The Best 5 Yoga Poses for Men Just Starting
Too tight for yoga?
It can seem that way sometimes.
To this day, as I lay my legs out for a seated forward fold, I wonder if I'll ever feel comfortable even in the starting position for this pose. My hamstrings say otherwise.
This sort of frustration can come up a lot for men just starting a yoga practice. We're often tight all over the body, with typical trigger points being the shoulders, chest, hips and back of the legs.
There's plenty for us to struggle with, but this also means we don't need the more advanced poses to get a great stretch.
In fact, some of the most basic poses can benefit us the most.
So here's a selection of poses any man can do, regardless of flexibility, that'll all give a great release in those key areas.
Being a gentle compound upper-body movement, Catcow is a great way to begin any practice. Warming up the spine, opening the shoulders and releasing the lower back.
For me, the Cat stretch is the best movement to work into those deep knots between the shoulders and neck. Those golf balls we all seem to carry there – you know the ones.
This is the only active movement in the list, but I've included it because for a man, it's probably the most efficient movement we can do in order to target multiple trigger points simultaneously. After chest day at the gym this is an absolute dream to do.
Standing Forward Fold
So while this one isn't an active movement either -– gravity should be doing all the work – you may find your legs engaging a lot if they're super tight.
That being said, there's nothing to gain by forcing this one. The hamstrings will resist any strong pull on them, so bend your knees as much as you need to.
To increase the stretch without pulling into your hamstrings, you can suck in your belly to create more space to fold into on the front end.
Most men will find this pose difficult. Don't be discouraged if you can't reach anywhere near the floor. You may well find that your legs are in a very deep bend, but that's okay.
The great resting pose of yoga.
It's one you can comfortably hold for long periods of time, while still getting a truly nourishing stretch.
You'll feel this gently stretch the hips, decompress the lower back and elongate the spine. It's such a relaxing position, this is a stretch you won't want to come out of.
There's a few variations to play with, so take the time to explore them. Knees out wide let's you sink deeper into the hips, and having your arms out front gives you an added stretch into the front of your body.
Child's pose – the gift that keeps on giving.
When it comes to hip openers, few people stand to benefit as much as the typical male. Ironically, those men can't jump straight into full hip opening poses without risking injury. Go figure..
Poses like Full Pigeon are very strong stretches because your weight is pushing you deeper into the stretch. It's easy to go too deep or completely collapse.
I've never pulled my groin before but I've had some touch and go moments – it's never worth the risk..
That's why the reclining version of Pigeon is great for beginners. Lying on the floor protects the back, and let's you dictate the strength of the stretch. You can keep your bottom foot planted on the floor for a passive stretch or make it an active stretch by grabbing behind the leg and lifting it towards you.
I've naturally done this every morning long before I discovered yoga. It's perfect for a big waking stretch, or after a long day at the desk.
It's a straightforward passive twist, but it's still a powerful full-body stretch – opening up the back, chest, shoulders and neck with very little effort. Take a few satisfying minutes on each side and really try to relax into it.
It'll help with digestion too, I'll usually get a few gurgles every time I do this, particularly on the right side.
So here's your non-exhaustive list of beginner friendly yoga poses for men.
There are plenty of others too, but these are the ones that I feel provide maximum benefit, with minimum flexibility required.
So, non-bendy men of the world – go forth and conquer.