, positive and constructive way rather than habitually.”

Jacquelene Sadek is still taking bookings at Bodytree until December 16th. If you’d like to book yourself in for a session, contact us today.

 

 

I practice yoga and meditation every morning. Just enough to have my body and mind ready to start the day.  I usually do 10 minutes of Yoga poses to stretch my body (Cat/Cow poses, Child pose, Downward facing dog), then 10 to 15 minutes meditation.

On top of this regular practice that I keep doing every morning for more than 3 years, I regularly do Yin Yoga session either at Bodytree or on my own.  I use those sessions to help my body recovering from the training I’m doing.  I run 5 to 6 times a week for pleasure and to prepare marathons. I’ve also started cycling 3 years ago to add cardiovascular training to my running with less stress on the body.

I have been practicing sport in competition (volley ball, roller skate, squash and running…) for more than 35 years now.  In my childhood, as many (every?) people, I did not feel that I had to take care about my body apart from the training itself, to only get more strength or skills.

Except little stretching at the end of training, never taken really seriously, there were nothing done to focus on the body itself, the recovery. Probably not very popular in the eighties in France 😉

Then after injuries, that put me away from my sport practice, I started questioning myself on what I should do to help my body absorbing all the workload I was putting on it as there was no way I would stop sport.  In the early nineties I’ve started seeing osteopaths (not as popular as they are now) that helped me better understand my body in term of mechanics. At a certain time, I even started thinking about choosing that way for my carrier.  I finally did not pursue in that direction but kept learning about proper stretching, recovery…

I then went to Yoga through my wife’s practice. I realised that what I was doing sporadically to complete my training was somehow coming from Yoga.  I’ve started yoga about 6 years ago when I was living in Burma. That’s also the place where I’ve started meditation. Perfect place for that!

Since then I’ve never stopped increasing my practice, working on my awareness, even doing yoga retreat. This also led me to change my diet as I am mostly vegan since the same period.

From the discipline I initially put in place to practice every day, it has now became a habit that is completely embedded into my life.  The funny thing is that I rediscovered through another perspective, through my body, things I was studying, and actually loving, in physics about forces, energies, links between infinitely small and endlessly big, from the atom to the universe.

This fascinates me.

Then 3 years ago I’ve started having these two kind of treatments to heal my injuries, balance and regulate the flow of my energy.  I have done some reiki sessions in Body tree with Jacquie when I felt I needed it to recover/re-balance my energy during stressful periods at work or during marathon training preparation that require a lot from the body, mind and energy.

I see also a Chinese doctor from time to time in Abu Dhabi who helped me heal injuries with acupuncture, cupping.

Answering your questions makes me realise how I evolved in my approach of life, awareness during the last 6 years.  It’s no longer a question of continuing the practice as it has now became a way of living which I find highly rewarding as you always learn new things, even tiny ones, that improve your knowledge, awareness, health.

In addition, this practice can also benefit to others around you!

6 Reasons Men Should Do Yoga

November 19, 2019

Don’t be afraid to be that guy in the yoga class. It just might be the best decision you ever made for your muscles and overall athletic development!

Years ago, just as Jay Cutler was ascending to the top of the bodybuilding world, he told me about a secret he’d recently begun to incorporate into his training. It was yoga! He credited his improved flexibility with his ability to train more efficiently and avoid injury. And then he won the Mr. Olympia title.

Today, there are more yoga studios and yoga classes than ever, but a lot of people—men in particular—remain confused about what happens inside those classes and how they should feel about it. Is it stretching, meditation, some combination thereof, or something else entirely? Could it be the secret to unlocking yourtight hips and superhuman athletic potential, or will it just make you sprout a man bun and go all new agey?

Wonder no more! Here’s why you have nothing to fear—and everything to gain—from adding a little yoga to your life.

What Do I Need To Begin?

  • A mat (don’t rely on the studio mat)
  • Shorts that don’t ride up too high
  • A shirt that doesn’t move too much
  • An open mind
  • Willingness to be humbled and ask questions
  • A good teacher

1. Yoga Increases Range Of Motion

You may think that range of motion is the same thing as flexibility, but it’s a little different. Many guys know they have a tight muscle group or two—most frequently the hamstrings, glutes, pecs, and shoulders. But they may not realize the limitations any of these place on their ability to train through a full range of motion. The more you train them through a limited range of motion, the more limited you become as a lifter—and a functional human being.

One of Cutler’s limitations was his tight shoulder joints, which he found didn’t allow him to stretch his pectorals fully during pressing movements, which in turn reduced his ability to build chest mass. Increased flexibility opened him up to a better pressing motion—and the type of development that helped him eventually win four Sandow trophies.

A well-designed yoga class emphasizes moves that open up virtually all of these problem areas, because everyone, everywhere, can benefit from opening up their hunched shoulders and tight hips. Consider this quality movement training of the first order.

2. Yoga Improves Breathing

You might think that you breathe perfectly fine. But you’d probably find yourself challenged by how much yoga asks you to focus on inhaling and exhaling, particularly while you’re attempting to hold tough poses in unfamiliar movement planes.

As a yoga class gets more intense, the breathing slows down rather than speeding up. This teaches you to take in long, slow breaths when you need them most, expanding your lung capacity to allow you to take in the same or greater amount of oxygen from fewer inhalations.

This is one reason you might feel a kind of bliss akin to the legendary “runner’s high” during a yoga class. More importantly, you’re training your body to oxygenate itself more efficiently. That’s important for cardio activity, strength training, and yes, muscle-building.

3. Yoga Strengthens Stabilizers

Every yogi out there has a story (or twenty) about that time they saw a strong, muscular guy walk into class and get totally owned by a routine the smaller, less muscular women were rocking. Why does this happen? Because that guy, who no doubt earned his physique in the classic two-feet-on-the-ground, two-hands-on-the-bar power stance, got shown that he remains weak in his stabilizer muscles.

Yoga includes many unique moves in addition to basics such as down dog, plank, and warrior variations. Depending on the whim of your teacher, it can also include lateral, twisting, and spinal-arch moves, as well as plenty of balance challenges—all of which are not typically present in lifting exercises.

These moves force your body to work in new and unaccustomed ways, strengthening smaller stabilizer muscles and increasing joint health along the way. You’ll get stronger, sure, but you might also shore up a weak link that would otherwise lead you go get injured.

In other words, a good yoga class can covera lot of the bases that you think you’re covering (but might not be) with your long, complicated pre-hab and mobility routines.

4. Yoga Provides Active Rest

One of the challenges of being a committed athlete is figuring out what to do with an active-rest day. These are days where you can include activity, but you should refrain from typical workouts. You’re supposed to allow your body to heal and recover…but you don’t really want to.

Many Type-A athletes feel like they’ll go stir-crazy if they can’t perform some form of activity. Yoga is a perfect option for these days. You’ll likely find it far more challenging than you expect, but it doesn’t usually demand a lot of recovery time (although you might be sore the first few times).

In fact, a good rule of thumb is to start with a 60-minute, level-one yoga class. These are often available at full-service gyms. They’re a little rarer at yoga studios, where classes tend to be a little longer.

5. Yoga Balances You

This could mean a lot of things, but I’m not talking chakras here. First, yoga literally includes poses that help you improve your balance. One-legged poses, headstands, handstands, arm balances, and plenty of other tough challenges are all fair game. And no matter how many push-ups or bodyweight squats you can do, a good yoga teacher can find ways to make these expose your weaknesses.

Second, yoga encourages your body to move in unaccustomed ways by spending time in totally familiar postures. While athletes consider every workout to be beneficial—and rightfully so—most of us often end up performing the same types of movements too frequently. This is all well and good until that day comes when, all of a sudden, you can’t remember the last time you weren’t in pain.

I’ve heard it time and time again: “My back/hips/shoulders were always bugging me, but yoga made it 100 times better.” The only problem with that is that yoga works well enough that most of us stop doing it after experiencing its benefits.

Written by:

For www.bodybuilding.com