Well men, weíve got news for you. Yoga isnít a ladies-only thing like going to the bathroom in packs or opening store credit cards only to get 5 percent off the purchase. In fact, taking 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. Men suffer from tightness, often in the hips, hamstrings and shoulders that can lead to injury and weakness. Over-training in one area can cause repetitive stress and other serious injuries. Men need both strength and flexibility. Yoga is a full body workout that provides both. Yoga can open and release menís tightest spots while strengthening the places that donít get a lot of attention (ie. low back and knees). Forward folds are an excellent place to start. 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. Forward folds are a great warm up for any workout. If there is only one pose you can do, downward facing dog is the way to go. We often experience back pain due to chronic tightness in the hamstrings and hips. Itís also common for us to have very tight shoulders. Down Dog releases those areas, while building upper body strength. If you can do only one pose a day, start with Downward Dog. (See instructions below) Donít be discouraged if you think you arenít flexible enough. Yoga will improve your flexibility, but you do not need to be flexible to get started. Since yoga has been practiced by men for so long, many of the poses actually make more sense for a man’s body and some require a lot of upper body strength, which women often lack at first. So men, we know you love yogafor your girlfriend.but you might be surprised at how well it compliments your regular workout as well. Yoga brings the body back into balance, into its natural alignment. Yoga, with its full spectrum of poses – prone, supine, backward bending, and forward bending – can teach someone where imbalances and physical weaknesses are and can help strengthen the body. Yoga can help enhance an athlete’s performance in his sport by teaching how to breathe properly, how to relax and how to gain flexibility! So come and join me at Empower on Tuesdays and Thursdays and discover the secrets of yoga through your own experience.
HOW TO DO: Downward-Facing Dog
Stretches feet, shoulders, hamstrings, and calves; strengthens arms, legs, and core
Start on your hands and knees with your feet and knees hip-width apart. Position your hands about shoulder-width apart, and spread your fingers wide. Pressing firmly through your hands, lift your knees off the floor and straighten your legs. (If you have tight hamstrings, a gentle bend in the knees is fine). Walk your hands forward a few inches, and walk your feet back a few inches to lengthen the pose. Squeeze your thighs as you press them toward the back wall. Press your heels back and down toward the floor (though they might not reach the floor). Relax your head and neck and let your shoulder blades slide down your back toward your feet. Set your gaze between your feet. Suck your stomach in and engage your core muscles. Breathe deeply. Hold for three minutes, rest, and repeat one more time.