Back pain? Stiff shoulders? No problem, yoga is the answer. Yes, even if you are a man.
The great thing about yoga is there is NO ego. It is true that some men still find it difficult to try. But, in this article, I will show you why this has to change now.
Yoga for men is just as beneficial as it is for women. Read on to learn more about the benefits of yoga for men, and how to get yourself ready for yoga classes. So, let’s get right into it!
The Benefits of Yoga for Men
1. Builds muscles
If you think yoga is all about doing some stretches, you’re wrong. It requires a lot of strength and so over time, it will help you grow your muscles.
Of course, you don’t have to be too flexible to start. Just as you don’t have too strong to lift weights at the gym. Everyone can give it a try and so should you.
2. Helps you lose weight and improve overall gut health
Bending, stretching, breathing, and changing positions will all massage your inside organs, and this boosts your metabolic rate immediately.
Yoga also teaches you how to be mindful of your eating, and sleeping habits and thus lose time over time. It will change your lifestyle for the better.
3. Relieves pain
Sitting for long periods of time can cause neck and back pain. Yoga is one of the best ways to relieve this pain in a gentle way and give you better alignment while also strengthening your back, neck, and shoulders.
As time goes by, you will realize how your posture improves and this will prevent any future injury.
4. Refreshes your body
Yoga will make you feel lively and full of vitality both inside and out, regardless of your age. This, of course, does not happen overnight, so you must commit to a consistent regimen, even if it is only three times a week.
5. Reduces stress
Yoga helps you improve your mental health by clearing and calming your mind in an organic way. It will help you get rid of all of the negativity in your life and replace it with happy feelings. Your mood will improve and your lifestyle will be full of positive vibes.
6. Improves your sex life
Men of all ages can benefit from yoga when it comes to sex. Because Yoga helps you reduce stress levels and boosts a healthy lifestyle, this will increase your sexual performance as you gain more confidence.
7. Strengthens your bones
Certain yoga poses can help you improve your range of motion, overall mobility, and bone health.
8. Motivates you to reach your dreams
When you learn new yoga poses (especially difficult ones) and make progress, this will help you push yourself physically and mentally toward achieving new goals in life. The sky will be the limit at that point!
Online Men Yoga Programs/Classes
Now that you are familiar with the benefits, it is time to get started. Of course, you do not have to have a yoga instructor at first or go to a studio or something. You can find plenty of online classes to help you get going.
If you find a class with descriptions that include words like “power yoga,” “yoga for athletes,” “yoga for runners,” or even just “Vinyasa flow,” you’re looking at programs that will give you a tough and intensive workout. Such programs will help you improve your range of motion and balance.
With that being said, there are so many programs and online classes out there and so how do you know where to start and what to avoid?
Worry not! I have done all the research on your behalf. Whether you are new to yoga, or already have some experience,
I’ve put together a list of 5 online programs to help you get started at the convenience of your own home:
1. Yoga Dose Program
It is an excellent program if you are looking to boost your body strength and muscular mass through yoga. They have this YouTube channel where you can watch free classes that will help you enhance your physical and mental health.
Take your pick from videos on core stability, hip stability, and even cardiac yoga, then grab your yoga mat and give it a try straight away!
2. Within MVMNT Program
This program is run by Jason Jacques and he created this excellent series of yoga workouts for men.
In no time, his unique blend of power yoga and full-body mobility exercises will have you feeling stronger and more mobile than you have in years.
The videos, which range in length from 30-45 minutes, usually start with the basics and then gradually go to new or evolved versions of conventional poses that will strengthen your core, challenge your stability, and focus on mindful movement.
You can follow up with his classes here.
3. Breathe and flow program
This program offers a range of yoga classes, and its YouTube channel has an entire playlist dedicated to men’s yoga.
This platform was actually created by a couple who left their careers in Silicon Valley to travel the world teaching yoga. “Bre and Flo” are their true names! What a heavenly connection!
Get started here.
4. Man Flow Yoga Program
Dean Pohlman, the yogi behind this popular program, offers regular online classes on his website as well as on YouTube.
He is one of the most popular choices for guys starting yoga at home, and his programs were created in collaboration with physical therapists, making him an excellent choice if you have any spinal health issues.
You can catch up with his classes here.
5. Broga Yoga Program
It is an online program that focuses on yoga for men. They provide yoga classes for those who want to de-stress while also strengthening their bodies. The poses in this program are designed to tone your muscles, strengthen your core, and calm your mind.
They also provide yoga teacher training programs. Access to their yoga streaming classes does not cost that much, and you can also try their martial arts or “HIIT” programs if you want to mix it up a little bit.
15 Yoga Poses for Men to Start
Great, so now you know what the benefits of yoga are and what programs to choose. So, let’s get started with 3 simple yoga poses first and then go into more advanced and challenging ones:
Yoga Poses for Men Beginner
1. The Warrior pose
This pose will provide space in the hips, which is where men need it the most.
It strengthens your knees and extends the rest of your body muscles.
How to practice
- Start in a standing position and move your left foot one metre behind you.
- Now bend your right knee forward until it is parallel to your right ankle, in a lunge-like position.
- Maintain a forward-facing chest and pelvis while pushing your tailbone toward the floor with your weight.
- Lengthen your spine and lift your chest by extending your arms upwards, while you turn your palms inwards.
- Finally, hold the position for about 20 seconds or so to improve your core strength.
2. The Half-Bridge pose
This pose is quite easy to do as you will be lying down for the most part.
It strengthens your thigh muscles and stretches your back and hips.
How to practice
- First, lie down on your back and position your arms at your sides, with your palms towards the ground.
- Now slowly lift your pelvis, tucking your tailbone in and elevating your lower back off the floor as you inhale.
- Continue to slowly elevate your back off the floor until you reach your shoulders.
- Hold for a few seconds to expand your chest and increase your breathing capacity, which will help you in other activities.
3. The Boat pose
The boat pose is, yet again, a super easy one. It is a traditional Hatha yoga practice and focuses mainly on your abdominals.
It improves your abdominal muscles and extends your legs while strengthening the torso.
How to practice
- Lie on the floor with your legs in front of you.
- Lift your chest up and lean back slightly without rounding your spine with your hands on the floor behind your hips.
- Raise your legs as high as you can while keeping them as straight as possible.
- Now raise your arms off the floor until they’re parallel to your yoga mat, with your palms facing down.
- Repeat 2 or 3 times.
Now Let’s Get into More Challenging Yoga Poses for Men
1. Rolling Panda pose
This is a Yin yoga pose. The pose is for you if you spend most of your time sitting in front of your computer and have a lot of tension in your neck and shoulders, as well as stiffness in your upper spine.
It targets the outer layer of your shoulder and the gap between your shoulder muscle. Of course, it is not easy to do, but once you give it a try, you will get used to it.
It releases tension in your neck, shoulders, and spine. The rolling panda pose also stimulates the meridians of your kidney and urine bladder.
How to Practice
- Come to the floor on your hands, with your knees at hip-width apart.
- Relax your neck and side of the head by bringing your right arm under your left armpit and down onto your shoulder.
- Bring your left hand up above your head, making a right angle with your left elbow.
- Straighten your left leg to the side, as if in a downward dog position, and press your left foot’s ball and toes. Extending your legs this way will stop you from rolling over and looking like a “rolling panda,” as the name of the pose suggests.
- Finally, relax your neck so that it rests on the ground by looking up to your left armpit.
- Since it is a Yin pose, hold this position for at least 4 to 5 minutes.
- Once you are done, relax for two minutes, and then repeat on the other side.
2. Broken wing pose
This pose is very useful if you are someone who lifts a lot of weight in the gym. This is a very deep pose for those who need to stretch the heart and lung meridians as well as open up the front region of their chest and upper shoulders.
Similar to the rolling panda, this pose opens your inner shoulder, pec muscles, and armpit area. It also stretches the muscles in your neck and the area between your ear and shoulder. The broken wing pose also reduces any twists in your spine.
How to practice
- Place your left hand underneath your shoulder and stretch your right arm directly to the side of your body with the hand in line with the shoulder.
- Next, place your right cheek on the floor and press against your left hand.
- To target the right shoulder, bend your left knee and elevate it off the floor, positioning the foot flat beside your right hip.
- You can also wrap your left arm around your lower back.
- If it seems more comfortable, you can stretch your arms fully and get your hands behind your back.
- Bend your arm 90 degrees for a deeper stretch, but keep in mind that this is a bit difficult to do.
- Hold this position for at least 3 to 4 minutes.
3. Frog pose
This is a super-deep hip opener that targets the groin muscles, hamstrings, and glutes.
It improves hip mobility and reduces back pain. The frog pose also boosts blood circulation and can help in managing diabetes.
How to practice
- Get down on your knees while facing your mat’s long edge.
- Flex your feet so that your toes face outward and your heels are directly behind your knees.
- Walk your knees out wider than your hips.
- Now walk your hands forward and, if you have some space, lay your forearms on a bolster or the ground and try to elevate your belly off the ground.
- It is important that the knees line up with the hips so that the position resembles a frog.
- To avoid damaging your knees, it is important that you stay relaxed all throughout. It’s a good idea to cushion them with a blanket and make sure the toes roll out away from the heels.
- Hold this pose for at least 3 to 4 minutes and then repeat as needed.
4. Wide-legged Forward Bend Pose
The forward bend pose is for you if you engage your leg muscles for running, football, or cycling on a daily basis. It is also an excellent way to expand the shoulders as you get your hands and stretch them up and high above your head.
It stretches and strengthens the hamstrings, calves, feet, and glutes while also going deep into the hips and groins.
The forward bend pose also helps in the treatment and relief of headaches.
How to practice
- First, lay on your mat and make sure your feet are pretty wide. The best way to do so is by stretching your arms straight out to your sides and broadening your stance until your ankles are perfectly in line with your wrists.
- Make sure your feet are firmly planted in the ground and that your weight is distributed evenly across your feet.
- Place your hands on your hips and lock your knees in by elevating your kneecaps to engage your thighs.
- As you continue to stretch your torso and fold forward, lift your chest up and gently draw your shoulder blades closer to each other.
- Allow your neck and head to hang heavy by shifting your weight forward towards the balls of your feet. Alternatively, you can lean against the wall for a stronger and longer hold.
5. Easy Twist Pose
This pose focuses on hip mobility, which is obviously the tightest spot in most men. The easy twist pose targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors, and the deeper opening of your hips into the groin muscles.
It helps with the lower lumbar spine, while increasing power in your shoulders, and opening your chest.
How to practice
- Start in a high lunge position with the right foot in front, the knee above the ankle, and the toes of the left foot firmly pressed into the ground.
- Bring the left hand to the side of the right foot, under the shoulder.
- Get your right hand up high, fingertips wide, and maintain your focus in the same direction.
- Repeat the process on the other side.
6. High Lunge Pose
This pose targets the quads, hip flexors, and hip opening, as well as the chest opening. It engages your glutes and expands your shoulders.
It boosts your muscle mass and strengthens your overall performance.
How to practice
- Start with your right foot in front of you and the toes of your left foot firmly pressed into the ground.
- Raise your arms and extend them behind your ears to generate a tiny bend in your lower back.
- Hold for a couple of seconds.
7. Tree Pose (Foot Holding)
This pose can be difficult to master at first, especially if you lack good balance. It is a great hip opener and is usually taught in the middle of a complex sequence once you warm up your body.
The tree pose helps you maintain focus and improve balance, which is something most guys struggle with these days. It also strengthens your ankles by engaging the toes and balls of your feet.
How to practice
- Raise your left leg and hold the knee with your left hand. If you’re having trouble staying motionless, spread your standing foot’s toes and hold the floor while engaging your perineum.
- Maintain a straight back and lift your chest while activating your core.
- Once you have achieved a firm balance, try moving your hold from your knee to your left foot’s toes.
- Try straightening the leg while keeping your hold on the toes and pushing out through the ankle if it feels comfortable.
- Repeat on the other side, even if one side is considerably easier than the other.
8. Side Ninja Pose
This pose has one of the funniest titles of all the yoga poses, and it is an excellent hip opener that helps in stretching your muscles and improves flexibility.
It strengthens the hamstring and groin muscles while also stretching your lower back. Moreover, your bent leg will open your groin and hips.
This pose also strengthens the ankles and feet, particularly when you spread your toes.
How to practice
- Get to the ground and lean to the left side while bending the left leg and keeping the right leg straight.
- Try to get your bottom as close to the floor as possible while maintaining a straight spine.
- You don’t have to put your left foot entirely on the floor. Instead, you can just stay on your toes.
- Flex your right foot and point your toes up, while protecting your knee.
- Rep the process on the other side.
- To help with balance, keep your hands at the front of your chest, and squeeze them very firmly against one another as well as against your chest. This will give you more balance.
9. Upward Dog Pose
This is a backbend pose in which you lift your hips, thighs, and knees off the ground while your body’s weight is supported by your feet and palms.
This poses helps in lifting and opening your chest. It improves your posture and increases your lung capacity.
The upward dog pose also strengthens your spine, arms, wrists, and shoulder muscles.
How to practice
- Start with your hands beneath your shoulders, while lying on your chest.
- Extend your legs behind you and spread them a few inches apart.
- Lift your chest and straighten your arms as you inhale.
- Roll your toes all the way up to the top of your feet.
- Maintain a downward and backward posture with your shoulders away from your ears.
- Open your chest by pulling your shoulder blades together.
- Maintain a forward look to extend and relax your neck.
- Take 5 deep breaths and hold the position for a couple of seconds.
10. Chair Pose
This is a fantastic leg-toning pose. It brings all parts of your body together into a cohesive whole.
This pose works on your calves, ankles, hip flexors, and back to strengthen your lower body. Increase your endurance by expanding your shoulders and chest.
It also stimulates your heart, diaphragm, and abdominal organs and reduces flat feet.
How to practice
- Begin by standing tall with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Take a deep breath in and raise your arms above your head.
- Exhale while bending your knees and bringing your thighs as close to the floor as possible.
- Place your shoulder directly over your knees and open your chest.
- Maintain a flat spine by keeping the knees behind the toes.
- Make sure to maintain a forward look when doing this and not be distracted.
- Take 5 deep breaths and hold the position for about 50 seconds.
11. Cobra Pose
It is a heart-opening backbend pose that stretches your entire upper body. In fact, many athletes practice the cobra pose because it strengthens their lower back.
It stretches your lower back and prevents muscle injury. The cobra pose also builds your abdominal muscles and improves your overall balance.
How to practice
- Start by lying down on your yoga mat with your stomach gently touching the mat.
- Maintain a safe distance between your hands and your shoulders.
- Make sure the bottom surface of your feet is in contact with the ground.
- Slowly raise your head in an upward motion.
- Raise your chest and hold it there for as long as you feel comfortable.
12. Scorpion Pose
This one will not be your typical yoga pose. It is an advanced-level backbend that requires you to use your entire body to get upside down while balancing on your forearms.
It improves the flexibility of your spine and stretches your back and shoulders as well as your hip flexors and chest muscles. The scorpion pose also Increases upper-body strength and stability.
How to practice
- Start with your legs close together in a handstand.
- Bend one knee while keeping the other leg straight overhead.
- To generate a tiny backbend, lower your chest and lift your head up while sliding the toes of your bent leg in the upward direction.
- Rest for 30 seconds to help counter the intensity of this backbend pose.
How to Start a Yoga Practice?
The easiest way to start yoga as a beginner without feeling overwhelmed or frightened is to practice once or twice a week.
Now, of course, there is no magic formula for how often you should practice and it all depends on you. Needless to say that at the very start, it is really up to you whether to practice on or off a yoga mat, but of course, I highly recommend that you use a mat as you will not get in close contact with the ground.
Also, take a look at some of the classes listed above and see which one appeals to you the most. Get to the very basics and always take notes and make your own schedule especially if you are going to practice at home. These tips should help you along the way:
1. Seek advice from others
There is a good chance that you already know someone in your life who practices yoga. Ask them about their favourite lessons and whether they can recommend any beginner-friendly studios or instructors.
2. Go online and look up some yoga videos
Watching videos online is an excellent way to visualize what certain yoga poses are about. You do not need to get too caught up on this. So, 60 minutes up to 2 hours is more than enough.
What to Wear to Yoga Class?
As a beginner, you will, of course, find it difficult to decide what to wear to yoga class and it is perfectly natural so don’t worry too much about it.
Here are some tips to help you pick the right clothes to keep you comfortable throughout the lesson. These tips are based on the type of yoga you are going to practice:
1. Hatha Yoga
If you have signed up for a Hatha class, choose tight clothes that feel comfortable to the touch. Loose or flowing clothes can get you caught up when exercising.
2. Restorative or Yin yoga
With this type of yoga, loose clothes are certainly the better choice.
3. Hot yoga
With hot sessions, tighter clothing will help you here, but long pants or leggings will help you nail those arm-balance poses even if you are sweating.
- Cotton or another stretchy material is great for shorts or tracksuit bottoms.
- Wear something that not only makes you feel good but also helps you to fully appreciate how your body feels.
Yes, a lot of men are misinformed about yoga and I hope this guide has helped you better understand why yoga is important for men.
One of the common misunderstandings is that yoga is always soft, meditative, and thoughtful and that there are no physical aspects to it, which is absolutely wrong.
It’s not just about meditation. Some yoga classes, such as power yoga, are intense, sweating workouts. So, is yoga for everyone? Yes, even yoga for men.