Yoga is an ancient practice that can offer immense physical, mental and spiritual benefits for men. It can help you become more flexible, build strength, alleviate stress, and improve your focus – all of which can help you become a more balanced and mindful individual. Although yoga can be intimidating for men, who are often athletically-inclined, there are plenty of poses designed for all levels, from beginner to advanced. With regular practice and the below poses, you can benefit from the many advantages yoga has to offer.
1. Downward-Facing Dog
The Downward-Facing Dog is a classic and very popular yoga pose. It has numerous benefits, such as alleviating stress, strengthening the shoulders, improving balance and even relieving back pain. To do this pose, start on all fours. Keep your back flat and raise your hips so your body shifts into an upside-down “V” shape. Relax your neck and try to straighten your arms and legs as much as you can. Breathe and stay for five to 10 breaths.
2. Warrior I
The Warrior I is also an excellent pose for men since it offers serious physical benefits. It helps to strengthen the legs, stretches the hips and groin, and increases mobility in the entire legs and feet. To do Warrior I, stand with your feet wide apart and spread your arms parallel to the floor. Turn your left foot so your toes point away from your body and extend your right heel over your toes. Bend your left knee, keeping it in line with your ankle. Your right leg should still be straight. Hold the pose while breathing. Return to standing, switch legs and repeat.
3. Standing Forward Bend
The Standing Forward Bend is a great way to stretch the hamstrings and hips. If flexibility is an issue, keep your legs slightly bent. Start by standing with your feet directly beneath your hips. Keeping your legs straight and your back flat, slowly hinge at the hips, bringing your torso towards your legs. Place your hands on your shins or on the floor before you. Allow your back to relax and stay for five to 10 breaths. To come out of the pose, slowly roll up vertebrae-by-vertebrae.
4. Plank Pose
The Plank is another great pose for building strength in the arms, shoulders, chest and even the abdominals. To perform a Plank, start on all fours and then lower yourself onto your forearms. Form a straight line with your body, keeping your legs and back straight. Make sure to keep your abdominals pulled in and your glutes tight. Hold the pose while breathing. When you are finished, lower your knees to the floor.
5. Bridge Pose
The Bridge is another excellent pose for developing flexibility and strength. It can also help improve digestion and reduce stress. To do a Bridge, start on your back and then bend your knees, bringing the soles of your feet towards your hips. Lift your hips up and clasp your hands beneath them. Squeeze your thighs and glutes and, using your arms for leverage, lift your hips higher. Keeping your chest lifted, stay for five to 10 breaths. Release your hands and slowly lower your body back down.