Yoga for men is becoming more and more popular for their health. For both men and women, yoga helps to reduce anxiety, increase flexibility and core strength. It is not surprising that yoga classes have seen an increase in male participation by 150% in the last four years! What was holding them back?
For non-yogis, there appears to be a “no pain, no gain” mentality. If it isn’t a hardcore workout, then it isn’t really training. But yoga techniques for men can be customized and adapted to increase core work if wanted. The best program for men to make for a workout might be power yoga where a push-up here and there is integrated into a grueling sequence.
“Online yoga for men” are now keywords that can list a huge source of content with 10 min yoga for men videos to do at home. All a guy has to do is pick their favorite video, get themselves a mat and maybe pick their outfit – what to wear during yoga seems to be a taboo subject in itself.
Benefits Of Yoga For Men
- A balance of the body and the mind. Studies have shown that it increases your overall fitness and reduces stress.
- Good for diabetes. Another study in India compared 30 men with type 2 diabetes and 30 men without seeing if yoga helps. And it did! After the following three months of practice, diabetic yogis reduced blood glucose levels significantly.
- Improves sexual life. There are also benefits of yoga for men sexually. Yoga poses that tone the pelvic muscles and puts you in a better mood can help stimulate excitement and energy to perform.
Best Types of Yoga For Men
- Hot Yoga. Hot yoga for men has varying benefits. For the athletic types, hot yoga can help you fix recurring injuries, reduce your coughs and colds and reduce your weight. A few postures included in Bikram Yoga (hot yoga) have been found to compress and activate the digestive system flushing your organs with fresh oxygenated blood. It is also a cardiovascular workout that is lighter on the joints which normally suffer in high-impact and intense tasks during a workout like HIIT. Hot yoga practice also compresses the throat which is needed for the thyroid. The activation of the thyroid increases metabolism and nutrient absorption. Yogis believe that certain poses massage the colon and help remove wind. This, in turn, levels the hydrochloric acid in the gut and may fix issues such as constipation, wind, and acidity on the stomach. Basically, men’s digestive systems will get a reboot!
- Power Yoga. “Power yoga” is basically a mix of strength training and stretching. Class titles like “power yoga” or “yoga for runners” or “for athletes” will ensure that yogis get a challenging and intense workout. This is perfect for men who are looking to get more than breathwork, flexibility, balance, and stress relief from their yoga practice. Yoga for strength training for men can be integrated into any yoga workout to increase the difficulty, but remember that yoga is beneficial in other ways outside of muscle building. Hardcore athletes suffer from tight muscles such as the shoulder, hips, and groin area. Yoga is there to release the tension in those muscles. And don’t forget, all those planks you do in any workout, stretching to rest the muscles after a workout, and breathing exercises you do when you feel stressed can are all part of a yoga practice.
- Face Yoga. Yes, face yoga is a thing and men can be part of the trend too. There have been studies that show face yoga working for anti-aging. There is evidence that shows that face yoga can work for anti-aging. A study conducted by Northwestern Medicine showed that a 30-minute daily facial exercise maintained for over 20 weeks could make middle-aged women look up to three years younger. Men can practice exercises that contract and release facial muscles which tone them up, but you need to commit. For best results, men need to do 30 mins of face yoga a day for up to six days a week. Looking for some exercises? Check out this list here.
- Kundalini Yoga. Kundalini yoga is apparently very good for men, especially when starting out because you are not only challenged physically but also emotionally – which for men can be a very hard thing to do. Yoga is a safe space where men do not need to feel the competition and instead, get support. Having men connect with their consciousness and emotions is a great way to get introduced to yoga before doing any poses. Kundalini yoga focuses on breathwork, chants, and meditation. In Kundalini Yoga, you will discover the word “kriya”. A kriya is a set of postures, breath, and sound that focus in the direction of a specific goal. There are kriyas that focus on the liver, stabilize the glandular system, increase radiancy and glow, strengthen the flexibility of the spine, and many more.
- Tantric yoga for men. Compared to India, most westerners are not as aware of the control they can have over sexual sensations and the sexual energy that creates them. Sexual energy is one of the most important energies seeing as it has the ability to create life and it should not be forgotten or shamed. Tantric yoga is similar to Kundalini in that it focuses on meditation rather than asanas. During practice, there is a lot of focus on certain body parts such as the navel, spine, and pressure points around the meridians.
Kegel yoga for men
Kegel exercises for men can strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which support the bladder and bowel and affect sexual function. Many men turn to Kegel exercises after going through prostate cancer treatments to help strengthen their pelvic floor muscles and get them back to health. These muscles help control your urine flow.
The pelvic area has muscles, ligaments, and nerves that always seem to suffer from tightness. Many people have to learn how to release the area before they can do any strengthening exercises. Another reason for having problems around the pelvis is the difference between the left and right sides of bodies. For example, one can twist their pelvic from sitting in a bad position for too long, for too many years – like crossing one leg over another. Keegel yoga is one of the best ways to improve pelvic flexibility and strength.
Another typical problem is the imbalance between the left and right sides of the pelvic floor, which could be caused by always crossing the same leg, or standing on the same leg and throwing your other leg out to the side.
Yoga is one of the best ways to improve pelvic floor health. Here are some of the best poses for the area:
'Vrksa' means 'Tree' and hence Vrksasana means 'Tree Pose'. The very name suggests the body in the final pose should look like a tree. A tree stands tall, strong and straight. Tree Pose (Vrksasana) comes under the standing poses and balancing poses in yoga. Tree Pose is considered a base pose as tree pose variations can be derived from this pose.Tree Pose helps boost energy in the body and hence can be included in flow yoga sequences.
Though Utkatasana is also called Chair Pose, one should not think that the meaning of utkata in Sanskrit means chair. This pose is mainly referred to as the Fierce Pose where Utkata means violent or fierce or severe. This pose is also called the Chair pose just because the posture resembles like one is sitting on an invisible chair. This pose is one of the first pose in the Sun Salutation B series. It needs ample strength with the quadricep muscles to help your hips get the right support and give the knees a comfort to hold the pose for long. Working on the alignment of the hips along with the knees and the pelvic region is very essential to get comfortable in this pose. Chair Pose is considered a base pose as chair pose variations can be derived from this pose.Chair Pose helps boost energy in the body and hence can be included in flow yoga sequences.
Warrior Pose II
As per Hindu Mythology, Virabhadra was the name of a Warrior created by Lord Shiva. Hence this pose comes from the creation of the fiercest warrior by Lord Shiva and so the name goes as Virabhadrasana or Warrior Pose. This pose is considered as a difficult pose as the body alignment needs to be accurate, but is generally categorized as an Intermediate Level Pose or Beginner Level Pose. Its is said that the power of this pose can be felt only if one is extremely flexible and stable with their body balance. Virabhadrasana II is one of the many variations of Virabhadrasana Pose. Warrior Pose Ii is considered a base pose as warrior pose ii variations can be derived from this pose.Warrior Pose Ii helps boost energy in the body and hence can be included in flow yoga sequences.
Happy Baby Pose
Happy Baby Pose or Ananda Balasana is an excellent grounding pose wherein ‘Ananda’ means ‘Happy’ and ‘Bala’ means a ‘Baby’. Interestingly, it is also called the Dead Bug Pose, because of the position that the body takes up while performing this pose. This yoga pose is considered as one of the restorative poses which can be done for better sleep and full body relaxation. Happy Baby Pose is considered a base pose as happy baby pose variations can be derived from this pose.Happy Baby Pose is considered a warm-up yoga pose to prepare the body for more intense yoga poses / yoga flows.
This pose is categorised under the lying down on the belly poses and as Back bend poses. As the name says, Shalabhasana, which in Sanskrit means "grasshopper". So in this pose the body will look like the insect grasshopper. Here this pose brings as much tightness to the back and buttocks and stimulates the parasympathetic nerves in the lower spinal region. Locust Pose is considered a base pose as locust pose variations can be derived from this pose.Locust Pose helps boost energy in the body and hence can be included in flow yoga sequences.
Best Yoga Poses For Men
So what are the best yoga poses for men to make? For anyone starting as a beginner, you’d want to try out simple yoga poses.
Standing Forward Bend Pose
In Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend Pose), ‘Ut’, means 'intensity' and the ‘Tan’, means 'stretch, extend or lengthen out'. In this yoga pose, the spine is given a deliberate and intense stretch. This yoga pose consists of standing with feet together, bending the upper body at the hips and letting the head hang downwards and taking control of the body by placing the palms on the floor besides the feet. This intense forward stretch of the upper body including the spine brings an indirect opening of the hamstring muscles. Standing Forward Bend Pose is considered a base pose as standing forward bend pose variations can be derived from this pose.Standing Forward Bend Pose helps boost energy in the body and hence can be included in flow yoga sequences.
Upward Forward Fold Pose
Ardha Uttanasana is considered a base pose as Ardha Uttanasana variations can be derived from this pose. Ardha Uttanasana helps boost energy in the body and hence can be included in flow yoga sequences.
Wide Angle Seated Forward Bend Pose
Upavistha Konasana is a seated forward bend that requires flexibility. The term comes from the Sanskrit upavistha, meaning “seated” or “sitting,” kona, meaning “angle,” and "asana", meaning pose or “posture”.
From a seated position, the legs are spread wide and the upper body folds forward. In addition to a range of physical benefits, this pose calms the mind and the nervous system.
The common English name for Upavistha Konasana is Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend. It is also sometimes referred to as simply seated angle pose.
Cat Cow Pose
This name, Marjary and Bitila comes from Sanskrit script, where ‘marjari’ meaning ‘cat’ and ‘bitila’ meaning ‘cow’ is defined. The pose Marjaryasana- Bitilasana is a combination of two poses practiced together to gently warm up the spine and the abdomen for more challenging postures or is sometimes also practiced as a simple restorative pose. Coming on all fours, and gently moving the back in a rhythmic way, and taking the position like that of a cat or a cow, releases the tensions around the spine and shoulders and tightens the abdomen to make a stronger core. Cat Cow Pose is considered a base pose as cat cow pose variations can be derived from this pose.Cat Cow Pose helps boost energy in the body and hence can be included in flow yoga sequences.Cat Cow Pose is considered a warm-up yoga pose to prepare the body for more intense yoga poses / yoga flows.
Supine Spinal Twist Yoga Pose I
Supta Matsyendrasana, in Sanskrit reads as: ‘supta’ = ‘recline’, ‘matsya’ = ‘fish’ and ‘endra’ = ‘refers to Lord Indra the ruler’. The name Matsyendra, here refers to the lord of the fishes, and in this pose it depicts the pose Ardha Matsyendrasana in Supine version. This pose is a great twist to the spine and the abdomen and hence also referred as Abdominal twist pose. Supta Parivartanasana is considered a base pose as supta parivartanasana variations can be derived from this pose.
Complete Boat Pose
Paripurna Navasana (Complete Boat Pose) name comes from the Sanskrit words 'Paripurna’ meaning ‘entire or full’, and ‘Nava’ meaning ‘boat’. The body in this pose resembles a boat and hence the name. The body in this pose is entirely balanced on the sit bone or the buttocks. The body also looks like the letter ‘V’, while seated on the sit bones. The arms and the legs are balanced in the air using core strength. As simple as this yoga pose may look, it requires tremendous abdominal strength and great focus on the balance to get this pose right to reap all its benefits. Complete Boat Pose is considered a base pose as complete boat pose variations can be derived from this pose. Complete Boat Pose helps boost energy in the body and hence can be included in flow yoga sequences.
Utthan Pristhasana (Lizard Pose) is similar to Lunge Pose (Utthita Ashwa Sanchalanasana) but practiced resting on the forearms. This practice is a deep hip opener that also targets the gluteus maximus, hip flexors, hamstrings, shoulders and arms, including the lower back. Included in Vinyasa Yoga Sequences, the practice can help improve the flexibility of the leg muscles, pelvic floor muscles, and hip flexors. Since the primary focus are the hips, Lizard Pose is also seen practiced in Yin Yoga to help stretch and strengthen the deep connecting tissues like fascia. In Sanskrit, ‘uttan’ = ‘stretch deep out’, and ‘pristha’ = ‘back of the body’, and ‘asana’ = ‘posture’. Utthan Pristhasana, is also called Lizard Pose. Lizards have a great flexible upper body and hence the back of the body in this posture resembles the stretched out lizard. And the practice of the same is said to bring the very same flexibility and suppleness in the back and the various muscles involved. Lizard Pose is considered a base pose as lizard pose variations can be derived from this pose.Lizard Pose helps boost energy in the body and hence can be included in flow yoga sequences.
In Sanskrit ‘kapota’= ‘pigeon’, and this pose is also named after a great yogic master Kapota. Kapotasana is a challenging pose and comes under the category of Advance Level Poses and is also a deep backbend pose. Taking the torso in a deep backbend while settling the knees and the shins on the floor, the neck flexes to the maximum to place the crown of the head on the soles of the feet. In English, Kapotasana, is simply translated as Pigeon Pose. The most challenging aspect of this pose, is not just the flexibility of the entire back, but the flexing of the back in a narrow space from the floor. It is like a deep connection between the upper and the lower body, but in the opposite direction. Kapotasana helps boost energy in the body and hence can be included in flow yoga sequences.
Reverse Pigeon Pose
Sucirandhrasana (Reverse Pigeon Pose Yoga) is an elegant combination of a gentle hip-opener and an effective hamstring stretch. Also known as the Reverse Pigeon Pose it is commonly used by runners during recovery, to release any strain in the hamstrings and glutes. Typically Sucirandhrasana is practiced at the end of a yoga sequence to cool down the muscles of the hips, legs, and lower back. This supine pose is a grounding practice and works on the connecting tissues when held longer, hence should be included in Yin Yoga for better flow of energy through the channels, and to activate certain meridians.
In Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose), as the name suggests, the body resembles a serpent with its hood raised. This yoga pose is considered a very powerful backward bending yoga pose in Hatha Yoga. Cobra pose comes under the category of 'lying down on the stomach' yoga poses. As this asana is considered powerful like the Cobra snake, a lot of care should be taken while going into the pose and coming out of the pose. Any jerks of the back while going into the pose can cause discomfort to the back and can also cause injury. While releasing too, the body must drop down slowly and not with a jerk. Cobra Pose is considered a base pose as cobra pose variations can be derived from this pose. Cobra Pose helps boost energy in the body and hence can be included in flow yoga sequences.
Downward Facing Dog Pose
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) is named as such because in this yoga pose body looks like that of a dog (Svana) relaxing and stretching while burrowing its face (Mukha) downwards (Adho) towards the shoulders. Downward Facing Dog Pose is considered a base pose as downward-facing dog pose variations can be derived from this pose. Downward Facing Dog Pose helps boost energy in the body and hence can be included in flow yoga sequences.
Setubandhasana; setu=bridge, bandha=bind /lock. So as the name suggests the pose resembles a bridge. Here the entire spine is so beautifully curved and away from the floor/mat , which causes a bridge. As the effect of this pose is more to do with the spine , it sure works on toning the muscles around the spine. This pose can be categorised under the Intermediate Level of Asanas and under the lying down category. This pose cannot be described as just the raising of the spine and balancing it there half way in the air. This pose has a lot of scientific benefits to it when compared to other asanas. The alignment of the body right from the feet to the head should be understood well to ensure the maximum benefit of this pose. The flow of this pose is as follows. Bridge Pose is considered a base pose as bridge pose variations can be derived from this pose.Bridge Pose helps boost energy in the body and hence can be included in flow yoga sequences.
Pilates vs yoga for men
A very common question is posed. What is the difference between yoga practice and pilates? Well, yoga focuses a lot on balance, flexibility, and stability whereas pilates is strength and stability. Both forms of practice are low-impact, low-intensity training. If men are trying to pick between one or the other, then think about the additional benefits yoga brings – breathwork and meditation techniques.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is yoga for men?
Yes, yoga is for both men and women. More and more men are starting to include it in their workout routines at least once a day if not more. It is a great way to relieve stress from previous workouts, helps with breathing techniques as well as meditation.
Is yoga good for men?
Yes, a lot of men who suffer from injuries or those who have had prostate cancer surgery, turn to yoga for rehabilitation. Yoga is low-impact on muscles and tendons that are overly active during a strenuous workout, activity, or surgery. It is especially great for beginners who have trouble with keeping balance.
Can Yoga build muscles?
Yoga mostly strengthens muscles rather than builds, but there is always room to blend a few activities that will help increase muscle build. For example, when going from a downward dog to a cobra, some men like to do a few push-ups.
Is gym or yoga better?
They are different and they are both good. The gym will concentrate on core muscle areas and the machines there are generally high-intensity. Yoga is the opposite. It can strengthen and increase your heart rate, but it will never get to the same bpm or calorie burn that a workout in the gym does – unless of course, you tailor the workout to be intense. And even though there are some gym exercises that can be done remotely, there is nothing better than grabbing your yoga mat and doing a practice at home.
Is yoga alone enough exercise?
It is definitely better than no exercise! It depends on your goals. Do you want to be flexible and slightly toned? Then yoga is enough. If you are looking to build on your muscles and burn calories, then you need to include some more activities.
Is 15 minutes of yoga a day enough?
Yes, even just 15 minutes will help you relax, release tension, and get a night of better sleep. After a week of doing 15 minutes of yoga, you will see the motivation for longer practices start.
Is it OK to do yoga every day?
Absolutely. Many people do it multiple times a day for their mind and health! A great way to start is in the morning. But if you are not a morning person – evening yoga is just as good.
Can Yoga change your body shape?
Yoga has been known to reduce fat loss, increase muscle tone, build-up on flexibility, and create a lean and beautiful body.