is becoming more popular among men, and for good reason: Besides getting
rid of stress and increasing flexibility, it may lower the risk of heart
disease, depression, and high blood pressure.
Bloom calls himself a yoga "crazy" By day, the 52-year-old Bloom
is a practicing dentist. Two or three times a week, though, after leaving
his office, you'll find Bloom at the Greater Baltimore Yoga Center. There,
for an hour and a half, he practices a form of hatha yoga known as Iyengar.
Bloom came to yoga quite by accident about five years ago.
An ad offering a free week of yoga classes spurred him on, and he's been
hooked ever since. "It's a great way to improve your strength, become
more flexible, and relieve stress," says Bloom. "It really calms
Though Bloom says that his ultimate goal is to practice yoga every day,
he admits that a hectic schedule makes that difficult. But, he adds, even
the two or three times a week he does make it to yoga class has a strong
influence on his daily routine. "It just spills over into your everyday
life," he says. "You learn to do your life like you do your
yoga ... to be centered, to breathe more calmly, and to be focused. Little
things don't bother you as much."
Calming the mind not only makes day-to-day living easier, says Robert
Bulgarelli, DO, FACC, who practices integrative and preventive cardiovascular
medicine at Cardiovascular Associates of Southeastern Pennsylvania, it
also has far-reaching effects when it comes to protecting men (and women,
too) from the physical damages of stress.
"Yoga, with its combination of meditation and breathing, helps get
the mind and body in sync," says Bulgarelli. Men, he goes on to say,
frequently downplay the stress that they're feeling, and as a result,
tend to develop heart disease at an earlier age than women.