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The notion that yoga is a fitness routine designed only for females is archaic thinking. In fact, there are almost as many male yogis as female gurus. This gender-neutral exercise improves flexibility, builds muscle strength, and increases stamina. Plus, regular practice helps improve circulation, lower blood pressure, and protect the body from injuries. Here are five poses you should learn to master ASAP!

Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

The Forward Fold is the ultimate warm-up exercise. Not only does it stretch the hips calves, and hamstrings, but also the pose helps build strength in the legs and knees. Combined with slow, steady breathing, it eases tension and improves circulation.

Master this Pose: Let gravity do its work. You can slightly bend the knees if your hamstrings are tight.

Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Besides stretching the body from the feet to the shoulders, this posture offers a host of benefits. It loosens challenging tight areas in the arms, back, hips, and calves. Furthermore, this pose helps strengthen the heart, reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and build upper body strength.

Master this Pose: Concentrate on lengthening the spine.

Chair Pose (Utkatasana)

This pose may appear simple, but it can make water well up in the eyes of the manliest men. You need to engage your quads, buttocks, knees, and arms to master this pose. But, the benefits of toned core muscles, strong feet and thigh muscles, and increased ankle mobility make it worth the effort.

Master this Pose: Keep the knees bent hip-width apart, move the hips back and the chest forward. The arms should remain above the head aligned with the ears.

Crescent Lunge (Anjaneyasana)

The Crescent Lunge is the perfect pose for transitioning between the Chair Pose and the Warrior I stance. It’s a favorite among men who enjoy high-impact workouts. Maintaining this posture strengthens the upper and lower body and opens the hip flexors and groin muscles.

Master this Pose: Keep the torso over the hips and do not allow the knee to go past the ankle.

Warrior I (Virabhadrasana)

You will never question whether yoga is challenging enough for a man once you try the Virabhadrasana posture. Holding the position for 10 breaths opens areas that you didn’t even realize were tight. Most importantly, the Warrior I will build muscles around sensitive joints to provide stability and protection while playing sports.

Master this Pose: Distribute the weight evenly across the ball of your big toe, baby toe, and the center of your heel. Widen the stance if you feel off balance.