So when you think of Yoga, I will bet that most of you think that it is a class run by women for women. Not true. In fact, when yoga was new, millennia ago, only men practiced it. Krishnamacharya, known as the founder of modern yoga, bridged cultural, religious, and class differences when he taught boys and men; however, women were not allowed to practice. That is until he met Indra Devi. As history writes, after seeing him teach, she begged Krishnamacharya to teach her as well. At first he refused; however, after much persuasion by the Maharaja, he took her as a student only to break her of her persistence and put an end to her wanting to practice yoga. In utter surprise, she mastered the difficult poses far better than he thought she would and thus paved the road for women to take their place in the balanced world of yoga.
And, gentlemen, I wouldn’t for a moment think that since women do yoga, it would be too easy for you. Each yoga class is to be performed on an individual basis, so you can make it as hard or as easy as you want.
The following are some great manly poses for a little relaxation, balance and peace.
In our busy day-to-day lives our bodies get all tied up and tight. So chances are you have some tightness in your hamstrings, hips and lower back. (Who doesn’t?) Try these poses in the privacy of your own home, get a feel for yoga and when you are ready, go to a class to expand your practice.
A. Pigeon Pose: With one leg bent at the knee in front of you and the other straight out behind you resting on the floor, your hips will gradually be forced to open up.
B. Cobbler’s Pose: Sitting on your rump, bring your feet together, creating a diamond shape with your legs. You’ll feel a stretch in your groin, but it’s your hips that are really getting the benefit.
C. Standing Forward Bend: Standing with legs straight, lean forward over your waist and reach for your ankles. Stop before your muscles start to quiver.
D. Seated Forward Bend: Pull one foot inward toward your groin and keep the other stretched out, then reach for the sky and lean forward. Breathe slowly and you’ll feel yourself loosen up.
Lower back soothers
E. Cat Pose: This deceptively simple pose, in which you alternately arch and then curl your lower back, really takes the kinks out of your spine.
F. Forward Fold: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and just bend over to touch the ground. Let your head, shoulders and neck relax.
Remember, stretch to the point where you feel a mild resistance; don’t ever push so hard that it’s painful. (You can find step-by-step instructions at websites like yogabasics.com, hathayogalesson.com, or yogajournal.com.) And if you have small kids, they will love doing this with you, I promise!