Yoga is one of the best aerobic exercises that can be done on a regular basis. It is beneficial for to the body, mind and soul. Although some men prefer sweaty, energetic workouts, yoga can be very challenging and can provide a holistic workout along with innumerable health benefits. Apart from enhancing fitness levels, yoga also increases stamina levels and is a great exercise regimen for men of all ages and all fitness levels. To help men build a stronger base for their gym exercises, decrease stiffness and increase stamina, the yoga poses mentioned below can go a long way.
Standing Forward Fold
Uttanasana, or Standing Forward Fold, opens the back of the legs, the hips and the back. Men can easily modify this pose by keeping the hands on the thighs, calves or ankles or use blocks to shorten the distance.
In addition to stretching muscles, Standing Forward Fold lowers blood pressure, eases headaches, improves circulation and helps you sleep better.
This posture stretches men where they need it most—the hips and shoulders. On top of opening these tight areas, Virabhadrasana is a strengthening posture. It builds the muscle of the thighs along with the areas around the knees, which means more stability and protection for sensitive joints during high impact sports.
Chair pose works the quads, ankles, butt and shoulders, while also opening the chest—helping to develop greater stability. It’s also useful for improving flat feet and stimulating the abdominal organs.
Downward Facing Dog
Downward Dog, or Adho Mukha Svanasana, brings the attention to those tight areas in men; the hamstrings, calves, arms, shoulders, back, hips and more. And while it stretches the body, Down Dog also strengthens the arms and legs.
This pose also strengthens the heart as it improves circulation, reduces stress and helps high blood pressure.
Low Cobra Pose
Cobra pose can help to open the chest and strengthen the back and arms. This posture will help anyone who sits behind a desk all day by opening the abdomen and hip flexors.
*For men who also enjoy more strenuous forms of exercise, Upward Facing Dog is another great way to warm up and get the muscles stretched and blood flowing before expecting the body to go all out.
Boat Pose (modified)
Boat pose, or Navasana, will not only strengthen the core, but it also strengthens the hips flexors and spine. This posture is particularly beneficial to men for what it does to stimulate the prostate gland and reduce tension in the pelvic region.
Baddha Konasana increases blood flow to the pelvis, kidneys, prostate and bladder. It’s also a good way to draw attention to mula bandha, the root lock, which brings awareness and more energy to the area around the hips.
This posture is can be quite challenging, but you can ease yourself into it as your hips open more and more. Since it’s a powerful way to open the glutes, hamstrings, abductors and hip flexors, Half Pigeon can help men when they take part in physical activities. Once the tension is released in the hips, men will feel the benefit in the lower back and other areas of the body.
It’s not unusual for men to experience tight muscles throughout the torso, so Bridge pose can help open the upper body and release tight muscles. Whether most men realize it or not, tightness in this area makes for shallow breathing and can make other physical activities more challenging.
Over time, practicing bridge pose will create more space in the chest and make for easier, fuller breathing.
Reclining Hand to Big Toe
This posture opens the lower back to get energy moving more freely, and when it does, it also stimulates the prostate gland and improves digestion. *Try using a yoga strap to make the pose easier especially if you’re not quite flexible.
Now it’s time to really relax. As the asana suggests, you simply lay on your back, eyes closed with your hands at your sides or on your chest. Breathe normally and let your worries dissipate as you exhale.
Yoga can be very challenging and mastering these yoga poses will help strengthen and stretch the muscles, prevent workout injuries and improve posture and overall balance.
There are several medical conditions that can be improved by practicing yoga. It can be used to lessen the negative effects of infertility, lung disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, insomnia, cancer, high blood pressure, and joint pain. The beneficial effects of yoga practices are well recognized not only by the yoga community but also by physicians. One of the main elements that lead to many illnesses is stress. Being responsible for a huge number of sicknesses, this item, which we develop in our minds, can be reduced through a good usage of yoga techniques. Here are just some of the problems that are related to an over active stress response: depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, some types of diabetes, cardio-vascular disease, several autoimmune diseases, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, reproductive problems, and an aggravated suppression of the immune system.
The response of the sympathetic nervous system can trigger stress in our metabolism. The reaction to various outside stimuli is also known as the “fight or flight” response – the mind and body, faced with an endangering or disturbing element, prepare for one of the two options. Physically, this is manifested through rapid heart rate increase, together with a high ascent of blood pressure. Breathing gets shallow and the muscles tense in anticipation to the following action. Internally, this response reduces the blood flow to internal organs and processes that are not essential in that particular moment (such as digestion and elimination) are shut down. This state of increased awareness and readiness is beneficial on a short term, preparing our body to react to the outside interventions and stimuli. Both in a “fight” and in a “flight” situation, the body is physically and mentally prepared to act. The problem arises when long-term exposure to similar stress takes place. This “fight or flight” response is only meant to help on short periods of time – the longer it is activated the less resources will the body have to function normally.
There is a natural countermeasure for the “fight or flight” response. It is called the parasympathetic nervous system or the “relaxation response.” It is automatically activated when the elements that caused the stress are gone but it is also possible to increase its effects by breathing deeply and relaxing your muscles. By increasing the length of this process we allow our body to recover faster, enabling it to eliminate the harmful effects of stress in a prompt and efficient manner.
Yoga highlights the idea that by using breathing and relaxation techniques you can reduce the harmful effects of stress factors on your body. A lessened “fight or flight” response can also be achieved by looking at adverse factors as challenges rather than threats. This approach allows your mind to focus on finding a solution, rather than creating an abrupt response. Another concept employed by this technique is that of acting versus reacting, of taking initiative versus responding to outside factors.
The positive effects of yoga during a healing process are irrefutable. However, these techniques should only be used as a form of support and the healing shouldn’t rely solely on them. The best results are achieved by combining yoga with traditional Ayurveda and modern medicine and by addressing the problem both from a mental and physical point of view.
The word Setu Bandha comes from the Sanskrit word “Setu” which means Bridge; and Bandha meaning contraction or bind. Hence, when we try this pose our body looks like a bridge.
Setu Bandhasana is a great to pose that can help solve any number of ailments. From developing strength in your core and glutes (which helps alleviate low back pain) to opening the chest. Bridge Pose is an excellent beginning backbend which is a versatile pose to help learn proper alignment and strengthening for more advanced back bending poses. There are so many variations for this pose that anyone can practice it.
Getting into bridge pose
Lay on your back, bend your knees at ninety degrees and place your feet flat on the floor, hip width apart and parallel. You may choose to have a folded blanked under your shoulders to support your neck. Arms are by your sides with your palms facing down. As you exhale, press your inner feet and arms actively into the floor, and your pelvis up toward the ceiling. Slowly lift the buttocks off the floor. Be sure to keep your legs parallel and not let your knees splay apart.
To take the pose deeper, you can roll your shoulders and chest open, and clasp your hands under your pelvis and extend through the arms to help you stay on the tops of your shoulders.
Lift your buttocks until the thighs are about parallel to the floor. Keep your knees directly over the heels, but push them forward, away from the hips, and lengthen the tailbone toward the backs of the knees. Lift the pubis toward the navel. Don’t move your head from side to side, but gently lift your chin way from the sternum slightly and open your chest by pressing the shoulder blades into the floor. This will allow you to press the top of the sternum toward the chin. Keep firming the outer arms, broadening the shoulder blades, and lifting the chest.
Hold the pose for 30 seconds or a minute if you can, and release with an exhale, rolling the spine one vertebrae at a time onto the floor.
Those having injuries to the neck, shoulder and spine should not practice this pose.
Pregnant women should always consult a doctor in the last 6-9 months of pregnancy before practicing Bridge pose to avoid any complications.
Always consult a doctor first before beginning any exercise regimen, including yoga.
Yoga offers many benefits, from reduced stress to improved strength and flexibility. But it can also be intimidating to some people. You may not be able to keep up with the pace in a yoga class, or have physical limitations that prevent you from easily moving from the floor to standing poses for a full hour. Seated floor yoga, is a gentle style of yoga that incorporates the breathing and mind-body benefits of a traditional class.
This is a slow, gentle and restorative yoga practice of floor stretches and seated poses perfect for beginners, those recuperating from illness or those who just want to take it easy. Use this yoga sequence on days when you need some stress relief. If you choose to practice with props, use a yoga block and belt.
*Before you begin any new physical activity, you should consult with your healthcare provider. These poses are suitable for most people, including seniors and people living with chronic pain.
Yoga is ideal for women who are thinking about getting pregnant or having trouble conceiving. Yoga has been shown to greatly help promote general relaxation and reduce anxiety, stress and depression. Research also suggests that yoga may significantly help to promote conception on a physiological level. The three main health benefits of yoga: reducing stress, improving circulation and increasing flexibility (especially in the pelvic and hip area)—all fertility boosters; are key for conceiving, not to mention having a comfortable pregnancy and healthy delivery.
Yoga for fertility focuses on the centers of the body or “chakras” associated with fertility and reproduction. In particular it uses specially designed yoga poses that open the pelvis and stimulate the second chakra located just below the naval. This vital center has long been associated with fertility and creativity. More than just improving blood flow to the reproductive organs, yoga for fertility helps relax the body and restore physical and emotional balance.
The above yoga poses for fertility can be practiced at home. If you would like to find a Yoga for Fertility class in your community visit www.yogaforfertilityresources.com
*The above article is meant for informational reading only and should NOT be replaced by advice from your physician. As always, seek the advice from your healthcare professional before beginning any yoga practice.
Even a short yoga practice can be relaxing and invigorating. Yoga can improve posture and blood flow to the body's organs and tissues. Here are some tips for setting up a quick yoga practice, for those days when your schedule doesn't allow you to commit to a longer practice.
1 - Set aside at least twenty minutes a day when you can take time for yourself without any distractions. Practicing just Sun Salutation A and Sun Salutation B both constitute a full yoga practice.
2 - Clear a space and gather what you need. Play some soft music. Focus on your breathing, fluid body movements, and a clear mind.
3 - Stretch and warm up before you begin. Roll your shoulders and rotate your neck. Do a cat stretch by getting on all fours and slowly rounding your back.
4 - Perform the downward dog. Get down on your hands and knees. Keep your feet and hands on the ground while pushing your hips up to form an inverted V.
5 - To get the full benefit of a short yoga workout, try to perform at least one pose for each major muscle group. Some suggestions are: the locust, the half-moon, and the pigeon -- but you can customize your series as you wish.
6 - Perform poses that flow naturally from one to another. For example, do standing poses first, then move on to sitting poses and inversions. This will help your practice flow quickly and smoothly.
7 - Your breathing should be slow and controlled during your quick yoga workout. Fill your lungs completely when you inhale, and exhale slowly through your nose.
Prenatal yoga is an exercise that is designed to promote breathing exercises, posture and emotional relaxation. This approach is often sought by pregnant women who are preparing for a natural childbirth or who wish to stay physically and emotionally healthy during their pregnancy. One of the many benefits of prenatal yoga is the lack of physical exertion that is required, which makes it a safe practice for many moms-to-be.
During the pain that is associated with a natural childbirth, prenatal yoga will promote proper breathing that will help to make the process an easier one. In addition, relaxation is essential during the childbirth process and although it can be difficult, prenatal yoga can help to teach women how to relax themselves as much as possible.
For some, prenatal yoga may be sought as part of a spiritual process that helps them to connect with their unborn child and/or prepare for the new arrival. In some cases, prenatal yoga may even be beneficial after the birth as it instills techniques that are associated with relaxation. As every new mom knows, there is a definite need for relaxation after having a child.
Furthermore, prenatal yoga may help women to return to their pre-pregnancy weight more quickly than others. For most, this is a struggle that takes a lot of patience and determination. In general, yoga is an exercise that promotes not only physical fitness and proper breathing, but also spiritual and emotional connections.
If you are searching for a prenatal yoga class or instructor, the best place to start is through your physician. During your visit, ask your doctor if prenatal yoga would be safe for you and, if so, who you could contact for instruction. Some physicians may be aware of local classes or instruction being given and will often be able to refer patients to a class that is most convenient for them. Most women prefer to have the father of their child or a friend or family member attend prenatal yoga classes for support and guidance. Having someone familiar will also make the classes more enjoyable and relaxing for the mom-to-be. Before enrolling in prenatal yoga, it’s best to make sure that the instructor is licensed, certified or highly trained and experienced in teaching this type of relaxation method.
*The information in this article is to be used for informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of, or in conjunction with, professional medical advice. Anyone with questions regarding prenatal yoga should consult their physician for further information.
Yoga is an ancient science that aims to create a balance between the body, mind and spirit, thereby curing physical mental and spiritual disorders that are caused by this imbalance. In common language, yoga means union; it’s a union of the individual consciousness with the super-consciousness. To be exact, yoga aims at reminding the individual of this union that already exists and has merely been forgotten. To put it simply, yoga is experiencing and knowing what already exists, not inventing anything new.
At the physical level, yoga can create a balance and harmony among the various organs and systems of the body, allowing the healing powers inherent in the body to work and cure physical ailments. At the mental level, yoga is the harmony between mind, heart and hands or between thought, speech and action. At the spiritual level, yoga aims to destroy the individual ego that stands between the individual and the cosmos, thus attaining to the ultimate truth.
Yoga is a set of systematically devised physical exercises that lay emphasis on balance and posture. Combined with breathing exercises they have the capacity to cure almost any ailment of the body and mind. The underlying concept of yoga is to create the situation in which the human body can function at its optimum capacity.
Yoga Asanas or poses are simple and effective body movements that massage the muscles lubricate the joints and tone the whole body. Yoga poses help to keep the body healthy and the mind peaceful. Asanas exercise the nerves, glands, ligaments, and muscles. These exercises increase flexibility and balance in the body.
Yoga poses refer to the sequence of exercises which is extremely important to get the best results. They are scientifically graded to move from the simple to the complex, to cure the body first and then move on to mental and spiritual goals.
Though it is best to begin yoga practice under the guidance of a trained yoga teacher, you can now learn to do these exercises at home with the help of books, videos and online yoga classes. Once you have learned the basic exercises you can make it a part of your daily routine. It’s best to have a time and place for practicing yoga so that you can be regular and reap rich benefits from it. After some time you will see a change in yourself. Your body will become more flexible, stronger and healthy; you will have a positive attitude and your worldview on life will become beautiful. You will feel blessed!
If you’re overweight or need to lose some weight, it can be difficult to take that first step into any new fitness program. There’s the general assumption that you have to be in shape to exercise. Yet you can’t get in shape unless you exercise. It can be a frustrating circle. With yoga there are no barriers. It is infinitely adaptable and can be practiced by people of all ages and fitness levels.
Find a Good Yoga Instructor
It’s always important to find a good yoga instructor. They can guide you to achieve the best poses without causing injury. However, if you’re overweight it’s even more important to find a skilled instructor. You want to find someone who is supportive and willing to work with you to modify the poses to fit your current body and fitness level. There are many yoga instructors who are overweight themselves and serve as an inspiration. Some of these instructors offer specialty classes to their overweight students. You don’t need to find a special class, necessarily, but do look for a skilled and supportive instructor. Ask around to see what teachers in your area receive high reviews. You may also want to take a few one-on-one sessions so that you can get a feel for the instructor’s style. Or call a few yoga studios in your area to find out what is offered.
There are literally dozens of different types of yoga styles to choose from. Some like Hot or Vinyasa style yoga, may not be a good place to start. It’s always best to begin with a gentle yoga class and/or a beginner class if available. Hatha, Kripalu, or Viniyoga are all great styles to begin with. Don’t worry, if you have an aspiration to try Hot or Vinyasa yoga, you’ll get there. For now, learn the basics and develop your fitness.
Be willing to modify the poses to fit your body, your fitness level, and your needs. For example, some poses may require you to use blocks or to widen your stance to accommodate your body. Relax and do what you can. As your practice improves, your modifications will change. Your body will change too. You’ll notice that your alignment improves, your strength increases, and your endurance and flexibility will improve as well.
If you want to lose weight, get in shape, and are interested in yoga then give it a try. Don’t be discouraged by instructors or classmates who can bend their bodies into pretzels – you’ll get there if you want to. For now, enjoy the many amazing physical and mental health benefits of yoga.
**The information in this article should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Before beginning any exercise program including yoga, always check with your physician first to ensure there are no underlying issues that could negatively impact your regimen.
The practice of yoga has been around for thousands of years. The universal appeal of yoga comes from the fact that it can benefit mind, body, and spirit. Although it’s also a great complement to many other sports and activities, yoga can be done by almost anyone. Yoga is not just about movement. It also involves breathing exercises and relaxation techniques. These three are considered to be the main elements of yoga. All are practiced together and are equally important. It’s natural for people to assume that movements are what yoga is all about because that’s the part you see. Movement made up of poses benefit the body.
Poses are usually done slowly and gently. Some are held for a short period of time. Yoga poses work in many ways on all parts of the body. They have been shown to increase strength and improve flexibility and balance. Some yoga positions like bridge or triangle are named after common objects or shapes. Others like downward dog or tree are named for living things or natural objects.
Breathing plays an integral part of every yoga session, including both movement and relaxation. As you do the various yoga poses, you are instructed to breathe slowly and deeply, focusing your attention on your breath. This helps to distribute oxygen to all parts of the body and helps you attain maximum flexibility. Specific breathing exercises are also included in most yoga sessions. These exercises are designed to strengthen the lungs and cleanse the body. But one of the most important functions of breathing in yoga is to deepen your feeling of relaxation.
Yoga is more physically challenging than it looks, so yoga sessions always end with a short relaxation period. This is to rest the body while at the same time calming the mind. This part of the yoga session may include visualization and meditation, but always includes some focus on breathing. With visualization, you are encouraged to picture peaceful scenes or images. These could be things like waves lapping on a shore, or clouds floating by in the sky. Meditation involves emptying the mind of distracting thoughts or worries and focusing inward. Many people find it helpful to focus on their breathing in order to meditate.
Yoga complements many other sports and physical activities. While you won’t learn to go faster or harder with yoga, it will help you to become more flexible and more coordinated, as well as strengthening your bones and muscles, all of which can lead to better performance in other areas.
One of the main benefits of yoga is that practically anyone of any age can do it. You start from where you are and build from there. You aren’t competing with anyone else when you do yoga. Instead you move at your own pace. That means that you can make your own yoga practice very challenging or go slowly if that’s where you are.
Why not give the practice of yoga a try and find out how much it can do for your mind, body and spirit?
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