Basic Poses to Help You Strengthen and Stretch Your Muscles
Whether you powerlift, shoot hoops, or love to golf, these yoga poses for men can help improve your performance in whatever activity you enjoy.
Men often complain of lower back pain,
tightness in their hips, and stiff or sore shoulders. This is often the result
of sitting for long hours or performing the repetitive movements required for
many jobs. However, men also have a tendency to focus solely on the muscles
needed for a specific sport, which can lead to over training. And, over
training can lead to injuries.
Yoga Poses for Men
Almost every man who has participated in
some type of sport – whether it be hockey or baseball or a 5K marathon - knows the pain of a pulled groin muscle or an
injured hamstring. You know what it's like to “throw your back out” while
dancing at a wedding. And, don't even mention the sciatica flare-up after a
hard workout at the gym.
Full Body Yoga
A lot of injuries can be prevented by taking
a more balanced approach to exercise and focusing on the full body, rather
than using only those muscles needed for a particular activity. Yoga is the
perfect solution because it will help you improve both your strength and
flexibility while also working your entire body.
Yoga is for Everyone
The word “Yoga” can be rather intimidating,
especially if you picture pretzel-twisting movements. But, here is the good
news: while the practice does have some very complicated twisty-turvy poses,
the ones that provide the most benefits are actually quite simple. Anyone can
do them, even the most inflexible of men. And, most of these poses can be added
into any workout so you don't necessarily have to dedicate an entire session to
10 Basic Yoga Poses for Men
With these basic yoga poses for men, you can transition
from one movement to the next effortlessly. And, the entire list will only take
about 5-10 minutes to complete. It is so easy, but it gets results. Within a
few weeks, you will be enjoying all the benefits that Yoga has to offer.
Stretches and strengthens your feet, core, and thighs; improves posture.
Stand with your big toes together. You may wish to separate your
heels slightly so your knees and ankle bones are not touching.
Make sure your weight is balanced evenly and your feet are firmly
rooted on the floor.
Engage your quads. This motion will cause your kneecaps to rise
Tighten your core, lengthen you spine, keep your shoulders down and
relaxed (not pulled up toward your ears).
Subtly reach the crown of your head toward the ceiling to elongate
Hold this position for one minute, concentrating on inhaling and
**All movements should be subtle. The
purpose is to focus on proper alignment and posture while also strengthening
specific muscles. If you feel like a tin soldier, you are probably too stiff.
Standing Forward Bend
Stretches the hamstrings, calves, hips, and spine; strengthens legs and knees releases tension in the neck, shoulders, and lower back.
Begin in Mountain Pose
Tuck your chin towards your chest
Exhale as you gently bend forward at the hips
Place your hands next to your feet
If you are unable to reach your feet, fold your arms across your chest, grabbing your elbows with opposite hands
If you feel too much tension in your lower back or hamstrings, bend your knees slightly
Relax your head, neck, and shoulders. Let gravity do its job.
Hold the pose for 30-60 seconds
Slowly roll back up to mountain pose, releasing the arms to your sides.
Stretches and strengthens legs, shoulders, hips, chest, and groin muscles; relieves back pain.
Begin in Mountain Pose
Step your legs out so they are about 3-4 feet apart
Turn your left foot out to a 90 degree angle
Keep the toes of your right foot pointing forward
Keeps your hips square, facing forward
Extend your arms straight out to the side, parallel to the floor
Bend your left knee to a 90 degree angle, keeping your thigh parallel to the floor and the knee directly over the ankle.
Your right leg should be straight with your foot flat on the floor, toes pointing forward.
Turn your head to the left so you are looking at the fingertips of your left hand.
Make sure to turn only your head; keeping your torso facing forward
Hold this pose for 30-60 seconds
Straighten your left leg, turn your toes forward, lower your arms and return to Mountain Pose.
Repeat on other side.
Extended Side Angle Pose
Stretches groin, hamstrings, shoulders, and back; strengthens knees, legs, and ankles; tones abs; improves sleep.
Begin in Mountain Pose
Step your legs out until they are about 3-4 feet apart. You may need to widen the stance if you are taller
Turn your left foot out to a 90 degree angle. The heel of your left foot should be in line with the arch of your right foot.
Bend your left leg to a 90 degree angle, thigh parallel to the floor, and your knee directly over your ankle.
Place your left forearm on your left thigh, keeping your back straight.
Keep your torso facing forward. Do not turn it toward your bent leg
Raise your right arm straight up towards the ceiling, then stretch it over your head until your right bicep is touching your right ear, turn your head toward your raised arm so you are looking towards the ceiling.
Your hips, chest, and right leg should form a straight line
Hold for 30-60 seconds
Lower your arm, and return to Mountain Pose
** For a greater challenge, remove your left arm from your left thigh and place your palm next to the inside of your left foot.
** For an even greater challenge, place your palm on the outside of your left foot
** For flow of movement, you can transition right into this pose from Warrior II
Strengthens and stretches abs, hip flexors, spine, and arms
Begin in a seated position with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor
Place your hands on the floor slightly behind your hips, fingertips facing forward
Engage your core muscles, lean back slightly, and lift your feet off the floor
Slowly straighten your legs (they should be at about a 45 degree angle)
Extend your arms out in front of you until they are parallel to the floor, palms facing each other
Keep your back straight; try not to round your spine
Hold this pose for 30-60 seconds
As you exhale, bend your knees and lower your legs and arms
** If this is too difficult, you can leave your knees bent throughout the entire exercise
** Place your hands under your thighs for extra support if necessary
Strengthens hips, ankles, calves, and back;
stretches shoulders and chest; tones legs and glutes
.Begin in Mountain Pose
Stretch your arms above your head, lengthening the spine
You may keep your arms parallel with palms facing each other or join
your palms together
Exhale as you bend your knees to a 90 degree angle (or as close as
possible) and lean your upper body forward to about a 45 degree angle
Keep your back and neck straight
Hold the pose for 30-60 seconds, inhaling and exhaling deeply
Straighten your legs, lower your arms, and return to Mountain Pose
Downward Facing Dog
Strengthens feet, shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arms, legs, core; relieves lower back pain and releases tension in the neck and shoulders. The Downward Dog is an excellent pose for the runner...post run.
Begin on all fours with your knees and feet about hip width apart, hands about shoulder width apart
Making sure your hands are firmly rooted to the floor, slowly lift your knees off the ground until your legs are straight
If you have tight hamstrings, keep a slight bend in your knees
Press your heels toward the floor
Keep your head between your arms and your neck relaxed
Engage your core and squeeze your thigh muscles
Hold this pose for 30-60 seconds then return to your hands and knees
**Walking your hands forward or backward will change the intensity of the stretch
**You can move into Downward Facing Dog from a classic push-up position, so it is very easy to add this pose to your workout.
I will continue to share ideas about diet and exercise that have helped me along the way. If you have any questions I can help you with, or if you have any ideas you want to share, feel free to contact me or visit our Q&A forum.
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