Everywhere you look there are females gracing photos and covers of yoga articles, but where are the males? This is an article dedicated for the male counterparts out there, and even more so, for the macho man that may think that yoga is too feminine.
Let’s first tackle the common misconception that yoga is a “women’s thing”. There is this stereotype that yoga is not masculine enough. While this is inaccurate, it is also misleading. It is true that a man’s body moves differently than a woman’s, however, the benefits are still the same for man or woman. Many men do not believe that yoga is an exercise. The only way to change your mind is by trying a yoga class. Yoga has been around for thousands of years with its origins dating back to India, where men were the main teachers of yoga.
Krishnamacharya is a well-known male teacher, whom had invented Ashtanga Vinyasa. Many of his fellow students learned and adapted their own practice of yoga. Today, however, many men do not believe that this ancient art can benefit them. Athletes have been using yoga for years to promote balance, focus, and flexibility. It is not just women that reap the benefits of yoga. Many men are beginning to take on the role of yogi and with good reason too. It has a decompression effect on men while reducing stress and preventing injuries.
Men, you do not realize that yoga can help to increase your endurance and prevent harmful injuries. You can use it in your warm up, cool down, or simply a workout. Muscles shorten if they do not stretch, another reason why yoga is the answer. Yoga elongates the muscles and aid in the prevention of injury.
Some men refer that yoga is only for “chicks and hippies”, this cliche’ has caused many men to not want to try a yoga practice or a class. When one does, he might feel awkward being the only male in the class or one of just a couple men, however, there are many men that would be willing to try it, if only the masculine stereotype wouldn’t get in the way. Yoga is a celebration by all and is not centered on one particular group. It is for men and women of all ages and size. You do not have to have six pack abs or a strong core to begin a yoga regimen. You just have to start.
Here are the top five poses that you can do at the gym or at home. What do you have to lose?
Begin on your hands and knees. Your hands should be directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Tuck your toes and lift your knees off the floor. Your pelvis should be pushing toward the ceiling. Bring your body into the shape of an upside down “V”. Hold for up to a minute. This is a standing pose and mild inversion that stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, and spine.
Step or jump your feet 3-5feet apart, depending on your height. Turn your right foot out 90 degrees so your toes are pointing straight forward. Take your left foot and turn it inwards so that it is at a 45 degree angle. Align your front heal with your back heal. Pelvis should be turned toward the front of your mat. Raise both arms to the sky as you look up. This pose stretches the whole front side, while strengthening the thighs.
Warrior II pose
From Warrior I, you are going to drop your shoulders and take your hands, shoulder height, so that they are parallel to the floor. Your arms should be in line with your legs. Palms down. Do not lean into your front leg. Keep your core firm and centered in the middle. This pose opens your hips, while strengthening the muscles in your thighs and buttocks.
Begin on your hands and knees. Wrists under your shoulders. Spread your fingers and press down through your forearms and hands. Tuck your toes and step back with your feet hip width apart. Keep your body aligned; hands under shoulders. This pose tones all of the core muscles, while strengthening the shoulders and arms.
Begin lying on your stomach with arms at your sides. Keeping your forehead rested you are going to extend the legs straight and up behind you. Inhaling, raise your head to look forward. On the exhale, lift your chest and arms. Hold for one minute. This pose strengthens the whole back while increasing flexibility for your spine.
Marcus Aurelius stated, ” Nowhere can a man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul”. So what are you waiting for? If you have never tried yoga, then I suggest that you attempt it before you decide on whether yoga is or isn’t for you.