Though yoga is often portrayed as a women’s form of exercise, the alternative therapy boasts a range of great health benefits for men, too. In fact, certain postures may even be more beneficial to men than women due to men generally boasting larger and tighter muscles. Below, we explore some of the best yoga poses for men to begin with. Before beginning, it’s worth picking up some good quality men’s yoga clothing.
Many men experience tight muscles throughout the torso. If you’re one of these people, Bridge Pose is ideal to incorporate into your workout. Through the opening up of the upper body, the posture gently releases tight muscles. When practiced regularly, Bridge Pose can create space in the chest to make breathing both fuller and easier. To allow the body to oxygenate sufficiently, it’s important to practice Bridge Pose wearing breathable men’s yoga clothing.
Start this pose laying on your back, bending your knees whilst keeping the soles of your feet touching the ground. Relax your arms, letting them drop carefully to the sides of your body. Tuck your chin into your chest and lift your buttocks and back off the floor to create a bridge. You are in Bridge Pose. Hold for 15 seconds before lowering your back and buttocks back down to the ground.
Reclining Big Toe Pose is minimizing for alleviating tension throughout the body, and in turn, helping to balance the nervous system. To begin, lie flat on your back upon your yoga mat. Gently bend both knees and place your feet on the ground. Next, lift your right leg off the mat and begin to draw your knee towards your chest. If it helps, you can use your hands to draw your knee in. Slowly straighten your left leg and rest it down on the mat. Using your fingertips, gently grip the toes of your right foot. If possible, try to straighten your right leg. If your leg doesn’t straighten all the way – that’s fine! As long as you can feel a stretch through your ankle and calf, the posture is doing its job. You are in Reclining Big Toe Pose. Hold the position for 30 seconds before switching sides.
Believe it or not, many men experience back pain that stems from tightness in the hips and hamstrings. Downward Dog gradually releases muscle tension in these areas, as well as relieving pain from tight shoulders. Better still, this posture helps to build upper body strength at the same time!
To begin, stand tall with your feet should-width apart. Bending at the waist, slowly lower your torso forward until your body forms a triangle. Your hands and feet should now be securely on the ground. If your shoulders or hamstrings feel too tight for the pose, try bending your knees slightly to make the posture easier. Spreading your fingers for additional balance, move your head forward until it is in-between your upper arms. You are in Downward Dog. For best results, breathe deeply whilst practicing the pose and hang your head gently between your shoulders.
Working to stretch the calves, hamstrings, hips, and upper body, Forward Folds are popular amongst male yogis. It’s not uncommon for excess tension to accumulate in our back, neck, and shoulders; this tension often goes unnoticed until we begin to experience headaches, poor circulation, and even insomnia. Forward Folds can combat this before it becomes an issue, allowing you to enjoy day-to-day life as you should. Additionally, regular practice of this posture can help to lower your blood pressure.
To begin the pose, stand tall with your feet directly under your hips. Gently hinge forward at the waist and begin to lower your upper body toward the floor. To ensure pressure on the lower back is minimized, remember to bend your knees generously throughout the pose. Next, take hold of your ankles and let your body hang naturally toward the floor. You are in Forward Fold. Hold the posture for 1 minute whilst breathing deeply. To increase the stretch, gently sway your torso or head from side to side.
Ideal for shifting abdominal fat, Chair Pose is a firm favorite amongst many men. Additionally, the posture works to strengthen both the thighs and the legs. With no gym necessary to practice this pose, practitioners can enjoy toning up from the comfort of their living room.
To begin, stand tall with your big toes touching. Taking a deep breath in, raise your arms above your head and point your fingertips toward the ceiling. Draw both your shoulders back as you lengthen your neck. As you exhale, bend your knees and begin to lower your bottom down and back, much like you would when sitting on a chair. At this stage, it’s important to not let your knees extend past your toes. Each time you inhale, lengthen your spine a little more. With each exhale, deepen the stretch by lowering your bottom further toward the floor. You are in Chair Pose. For best results, remember to keep your abdominal muscles engaged and ensure that your thighs are touching throughout. Hold the posture for 30 seconds whilst breathing deeply.
Whether you’re looking to stretch out your hamstrings, back, and shoulders or you’re more interested in building muscle throughout the body, practicing the above postures regularly can help you to achieve your goal. While most of these poses can be practiced from the comfort of your own home, complete novices may benefit from attending a local yoga class to begin with. There, an experienced instructor can ensure you are practicing each posture correctly and help to minimise risk of injury. Before attending a local class, it’s a good idea to pick up some flexible yoga clothes for men to ensure that your movement isn’t restricted during the session.