Before we get into the nitty gritty of this article, first we need to address a misconception surrounding men practicing yoga.
Myth: Yoga is for girls, and it is not a good workout for guys if they are trying to build muscle or get in shape. Reality: Yoga is a great way for guys to gain strength, balance, flexibility, and so much more. Plus, some of the best and most-respected athletes in the world practice yoga.
So, now that we cleared that up, let’s address some more reasons why men should practice yoga. We are not saying abandon your everyday workout routine, but it would benefit you to practice some basic yoga techniques every week. Beyond the fitness benefits, yoga is a great way to find inner relaxation, and it even aids performance in the bedroom.
We are going to take you though five basic yoga moves that can help you in any way you see fit. And for all you meat-heads out there, if you wake up sore, don’t worry. It happens to the best of us.
1. Tree pose
What it looks like: Place your right foot on the floor bringing your opposite foot up slowly. As you find your balance, shift your weight fully onto your right foot and move your left foot to your inner right calf. If it feels comfortable, slowly move your left foot up to your inner thigh. Complete the pose by bringing your hands together at your center. Take a deep breath as you press your right knee back and open up your groin. Slowly bring your lifted foot to the ground, and repeat on opposite side.
Why you should do it: Tree pose is a standard yoga pose that can strengthen your core, calves, and ankles. It will also aid your inner focus and balance.
2. Bridge pose
What it looks like: Lie on your back with your arms by your side and your knees bent. Keep your feet shoulder width apart. Exhale and push your feet and your arms into the floor. Lift your hips up so that your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Hold up position for 5 to 10 seconds, then repeat.
Why you should do it: Bridges are great ways to target hip flexors, glutes, hamstrings, and quads. It is a great pose to warm up and fire the leg muscles before a leg workout.
3. Downward-facing dog
What it looks like: From a hands-and-knees position, with knees hip-width apart and hands shoulder-width apart, press your hands into the floor and slowly raise your knees off the ground until your legs are straight. Go as slow as you like depending on how tight your hamstrings are. Then slowly move your hands forward and feet backward. Push your heels towards the ground, while remembering to relax your upper body, letting your shoulders fall while also engaging your core.
Why you should do it: Especially if you run or lift a lot and find yourself walking around with tight hamstrings, this pose is a great way to relieve tightness in the hips, hamstrings, and shoulders.
4. Boat pose
What it looks like: Sit on the floor with your knees bent and your feet placed on the floor. Lift your feet up so that your legs are at a 45-degree angle while keeping your back off the ground, also at a 45-degree angle. Reach your hands out past your glutes, placing them under your knees. Engage your core, and challenge yourself by reaching forward.
Why you should do it: The boat pose strengthens your back and abs, and it’s a great opportunity to stretch.
5. Bow pose
What it looks like: Lie on your stomach with your hands flat beside you and your palms up. Bring your toes off the ground, bending your knees and bringing your heels to your butt. Keeping your feet hip-width apart, lift your heels and thighs off the ground and arch your back as you bring your shoulders and chest off the ground. Keep head forward and breathe. Hold the pose for 20 to 30 seconds while maintaining your breathing.
Why you should do it: This is a great pose to stretch your lower back. It can also aid relaxation and help you rid yourself of anxiety.