“The mind is the lord of the senses, but the breath is the lord of the mind.” - Yogi Swatmarama
Whether you’re working on your breathing, flexibility, or strength, yoga comes with several benefits. Yoga can have mental, physical, and spiritual benefits.
Why not take yoga classes?
Men in the UK are twice as likely as women to participate in a weekly sporting activity.
Yoga could be this activity as the benefits speak for themselves. At its core, there’s little difference between yoga if it’s more men or women, but there are certain poses and sequences that are better suited for different physiologies.
If you’re interested in getting regular exercise through yoga, here are 10 yoga poses that men can do.
1 - Warrior Pose
Virabhadrasana mean anything to you? No?
Don’t worry about it. This is the Sanskrit name for the pose that commemorates a powerful warrior known as Virabhadra.
This is one of the most iconic yoga poses and a common pose for starting sequences of poses. After a short warm-up, this is quite an easy pose to produce as you don’t need any equipment, not even a yoga mat as you can do this one standing up.
The goal of the Warrior Pose II is to centre your mind, body, and spirit. You have to do this standing up (ideally on a mat, but it’s not essential) with your legs apart.
Hold your arms out parallel to the ground with your palms facing downwards. Turn our feet outwards to form a 90-degree angle. Bend your leading leg and lunge forwards. Turn your head so that it’s looking out over your leading arm. Breathe.
Breathing is an important part of every yoga exercise. Once you’re done, you mirror the pose and do it from the other side. Namasté, warriors.
2 - Seated Forward Bend
In many forms of yoga and hatha yoga, in particular, the seated forward bend is a common pose. On a yoga mat, you essentially fold yourself in two from the hips.
The seated forward bend (Paschimottanasana) is great for stretching, controlling your breathing, and can alleviate back pains in the long-term.
Yoga can also be useful for helping men to relax.
So are you tempted?
Your local yoga studio will welcome you with open arms.
3 - Cobra Pose
Much like the seated forward bend, the cobra pose is very common in hatha yoga and good for men. Known as Bhujangasana in Sanskrit, the cobra pose is regularly featured in sun salutation sequences. Like with every yoga pose, breathing is important.
This is about balance and you do it by lying face-down on the floor and lift your head and chest upwards as you stretch out your back with the help of your upper arms. This can also help make you more flexible.
Make sure that you don’t overdo it as you can cause yourself an injury. Form is incredibly important, especially when doing poses like the cobra pose. When you get it right, it’s great for your posture and muscle pains.
4 - Low Plank
There’s a reason everyone talks about doing planks; they’re effective. They’re great for working your core, wrists, and arms. It’s also known as the four-limbed staff pose or Chaturanga Dandasana in Sanskrit and is great for male yogis.
The idea is simple: Lie with your stomach on the yoga mat and place your hands by your shoulders. Next, lift your chest and support your legs with the balls of your feet. Raise the upper part of your body until everything is level.
Now you’re in the low plank pose.
This pose is really good for men for the simple reason that it can tone your stomach and core while also teaching you how to control your breathing. It can also help relieve back pain if done right.
Repeat this a few times according to your level and fitness.
5 - Downward-facing Dog Pose
Of all the yoga poses, especially those that are good for men, the downward-facing dog is probably one of the most famous. Adho mukha svanasana in Sanskrit, this yoga pose also features in sun salutation sequences and looks like an upside-down “V”.
This is often part of a transition between poses as it can lead to many other asanas depending on whether you’re doing kundalini yoga, yin yoga, ashtanga yoga, etc.
Get down on all fours with your hands flat on the mat. Spread your legs as wide as your hips. Begin to tip-toe as you raise your hips.
The downward-facing dog pose can be used to stretch out your spinal column, relax the limb, alleviate tension, and slow your heart rate. In short, a must for any man doing yoga.
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6 - Upward-facing Dog Pose
Much like the cobra pose, the upward-facing dog pose (Urdhva mukha svanasana) pose is great for men. You start on the floor, much like with the cobra pose.
In addition to raising your torso, you’ll also lift your hips. You’ll use your arms to lift yourself while working on your strength and balance.
It also will strengthen your abs and spine. The upward-facing dog will also help you to tone muscles as you balance your hips, shoulders, and heels. Just don’t let your back dip too much.
7 - Shoulderstand
Much like the low plank pose, the shoulder stand (Sarvangasana) is a pose that we tend to do when we’re kids. This inverted pose comes with several physical benefits that men can enjoy.
By stretching out our spinal column and neck, the shoulder stand pose can help digestion. In short, there are quite a few benefits that everyone can enjoy.
This is an exercise that you should do on your yoga mat while using your elbows and shoulders to balance as your hips and legs are pointed upwards. It can relieve tension and is often used in dynamic yoga sequences.
This is a pose that looks easy but it needs to be done right so get in touch with a yoga instructor if you need to.
8 - Seated Twisting Pose
This pose is also known as Marichyasana C and is useful for back tension. Whilst seated, stretch your legs out on the floor. With your back straight, stretch your buttocks, place your left hand on the floor behind your back, place your right foot on the ground, and bend your knee.
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Raise your right arm towards the sky and bend your elbow. Check a diagram for a better idea of what it should look like. Make sure you focus on your breathing to get the most out of this pose.
Mirror the pose and repeat for the other side. Not all yoga poses for men are simple.
9 - Extended Side Angle Pose
“One's spiritual realization lies in none other than how one walks among and interacts with one's fellow beings.” - B.K.S. Iyengar
Also known as Utthita Parsvakonasana, the extended side angle pose starts with you standing. Stretch your left arm towards the sky and then bend over to the side to create a straight line from your finger to your toe. Your overall shape should be that of a triangle.
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This is a great pose for beginners as you can gently do this one without intense movements or the risk of injuring yourself. This pose will help you lose weight and improve your lung capacity.
10 - Cow Face Pose
The name might be strange, but the cow face pose (Gomukhasana) makes sense once you see it. This is often used for meditation and mindfulness, but it’s also useful for stretching and relaxing the body.
While sitting down with your legs out in front of you, cross them over one another. Next, lift the arm opposite your upper leg and place it behind your back.
The other arm will come to meet it behind your back from below. Breathe in and out calmly.
With breath control and suitable yoga poses, men can enjoy yoga just as much as anyone else.
Ready to go?
The rest is now up to you!
If you're interested in learning more about yoga, consider getting help from a private tutor or yoga instructor. You can easily find an experienced and qualified tutor on Superprof and start enjoying yoga sessions for all levels.
There are three main ways to be taught yoga from a private instructor: face-to-face, online, and in a group. Each approach comes with its advantages and disadvantages for you and your wallet so think carefully about which one will work best for you in the long-term.