The Best Yoga Postures and Poses for Men
More and more men are finding the benefits of yoga. According to the 2016 Yoga in America study, more men are getting on the mat. Currently, 28 percent of all yoga practitioners in the United States are male, up from 17.8 percent in 2012. That's 10 million male yogis!
So why are more men getting their yoga on?
Many stretches and bodyweight exercises are yoga moves. They just aren’t called yoga outside the context of a yoga session.
It’s time to push back the idea that yoga is somehow inherently female. Although many female fitness models and influencers proudly use yoga as a part of their wellness routine, they aren’t doing it because yoga is more beneficial for females.
This is because it’s one of the most effective ways to improve the human body’s performance with minimal stress or strain.
Why Men Should Do Yoga
Yoga might be more beneficial for some men than it is for some women. Although yoga can improve flexibility and range of motion in everyone, most poses target zones where men typically have the most complaints.
Yoga is also a destressing mechanism, which plenty of men would appreciate adding to their busy lives.
Yoga for Your Physical Health
Yoga is excellent at addressing muscle tightness as working out without stretching leaves tightness in your muscles. A few minutes of yoga is an effective way to prepare for a more rigorous workout. You’ll get into high-intensity activity feeling loose and limber.
If you work a desk job or find yourself sitting most of the day, you might develop muscle soreness from remaining sedentary. Even if you’re incredibly determined to work out, you might find that it’s more taxing or painful than it needs to be.
Try yoga for a few weeks to help alleviate the stiffness you’re feeling and create a pathway to enter into more intense workouts. Yoga can increase athletic endurance and boost your strength while priming your body for strenuous physical activity.
Another bonus: yoga counts as cardiovascular exercise. So if you don’t like the treadmill, yoga is a great alternative.
Yoga for Your Overall Wellness
Many people use yoga as a way to de-stress. Yoga focuses on deep, calming breaths and keeping your mind clear. It’s a slow and patient process that brings the chaos of life to a halt, even if only for a few moments.
People claim to feel an improvement to their mood after yoga due to the endorphins from the exercise. After all, yoga is an act of self-care, and self-care isn’t gendered.
Everyone deserves to look good, feel good, and spend time tending to their own needs. If yoga leaves you feeling better, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t try a session or two every week. Thanks to YouTube, you can even do it at home.
1. Downward Dog
Downward dog is one of the yoga poses that people new to yoga are often familiarized with. It is the best pose for stretching the shoulders, hands, core, lower back, hips, hamstrings, and feet.
This simple move targets so many vital zones effectively. If you want to take a “one and done” approach to yoga, downward dog is effective enough to be used alone.
Getting Into Position
The downward dog starts on your hands and knees. Keep your knees and legs at hip-width and your hands at shoulder width. Press your weight into the palms of your hands and lift your knees, coming up onto your toes.
Walk your hands forward and your feet backward until your body forms a triangle with the ground, where your pelvis makes the top point.
Keep your head facing down, and clench your abdominal muscles to engage your core. Breathe deeply and stay stable, holding the position for at least two minutes.
Pause for a minute or two, and repeat.
Repeating the position once or twice is perfect for beginners, but as your body gets accustomed to it, you may choose to hold the pose for longer periods or repeat the move a few more times.
2. Forward Fold
The forward fold pose is one you’ll want to use on leg day. Before you start squatting or get into deadlifts, stretch your hips, calves, and hamstrings with this pose.
This pose also works to strengthen the entirety of your legs, including your knees. Forward fold is the perfect move for runners, especially if they’re training for an extreme event.
Getting Into Position
With your feet hip-width apart, bending at the waist. Bend your knees as much as you need to turn them to take pressure off of your hamstrings and back. Grab your ankles from behind.
When you’re in this pose, you’re going to be very aware of gravity. You might feel like you’re pulling towards the floor. That’s perfectly okay.
Keep your head and neck loose. Move your torso around until you find a comfortable position. If slowly rocking your upper body side to side makes the pose more comfortable, go for it. Hold it for a minute and slowly stand up.
The bridge pose can be an awkward one to maneuver, but once you get it, you’ll realize why everyone does it. This pose is excellent for your neck, spine, hips, and core.
If you’re the kind of person who likes to visit your chiropractor for adjustments regularly, you’ll find that the bridge pose is the next best thing. The bridge pose makes it easier to get a nice deep breath while taking pressure off the joints and bones that are often sore.
Getting into Position
Start by laying flat on your back. Put your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Raise your knees and walk your legs until you can touch your ankles with the tips of your fingers.
Keep your hands palm-down on the ground, inhale, and push your hips up toward the sky. Make sure your feet and knees stay in a straight line. Hold the pose for 30 to 45 seconds, extending your hips every time you inhale. Slowly exhale on the way down.
Yoga is Self-Care, and Self-Care is Important
After you’ve done a few yoga poses, it will be easy to understand just how much better your body feels when you’ve stretched it appropriately. If you often experience sudden aches and pains, regular yoga might help keep the stiffness in your body at bay. It will also make you a better athlete by helping you discover new aspects of body mechanics and balance.
Whether your idea of self-care is doing yoga or pampering yourself with our natural skincare line, it’s important to give yourself time to relax and recharge. At Caldera + Lab, we fully support natural ways to look better, feel better, and invest in your self-care.