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Yoga for Men – The Ultimate Prop Guide

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Some important dates are just around the corner – the 17th June marks Father’s Day, Men’s Health Awareness Week starts from 11th – 17th of June and the 21st June marks International Yoga Day – putting both yoga and men in the spotlight. These three special dates offer an opportunity to celebrate both our practice and yoga for men especially. Although still predominantly practiced (and taught) by females, as the practice of yoga continues to grow so does the offering for men who want to practice, from tailored classes to specific products that support the male physique. More males are teaching and undergoing teacher training and we want to support and encourage this as much as possible. We’ve dived into discussion and our prop cupboard to source advice and instruction on the best props and poses that will support the continued evolution of men and yoga. Tight hamstrings, hips and/or shoulders? We hear this a lot and so we’ve kept some of the most common issues effecting men’s practice in mind…

Supta Padangusthasana – Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose

supta-padangusthasana

Brilliant for tight hamstrings (any runners or cyclers out there?), Supta Padangusthasana is for you.

  • Start by lying on your back with both knees bent, feet flat on the ground. Place a small folded blanked underneath your head if it doesn’t comfortably lie on the ground.
  • Have your belt to hand and bend one knee into your chest. Loop the belt around the middle of the foot, holding onto the strap in both hands, let your shoulders rest comfortably onto the ground.
  • Flex your foot and very slowly begin to extend your heel towards the sky so your leg begins to straighten. Spread your toes. Your leg does not have to straighten all the way. Find a stretch that feels appropriate for your body.
  •  If you wish, you could explore extending your other leg down to lie flat on the floor. Be sure to flex this foot too, so you are reaching out through both heels, both legs active. If this doesn’t feel appropriate for you just return to keeping this knee bent, foot flat on the floor.
  • Top tip: Make sure your belt is long enough for your body length. The Yogamatters Classic Yoga Belt is 3 meters long, a great length for most guys.

Balasana – Child’s Pose

childs-pose-balasana

Often referred to as a ‘resting pose’, child’s pose can be anything but if you have knee issues or very tight hips.

Enter some our favourite props to turn things around…

  • Kneel on the floor and then place a folded blanket or block between your heels and backs of your thighs.
  • Slowly, fold your torso forwards. If your head doesn’t rest comfortably on the floor, explore using a folded blanked or brick to rest your forehead on.
  •  Let your arms drape either side of your body or outstretched in front of you. Find a version that allows your shoulders to rest.
  • Notice your breath and let your front body soften.

What you need: Ivan here, from the Yogamatters team, is using a brick and block to find a comfortable child’s pose.
Top tip: You can interchange a block, blanket in between your heels and thighs with a bolster.

Prasarita Padottanasana I – Wide-Legged Forward Bend

prasarita-padottanasana-1

If your work involves sitting at desk all day, the chances are your hips are tight. The shoulders and neck can also carry a lot of tension from a lot of sitting.

Try adding a forward fold into your day-to-day routine.

  • Stand with your feet hip distance
  • Bend your knees generously to avoid straining the lower back and fold forwards so your upper body comes somewhere close to your thighs. Your spine is in flexion (the spine is rounding). Allow your head to follow the natural curvature of your spine, let your arms and hands be heavy.
  • If your hands don’t touch the floor, place your hands on bricks or blocks to raise the floor to meet you.

What you need: At least 2 bricks or a bolster to rest your hands.
Top Tip: Why not try a wide legged forward fold like Daniel. Keep the outside edges of your feet in line with the outside edges of the mat.

Savasana – Corpse Pose

If most of your physical exercise involves dynamic sport then a restorative practice and yoga specifically for relaxation can be a wonderful addition to any mans physical regime.

Savasana is a wonderful place to explore coming into rest.

  • Start by lying on your back. Support your head by folding a thin blanket to rest underneath your head.
  • Roll up a thin blanket into a long sausage shape to rest underneath your ankles.
  • Bend your knees so that you can slide a bolster underneath your knees.
  • Let your legs be fully supported by your bolster and your ankles by your blanket.
  • Allow your arms to rest comfortably by your side body, palms facing up towards the ceiling.
  • Stay here for as long as you need. 5 minutes to 15 minutes would be a good place to start.

What you need: A bolster and two blankets
Top Tip: Put a timer on so you don’t need to keep track of the time.

Aside from the super useful props explored above, there is one piece of equipment that we just can’t do without – the yoga mat. Most yoga mats are made unisex, but if you’re a tall guy (or just want a bit more space) it’s good to know there’s a yoga mat that has been designed with you in mind. A slightly longer version than the original Manduka PROlite yoga mat, the Manduka PROlite Yoga Mat – Long is perfect for the tall man who needs a little more length in his Warrior 1. Not only is it 100% latex free, it’s light, making it perfect for the busy man to carry from work to class. In addition, its closed-cell surface is perfect for keeping moisture and sweat at bay and from seeping into the mat – goodbye sliding! Not ready to invest just yet? The Yogamatters Eco Everyday Yoga Mat is the perfect place to start.

We hope this post encourages the men in our community to try a new pose or prop. If you are a man reading this, we’d love to hear from you! What are your biggest stumbling blocks when it comes to getting on the mat or keeping up with your practice? What’s your favourite pose? We’re committed to making sure you feel served and represented in the world of yoga.

The post Yoga for Men – The Ultimate Prop Guide appeared first on Yogamatters Blog.

Read more: yogamatters.com

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