Every other person I meet these days seems to be in search of a moment or two of complete stillness and silence (whether they know it or not). We are constantly distracted because of such things as social media, and our moments to escape the ever-moving world and rambunctious mind can be found through the practice of yoga.
The tranquility that yoga asanas bring allows one to be more present and clear in life.
The following eight yoga poses for men will allow one to quickly reap the benefits of practicing yoga, as well as starting a process of complete and utter consciousness of body.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
1. Savasana (Corpse Pose)
Savasana is a great way to begin and end one’s practice. This position reduces stress and fatigue and begins to train both your body and mind to consciously relax.
How to practice: Begin by lying on your back. Allow your legs to relax open and move your arms a little away from your body with palms facing up.
Close your eyes and begin to consciously relax each part of your body. Breathe at a natural pace and enjoy this position as it relaxes both your body and mind.
You may remain in this position for as long as you like.
2. Supta Kapotasana (Reverse King Pigeon Pose)
Supta Kapotasana is a great beginner position to release stress. Supta Kapotasana deeply stretches the hips, thighs and groin muscles while simultaneously calming the mind.
How to practice: Lie on your back with your knees bent and heels in close to the buttocks. Place your right foot on top of your left thigh. Lift your left foot off the mat, placing your right arm between your legs and interlace your fingers around your left shin.
Use your arms to hug your knee in towards your chest and breathe into the areas that you feel tension. Remain in this position for 2-5 minutes. To come out of the pose, mindfully release your hands and bring both feet to the floor. Then repeat this pose for the left side of the body.
3. Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined God Pose)
Supta Baddha Konasana continues the stretch and release of tension in the hips and groin area after Supta Kapotasana.
This position gently stretches the hips, groin muscles and shoulders. This position can release stored stress and calm the mind.
How to practice: Lie on your back with your knees bent and heels in close to your buttocks. Bring the soles of your feet together and allow your knees to relax open. On your next inhale reach both arms over your head and hold the opposite elbow with each hand.
Relax your shoulders and hips. Allow gravity to slowly sink your knees closer to the floor. Remain in this position for 2-5 minutes. To come out, allow your arms to come down to your sides to help bring your knees together and stretch out into Savasana (corpse pose).
4. Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose)
Setu Bandhasana is a wonderful pose because it both builds strength and releases tension. Setu Bandhasana relieves stress held in the chest, neck and muscles along the spine. This position also strengthens the legs, lower back, abdomen and core muscles.
How to practice: Begin by lying on your back. Bend both knees and bring the soles of your feet to the floor near your buttocks. Place your hands face down by your sides.
Pressing firmly into both feet, begin to lift your pelvis up towards the ceiling. Peel your spine off the floor while keeping your shoulders firmly on the mat. Engage your arms, legs and buttocks to lift your hips higher (making sure your knees are no wider than hip width apart).
Squeeze your shoulder blades together, press the tops of your shoulders into the mat and interlace your fingers behind your back. Breathe deeply. Remain in this position for 30 seconds to one minute. To come out, exhale, release your hands and slowly roll your spine down one vertebra at a time.
5. Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
Utkatasana strengthens and improves one’s balance and stability. This position strengthens many different sections of the body including the ankles, calves, knees hamstrings, quadriceps, gluteals, core muscles, shoulders and arms.
How to practice: Stand in Mountain pose (stand with your feet together or hip width apart with heels slightly wider than your toes). Inhale and bring your arms overhead. Exhale and bend your knees so that your thighs are close to parallel with the floor.
Allow your upper body to lean forward slightly as your hips reach down and back as if you are going to sit in a chair. Your gaze should be either forward or up between your hands.
Consciously relax your shoulders and draw your shoulder blades down your back. Tilt your pelvis under to support your lower back. Hold this position for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
To come out, inhale and straighten your knees to come up. Exhale and lower your arms down to return to Mountain pose.
6. Vrksasana I (Tree Pose)
Vrksasana increases flexibility, strengthens and improves balance. Vrksasana strengthens the ankles, calves and thighs. This pose increases flexibility in the knees, hips and shoulders. Such balance poses demand concentration.
How to practice: Begin in Mountain pose. Shift all of your weight onto your right foot and take a moment to find your balance.
Exhale, bend your left knee, externally rotate you hip (make sure your hip bones are pointing forward) and place the sole of your foot as high as comfortable on your right inner thigh with the toes pointing down.
Inhale, raise your arms overhead and relax your shoulders down. Look forward, breathe evenly and remain still (focus on an unmoving point). Remain in this pose for 30 seconds to two minutes.
To come out, exhale and release your arms and leg down to return to Mountain pose. Then repeat this pose for the left side of the body.
7. Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I)
Virabhadrasana strengthens, stretches and prepares one for backbends. This position strengthens the thighs, ankles, gluteals, core muscles, lower back and shoulders while stretching the groin muscles, hips, chest and shoulders.
How to practice: Stand in Mountain pose. Hinge forward from your hips, step your right foot back several feet and turn your toes out 45 degrees. Check that your hips remain facing the front of your mat (you may need to step your right foot several inches to the right to help keep your hips in alignment).
Ensure your left knee is directly above your ankle to avoid injury. Inhale and raise your arms overhead with palms facing each other. Reach your arms back slightly and expand your chest to come into a gentle backbend.
Tuck your tailbone under to protect your lower back. Relax your shoulders and look up between your hands. Hold for 30 seconds to two minutes. To come out, exhale to lower your arms and step forward. Inhale to come up and return to Mountain pose. Then repeat this pose for the left side of the body.
8. Urdhva Dhanurasana (Wheel Pose)
Urdhva Dhanurasana is an advanced pose, which stretches and strengthens the body. Urdhva Dhanurasana strengthens the wrists, arms, back, core muscles, gluteals and thighs. This pose also stretches the muscles alone the spine, thighs, abdomen, shoulders, upper back and chest.
How to practice: Lie on your back with your knees bent and heels in close to your buttocks. Bring your palms to the floor beside your ears with your fingertips just below your shoulders and pointing towards your feet. Engage your thighs and gently raise your hips off the floor, peeling your spine off the mat.
Press your hands onto the floor to straighten your arms and raise your body up. Relax your neck, press firmly through both legs and breathe smoothly. Be conscious that your knees remain hip width apart and tailbone slightly tilted under. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute.
To come out, first lower the top of your head to the mat, tuck your chin and roll your spine down onto the floor one vertebra at a time.
By incorporating these basic eight yoga poses into your daily routine you will be able to expand your consciousness, improve your overall health and relieve stress. Choose to improve your well-being with yoga today!