More and more men are turning to yoga as a practice for physical health and discovering many other benefits that appear with consistent practice.
Here is a series of six great poses that are specifically put together to support men’s bodies in starting the practice of yoga, plus instructions on how to do them. You’ll need a couple of blocks (or thick books) and a belt.
1. Half down dog at the wall
Place your palms on the wall at hip height and walk back so that your body forms a right angle, with your hips directly above your heels. Press the wall with the hands and lift the sitting bones upwards to stretch the hamstring muscles. Keep the back of the neck long and in line with the spine.
2. Wide angle pose with blocks
Step the legs out wide with the toes pointing forwards. Fold forwards from the waist and place your hands on blocks. Try to keep the shoulders moving away from the ears and lengthen the crown of the head forward and the sit bones back.
3. Locust pose
Lie on the belly with palms turned upwards by the sides of the body. Lift the chest and legs and try to extend the chest forwards and the toes back. Keep the back of the neck long by gazing down to the floor, if necessary.
4. Bridge pose with block
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, knees above your heels. Place a block between the knees and lift the hips off the floor. Try to lift the chest towards the chin and lengthen the tailbone towards the backs of your knees. For a greater stretch in the shoulders and chest, you could try interlocking your fingers underneath you, pressing down with the arms and heels. Alternatively, you could hold the edges of your mat.
5. Eye of the needle pose
Cross your right ankle over the leg just above the knee – keep the right foot flexed at the ankle to protect the knee. Pick up the left foot from the floor and interlace your fingers at the back of the left thigh. Try to lengthen the tailbone away from you and breathe into the stretch. If interlacing the fingers means your head and shoulders lift up from the floor, you could try threading a scarf, belt or tie behind the thigh and holding onto the ends. Repeat on the other leg.
6. Hamstring stretch with belt
Lie on your back, lift your right leg and loop a belt over the sole of your foot. Hold both ends of the belt and extend the heel away from you. Keep the shoulders relaxed and your face soft. Extend through the heel of the left leg and press the left thigh down. (If extending the left leg out along the floor is too strong, bend the knee and place the foot flat on the floor.) Breathe into the stretch… Repeat with the other leg.
Download the sequence pdf here.
Practice with David in class – Yoga dude – an introduction for men