Get over yourself, take a yoga class. Let me ask you this. Who doesn’t want to do a pose called Hero?
Anyone who has attended a yoga class lately can tell you yoga isn’t a ladies-only thing. A new Harris poll commissioned by Yoga Journal suggests that men now make up 23 percent of America’s 15 million enthusiasts. In fact, guys that take one yoga class per week or doing a couple of pre-workout poses can increase endurance, build strength, prevent injuries, and may even stave off heart disease.
How? “Men often suffer from tightness particularly in the hips, hamstrings, and shoulders that can lead to injury or weakness,” says Baron Baptiste, creator of Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga and former assistant coach with the Philadelphia Eagles. “Over-training in any one sport can cause repetitive stress and other more serious injuries. Yoga is a full-body workout that creates both strength and flexibility. You need to have both. One without the other is a recipe for disaster.” Not sure where to start? Practice these 10 poses in this order, which Baptiste says benefit men because they stretch out guys’ tightest spots (like the shoulderships, and groin) and strengthen muscles that get no love during workouts (like the low back and knees). (www.yogapaws.com)
Stretches hamstrings, calves, and hips; strengthens legs and knees
Stand with feet hip-width apart, gently hinge forward at the hips and lower the torso toward the floor. Bend your knees generously to take any pressure out of the low back and hamstrings. Grasp opposite elbows with opposite hands. Breathe deeply and let gravity take the body toward the earth. Relax your head, neck, shoulders and torso. Slowly sway your torso or gently shake your head. Hold for one minute and roll back up to standing.
Why it’s good for you: This is a great move to use as part of a warm-up for any workout.
We often have a hard time knowing when we are holding excess tension in our head, neck and shoulders, and that buildup of tension can create headaches, insomnia, poor circulation and decreased lung capacity. If you practice slow, steady breathing along with this pose, it can lower your blood pressure over time. Continue reading