You keep hearing how great yoga is and how everyone should be doing it. But what if you’re new to this yoga craze, you’re a dude, and you don’t know where to begin?
What are the best yoga poses for a guy to do? Here’s a list of some beginning poses that incorporate some of the foundational postures that you’ll find in yoga: grounding, balancing, core strengthening, backbends, and twists.
With the way life is trending these days, it’s not uncommon to feel really off balance. It’s a constant task to maintain a sense of calm. So many things out there seem to knock us off our feet. What can we do to feel a bit more stable?
This yoga pose may seem very basic, and that’s the point, but it’s an important one and is the root of many other yoga poses.
You’re literally standing with your feet firmly planted on the ground. Stand as tall as you can with your arms down by your side. And don’t be afraid to close your eyes and take some deep breaths. It’s a nice way to shut out the world for a minute, plus, it improves your posture.
When you have some time to spare in your busy day, stand up, and step into Mountain Pose. This pose is also one of our favorite’s for using yoga to stay fit on holiday. Imagine your feet becoming a part of the ground.
Now, take deep breaths to center yourself.
This may sound like a bunch of “mumbo-jumbo,” but it really does help a guy get his head on straight when the world is spinning around him. (And just to throw out some more of that yoga-lingo, Mountain Pose helps you feel centered and connected. It allows you to tune in to yourself.)
In addition to Mountain Pose, a great (and easy) grounding posture, is another set of poses that involve balancing. Very much related to grounding and centering, finding balance in this ever-swaying life can be an essential element to practice.
Things are so unpredictable out there and it’s easy to feel like the rug has been swept from under your feet. Practicing balancing poses help your body and our mind stay strong and steady even when the winds are howling out there trying to knock you down.
This posture has you standing on one foot. Just like in Mountain Pose, root one foot strongly into the ground. Raise the other foot and place it on the inside of your standing leg (calf level works fine here). Then, lift your arms into the air.
Try to stand like this for at least 30 seconds. Don’t worry if you wobble or fall out of the pose. (That’s supposed to happen; it’s ok.)
It will take time to be able to hold this posture for a longer period of time. The more you practice a pose like this, the better you’ll be able to balance all those other things NOT related to yoga.
People have said that yoga will make you strong. That is definitely true, especially if you commit to yoga for life! Many poses involve core engagement in order to hold certain positions. A great way to start is with the following pose.
Sit on the floor. Lean back so you can lift your feet off the floor. It’s recommended that you flex your feet to keep your legs engaged. Hold onto the bend in your knees to keep your upper body lifted, but you’ll maintain that leaning back position in your body. (Essentially, your body is forming the shape of a “V,” but it’s ok to keep your knees bent.)
The key here is to take a long inhale to lengthen your spine, and a slow exhale to engage your abdominal muscles. Hold this pose for at least 30 seconds while you’re still breathing in and out. Eventually, you’ll be able to hold this posture for much longer.
This posture fosters great strength in your center. It even makes you stand up taller and adds a sense of confidence to your demeanor. Having this core strength allows you to take on challenges and face obstacles that you thought were impossible.
Further, core strength provides full body support. When you engage your ab muscles, you create a bracing feeling throughout your body that fully supports you. That physical support translates well to mental and emotional support in the long run, too.
And it goes without saying, core postures, like Boat Pose, define your abs, too. Who doesn’t want a ripped six pack for those beach holidays in Mykonos or Fort Lauderdale! Or at any number of gay yoga retreats around the world…
BEND OVER BACKWARD
Much of our daily activities involve being hunched over: we are bent over our computers at the office and our steering wheels while sitting in traffic. This can bring havoc to our posture; you’ll end up in a constant slouching position. Not good! Practicing backbends can counteract that hunch-back feeling.
After you practice Boat Pose, lie back on the floor, knees bent, and feet firmly planted into the floor. (Recall that grounding feeling you practiced in Mountain and Tree Pose.)
Take a deep breath in to fill up your lungs and open your chest. When you exhale, press your feet strongly into the ground and lift your hips off the floor. This is the Bridge Pose. Another basic posture, but demonstrates the re-opening of the front body that we all need.
Not only is this a great antidote to that slouching body, but it also stretches and opens your thighs, hips, and abs.
TWIST & SHOUT
Another set of poses that you want to add to your new yoga regime is twisting postures. Why are these important? When you think about your most common movements, you do a lot of twisting and turning. This can create a lot of wear-and-tear on your back and hips.
Might be a good idea to strength these areas and twisting postures can help with that.
Sit up from your Bridge Pose and cross your legs. To set up the pose, do these things first: place your left hand on your right knee and place your right hand on the floor behind you.
Now you’re ready to twist.
Take a deep breath in to sit up as tall as you can and when you exhale, engage your abs, then take a mild rotation toward the right. Now, you DON’T have to twist too far. That’s not the point. You’re just creating a mild twist to engage your oblique muscles.
Hold this posture for a few breaths. Holding this pose will strengthen the areas around your rib cage, back, and hips. Be sure to repeat this on the other side.
Remember, these are basic postures, but they pack a big punch. They are designed to get you started in a regular yoga practice and provide a great benefit to you as you’re starting out. You’ll notice a difference in your body (and mind) pretty quickly. So what are you waiting for? Try some of these poses today.