How Yoga Can Help You Maintain Your Health Address ecific Mens Health Concerns

...The body is a wonderful instrument____ You should take care of it properly. An unhealthy body dissipates the mind—you then have no time to work with other aspects of yourself. That is why maintaining physical health is an integral part of spiritual practice.1

Yoga is one of the best overall integrated healthcare systems available. In India, yoga practices form an integral part of the healing methods of ayurveda (the "science of life" or "science of health" in Sanskrit). Ayurvedic medicine is a 5,000-year-old system of healing based on the sacred Vedic literature of India. It is the oldest continuously practiced system of healthcare in the world. Ayurvedic medicine utilizes a variety of means to promote health and well-being, including herbs, crystals, aromatic essences and oils, massage, and, most importantly, the use of principles and practices drawn from the yoga tradition.

In India, the practice of yoga has, until recently, been the nearly exclusive domain of men. Virtually all the Indian masters who brought the teachings of yoga to the West were men, as seen in Part II of this book. Ironically, however, yoga in the West has been practiced largely by women, depriving today's man of yoga's many valuable health benefits. The goal of Yoga for Men is to help make yoga a part of every man's program for overall fitness and healthy living.

In a very general sense, the practice of yoga is an excellent way for virtually every single man to maintain his health. Yoga postures promote strength, flexibility, good circulation,

Sp increased range of motion in joints, and optimal functioning of the internal organs. A yogic diet promotes the proper nutrition that your body needs for growth and repair. Yogic breathing exercises help to remove waste products resulting from your body's metabolic processes, while providing fresh oxygen for renewed vigor and energy. Meditation can help you calm your mind's chatter to contact your deepest sources of well-being, helping you to reduce and better mange stress while making your mind even clearer and more creative. Yoga can also help every man to open his heart more fully to the beauty and joy that the universe has in store for everyone.

The best time to start practicing yoga is now—whatever your age or physical condition. If you are healthy, the regular and disciplined practice of yoga can help you to maintain your health and fortify your body to ward off potential illness more effectively. If you suffer from a particular health concern, yoga may help you alleviate the condition. And through the mindfulness that a sustained yoga practice engenders, chances are that you'll be much more in touch and aware of your body so as to take appropriate measures to attend to any potential health problems.

Following are just some of the ways in which yoga can address a number of the most common health issues of concern to men.

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