Here’s a compilation of 5 key yoga poses for men to jump start your practice. Let’s face it. Guys are built differently than gals. While yoga is accessible to men and women equally, there are certain poses that prove more difficult for the male anatomy. You’re either born with strength or flexibility; but not both. The good news is that yoga has the ability to both strengthen and increase flexibility. These 5 simple yoga poses will prepare your body for a satisfying and fulfilling yoga practice.
Men are naturally built with a lot of upper body strength. This translates to tight chest and shoulder muscles that make certain poses more challenging (like those Chaturanga push-ups your yoga teacher loves so much). Up-Dog will give your chest and shoulders an effective, deep stretch.
From the top down, Down Dog has some awesome benefits. While your head hangs heavy, it’s helping to release tension from the neck. As your heels reach towards the mat, your hamstrings and Achilles tendons are deeply stretched. This pose will prepare you for other poses that require flexibility.
Twists are incredibly good for the spine. A lot of guys will work out hard at the gym, but not follow up with adequate stretching. The spine needs to be stretched as well, especially after weight-bearing exercises. Twists decompress the spine and help to re-hydrate the spinal column keeping discs hydrated and preventing deterioration.
Pigeon Pose is a hip opener. Men typically have less flexibility in the hip flexors, and this tightness over time can lead to a decrease in range of motion. Fascia is a fibrous tissue that coats muscles in the body. Think of it as saran wrap that gets tighter over time. The way to loosen this fascia is by deep stretching. Holding pigeon pose for several breaths will help to loosen the hip joint and gain flexibility over time.
Balance is another aspect of yoga that men often need help with. Start simple with Tree Pose. This requires balancing on one leg. Start by bringing your right foot to rest on the inside of your left ankle. Bring your hands to heart center and balance there for five breaths. Repeat on the opposite side. Next time, bring your right foot to rest on your left calve, and then work to bring it all the way up to your inner thigh. This will build focus, balance, and confidence.
Incorporating these 5 poses into your yoga routine will make you flexible and balancing with the best of them in no time. Enjoy.