I love when I see really strong men confidently come into a yoga class and get their butts worked! I love it even more when they are humble enough to come back for more! You would assume that someone that is fit and strong wouldn’t find yoga challenging but for a man with big muscles, yoga can be especially difficult.
A lot of the movements in yoga focus on shoulder and hip flexibility, which are two areas that someone with alot of muscle can be very tight in. The balance between muscle strength and flexibility is crucial to aging gracefully. Here are some great stretches, that my strong guys can add to their work out.
Shoulders- Have your legs and arms wide apart so that your wrists are right over your ankles.
Then hold the ends of a work out towel, behind your back
and then bend forward.
Let your hands fall towards the ground.
Keep your legs active and the weight more towards the balls of your feet.
Stay here at least 30 seconds to give the muscles time to elongate.
As your shoulders begin to open up, shorten the width of the towel until you are comfortable getting rid of the towel and just clasping your hands.
Downward facing dog, on your elbows.
Often I tell men with big muscles to do downward facing dog with their arms a little wider than shoulder with apart.
Practicing downward facing dog on your elbows gives you an opportunity to really learn how to draw your outer arms in and shoulder blades down your back.
Place a strap a little wider than shoulder width apart, between your shoulders and elbows, on your upper arm.
Come onto your fore arms and lift your hips up to the sky so that you are in downward facing dog.
Rotate your upper arms towards your ears and try and relax your shoulder blades onto your back.
Press your fore arms into the ground and with your legs straight reach your heels down into the ground.
The strap will help you relax deeper into the pose so that your body has an opportunity to open up.
Start with the strap wide enough so that there is a nice balance between comfort and uneasy.
It should never be painful.
As you open up you can tighten the strap so that you are eventually shoulder width apart.
Hip flexors– If your hip flexors are tight then your back will be tight.
This is an area men tend to neglect even more so than the groin area.
Heavy weight training, cycling, and sitting at a desk can create tight hips so I find that stretching the hips in a pose called single pigeon also helps reliev the back.
Start by having your right leg bent in front of you and your left leg extended strainght behind you.
You will most likely need to sit on a pillow or blanket under your right but cheek, to prop you up so that you can feel the stretch in your left hip flexor.
You will also feel a stretch in your right hip.
The further you bring your right heel away from your body the bigger the stretch.
You can bend forward
towards the floor to feel a deeper stretch in right leg or sit up straight and maybe even reach up and back to stretch deeper in left hip flexor and back.
This is a deep stretch so pace yourself but it is best to stay for at least a minute.
Whole body– An easy great way to get a whole body stretch is to lay on a stability ball.
Im sure you have seen those big stability balls at the gym.
Maybe you have done abs on one but never thought to really take the time to stretch on one.
After your work out, lay on top of the ball and open your arms out to the sides and relax your legs to the ground.
Let your head fall back so that it feels like a back bend to counter stretch and open your entire body.
Play with different arm positions for shoulder openers and do what feels good.
The idea is to stretch for a couple minutes so that your body has time to benefit from the stretch.
For more tips follow my blog www.thegoldensecrets.org.