While still predominantly practised and taught by females, men are increasingly joining yoga classes and undergoing teacher training in this field.
There’s plenty on offer for the growing number of men wanting to invite yoga into their lives, from tailored classes to specific products that support the male physique.
Ready to get started? Try these three poses with their associated props.
Supta Padangusthasana: reclining hand-to-big-toe pose
Prop needed: Yoga belt, blanket
Good for: Tight hamstrings, something you may experience if you run or cycle regularly.
- 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.
Balasana: child’s pose
Props needed: Brick, block or blanket
Good for: Back & neck pain, elongating the lower back, and stretching hips & thighs. Also referred to as a ‘resting pose’.
- Kneel on the floor and 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.
Prasarita Padottanasana I: wide-legged forward bend
Prop needed: Two bricks or a bolster
Good for: Relieving neck & shoulder tension and stretching thighs, hamstrings & hips.
- Stand with your feet hip distance apart.
- Bend your knees generously to avoid straining the lower back, and fold forwards so your upper body comes somewhere close to your thighs. Allow your head to follow the natural curvature of your spine, and 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.
Top tip: Keep the outside edges of your feet in line with the outside edges of the mat.
Read the full article ‘Yoga for men – the ultimate prop guide’ on the Yogamatters blog.