Yoga was originally practiced by men, and, these days, more and more men are re-discovering it. There are endless benefits of yoga routines for men – learn what they are, and start your yoga journey today!
What are the benefits of yoga for men?
Yoga is a complete body and mind workout that you can do almost wherever.
Yoga as a workout
Yoga builds muscle, increases your mobility, improves core strength and balance, and boosts your recovery post-training. Of course, yoga also improves your flexibility but it offers a lot more than just stretching.
Better mobility means you can easily tie your shoelaces without grunting, and that your movements are not limited by tight muscles or fascia. This, in turn, reduces your risk of injuries and makes you move better.
Some people don’t see yoga as a strength-building practice but it certainly is that! Yoga engages entire muscle groups, and makes them effective at moving your body in all possible directions – which you can make more challenging as you progress. This is called functional strength and it’s based on our body’s biomechanics, so it feels great.
Have a look at this runner’s body transformation with yoga!
Yoga as mindfulness training for men
Practicing yoga also makes you more focused, calmer and less angry. As you transition between yoga poses, somewhere along the way you realize your mind is clearer and perhaps you don’t want to punch anyone anymore.
Every yoga routine works with your breath, and so it can help to improve how you breathe off the mat too, and it lowers your blood pressure and stress levels. For many men, these are among the key benefits. Perhaps predictably, due to all the other perks, yoga can help you lose weight, if that’s your goal too.
How is yoga for men different from yoga for women?
Of course there are exceptions but in general, male and female bodies are different in several important characteristics.
Men have their center of gravity higher than women which affects how they move and stabilize the body. Men’s hips are narrower than women’s and also tend to be tighter. Male shoulders are usually wider and more muscular than in women, which can limit their range of motion.
At the same time, men are likely to have stronger upper bodies, making some yoga poses and transitions easier for them than for women. In these poses, they need to be challenged to feel the effects.
There are other differences but as you can see, designing yoga routines for men requires a specific approach with the male body in mind.
Where do you start yoga practice as a male beginner?
You want to do yoga but where to start? A perfumed studio full of bendy women might not seem like the best idea. The answer is simple – start at home, in your comfortable environment, and go at your own pace.
The great thing about yoga is that you can begin practicing whether you’re a 20-year-old athlete, 40-year-old couch potato or 80-year-old man looking to improve your quality of life. Many men turn to yoga after an injury, as a means to bounce back, and then keep practicing because they discover how great it is.
The practical know-how of yoga
When you’re starting a home practice, it’s good to get some basic props to make your yoga life easier. Number one is a yoga mat – choose one with a good grip so your hands and feet are not sliding.
A couple of yoga blocks and a strap (or a non-stretchy scarf) might come in handy to help you get your alignment right. And if you have sensitive knees, a folded blanket is great as a cushion to put on the mat under them.
The Skill Yoga app has a beginner program that’s tailor-made for men. All you need is your smartphone, tablet or notebook, and around 20-30 minutes of time!
What makes a good yoga routine for men?
Yoga practice designed for men should count with lower natural flexibility, and present poses that are achievable yet challenging. The goal of a good yoga routine is not that you perform a pose like a seasoned yogi but that you have proper alignment, are able to breathe, and feel good.
Yoga for men should also be more demanding in the strength department. What’s difficult for many women is a piece of cake for many men. More strength-requiring transitions or repetitions help men get the most out of their yoga routine.
Lastly, clear instructions, specific to male bodies and without too much fluff are a must. You’re probably not interested to hear how certain poses affect your moon cycle, and that’s another reason why yoga routines created for men are different from generic classes.
Is 20 minutes of yoga enough?
In short, yes if you do it three times a week. A well-rounded yoga routine for men doesn’t have to be longer than that.
However, the yoga routine should be intelligently sequenced so you get the most out of your time. Sitting cross-legged for 20 minutes can also be called yoga, and while it may train your mind, it won’t train your body.
How often should I do yoga to see results?
Most yoga experts suggest practicing three to five times a week for steady progress – and research agrees.
Consistency is key so it’s better if you do three or four short yoga routines a week than doing one longer one at the weekend.
So, what if you can only practice once a week? Even that is useful and will bring you benefits but the effects won’t last that long and progress might be slow.
On the other hand, if you want to practice daily, go for it! Just pay attention to your body’s signals, and take a day off if you need to. Bear in mind that doing too much too fast could lead to injuries and halt your progress!
The key to a successful yoga routine is to find a pattern that suits you, and is sustainable in the long run. Try making a commitment to practice three times a week for one month, and then re-evaluate. If it works for you – great! If not, change it up!
The 10 best yoga poses for men
These are the yoga poses every man can benefit from, regardless of age or body shape.
Those that are asymmetrical – e.g. with one leg forward and the other one back – are explained for one side only but it is understood that you will perform them on both sides.
Why is it good for you? Low lunge is excellent for stretching hip flexors (the front top part of your thigh), increasing hip mobility and knee stability, engaging the core, upper back muscles and shoulders. Some also find it useful for mild hamstring release.
How to do it:
- From a standing position, bend forward so your fingers are touching the floor, bending the knees if needs be to achieve that
- Keep your fingers on the floor and step your right foot backward, far enough so your left knee is at a right angle, and lower the right knee to the ground
- Now correct your alignment – the front knee should be above the ankle, and not falling in or out; hands are on either side of your left foot
- With your hands still on the floor, shift the weight of your pelvis forward
- Breathe in and lift your arms up above your head but don’t let your shoulders ride up
- You should feel a stretch in your right quads, front of the pelvis, and perhaps also the psoas deep in the belly, on the right
- Keep your pelvis level, hip bones facing the front, not tilting or opening to the side
- Remain there for at least five deep breaths, then bring your hands back to the floor
Why is it good for you? Lizard opens up your hips, inner thighs, and glutes, releases tension from your back, and generally feels great if you sit a lot.
How to do it:
- From low lunge with the left foot forward, hands on the floor, walk your left foot to the left, so it’s just off the mat, toes facing forward
- As you’re moving the foot out, move the left hand in, so it’s on the inside of the left leg, and both your hands are directly under your shoulders, palms on the floor
- If you can’t reach the floor with your hands, put a block under each hand to bring the floor closer to you
- Move in the pose a little, exploring your left hip’s range of motion, and either remain there, or lower down onto your forearms – don’t force it
- You should feel all the muscles around your left hip, and also the right quads
- Remain there for at least five deep breaths, then lift up onto your hands again
Why is it good for you? Downward dog stretches and lengthens your back, sides of the body, the backs of your legs, and it helps to open up your shoulders.
How to do it:
- From kneeling on all fours lift your pelvis up, creating a triangle shape with your body, your sacrum being the highest point – you may have to walk your feet further away or closer to you, but make sure they are hip-width or slightly wider apart
- Your legs don’t have to be straight, keep them a little bent, but they should be parallel to each other, heels pressing towards the floor (not many people can actually put their heels down in this pose)
- Press into your hands, like you want to push the ground away from you, elbow pits are facing each other, head is hanging between your shoulders
- Actively push the sacrum upwards, sticking your butt up, and you can even bend your knees a little more to achieve this, pressing equally into your hands and feet
- Remain there for at least five deep breaths
Why is it good for you? Plank is superb for building core strength, stabilizing the shoulders and working with your breath .
How to do it:
- Come into a push-up position
- Adjust your alignment – press your hands into the floor, as if you wanted to push the floor away and towards your feet, lifting from your shoulders, careful not to sink in between your shoulder blades
- Draw your belly button towards your spine and check that your lower back isn’t sinking – it should be as straight as possible
- Your heels are above your toes rather than running away to the back of the room
- When you feel your core fully engaged, hold the pose for at least 10 slow, deep breaths – over time, add more
Why is it good for you? Cobra reverses our posture from sitting at a desk, driving, or scrolling on a phone. It opens up your upper chest, strengthens your back, and engages core muscles.
How to do it:
- From plank, lower yourself down to the mat with control, so you arrive to the mat lying on your belly, with your hands under your shoulders
- Untuck your toes and press your toenails into the floor
- Press your pubic bone into the floor
- Breathing in, slowly lift your chest and head – looking just slightly ahead (don’t throw your head up), your elbows are next to your ribs, not flaring out
- Don’t put too much weight on your hands, your back should be doing most of the work here
- Breathe out and lower your chest down
- Do another one and this time stay there for five deep breaths, then lower down
- Afterwards, relax your lower back by wiggling your pelvis side to side while still lying on your belly
Why is it good for you? Warrior II pose helps to release your inner thighs, strengthens your quads, core and shoulders, and makes you more focused.
How to do it:
- Stand upright at the front of your mat, facing forward
- Keeping the left foot in place and bending the knee, take a big step back with your right leg. When you land, make sure your right toes are turned to the right, foot parallel with the short edge of the mat
- Now settle into the pose – bend into the front (left) knee, so it’s above the ankle, not falling in or out, keep the back (right) leg straight and foot planted firmly into the mat, front and back heel should be in line
- On an inbreath, raise your arms so they are in one line with your shoulders, parallel to the ground, focus on your front (left) fingertips and breathe – stay there for five breaths
- Watch your front knee so you’re not straightening or tilting it, and make sure your back is upright, not arched
- When you’re done, step to the front of your mat
Why is it good for you? This forward bend is great for releasing your back and neck, lengthening your hamstrings and taking a moment to breathe.
How to do it:
- Stand upright, feet hip-width apart, your weight distributed evenly, arms by your sides
- Breathe in and lift your arms up, looking up
- Breathe out, spread your arms wide and bend forward with your back straight, only curving it when you get into a deep bend, letting the arms dangle – bend from your hips rather than you waist, and keep your knees slightly bent
- Breathe in the position and adjust your alignment – don’t lean forward or back, spread your toes wide, tilt your pelvis slightly as if you wanted to lift your tail, keep your spine long and neck relaxed
- Stay there for five deep breaths
Why is it good for you? This pose isn’t anyone’s favorite but we all need it. It opens up shoulders and chest, and strengthens your core, glutes and legs. It’s much needed as an antidote to computer work, driving or hunching over your phone.
How to do it:
- Sit on the floor, knees bent, feet on the floor about hip-width apart, toes facing directly forward
- Place your hands about one-hand-length behind your hips, fingers facing forward
- Lift your hips up as high as you can. Ideally, your body and thighs should be in one line, shoulders directly above your hands, and knees above your ankles.
- Keep your head either upright, looking at your body, or you can tilt it back and look at the ceiling.
- Stay there for five deep breaths, then release and sit on the mat
Why is it good for you? An excellent core strengthening and balance training pose.
How to do it:
- Start sitting on the mat with your knees bent
- Put your hands under your knees (where your thigh meets your knee pit) from the sides, sit as upright as possible, and lean back a little
- Keep your chest lifted and back straight, engage your core, lean back a little more and lift your shins, so they’re parallel to the ground
- Let go of your knees, and straighten your arms forward, palms up
- If that feels manageable, try straightening your legs, so they’re at a 45’ angle to the floor, keep your chest lifted and back straight
- Hold the pose for 10 deep breaths, then release your legs down
Why is it good for you? This is one of the most efficient poses for glute and IT band release, it increases hip mobility, and relieves tightness in the lower back .
How to do it:
- Start on all fours, and step your right foot forward in between your hands
- Shuffle your right foot across to the left, so it’s between your left knee and arm
- Lower the right knee out to the right, slide backwards with your left knee, and ‘sit’ into the position but keep your hips level, careful not to collapse to the right
- Your body is upright, supported by your hands in front of you, left leg is outstretched directly behind you
- Slowly lower onto your forearms – this may be enough
- If you want to go deeper, stretch out your arms on the floor in front of you and lower your upper body down over your right shin and knee
- Remain there for ten deep breaths, then lift up into Downward dog and pedal your feet
The best five yoga routines for men
These yoga routines are all featured in the Skill Yoga app, which you can try for free. All have been created with the male body in mind and offer a blend of yoga with the modern training science to achieve the best results.
A simple 15-minute yoga routine that activates your body and mind, suitable for beginners. You don’t have to do it in the morning! It’s suitable for anytime and for anyone – a great routine to start with.
For those who have already done some yoga before, and want a little bit of a challenge, this is the right routine. It’s 30 minutes long and builds both mobility and strength before relaxing you in the final few minutes.
If you want to start doing yoga properly, good foundations are a must. This beginner program offers five yoga routines for men, designed to make you more agile, flexible, stronger and calmer. It’s suitable not just for men new to yoga but also for those who want to make sure their technique is right, and for athletes wanting to complement their training.
This yoga routine is perfect for any man who needs to de-stress. In 18 minutes, it packs a bundle of some very effective yoga poses combined with breathwork. You’ll feel grounded and have a clearer mind by the time you’ve finished.
This is a seven-day series of morning yoga workouts, and each of them is about 20 minutes long. Every session has a different focus but they all stretch, strengthen and energize your whole body. Ideal for men who like building a habit and sticking to it.
Get started doing yoga today!
Saying you have to be flexible to do yoga is like saying you have to be strong to join the gym. No matter what your body shape or size is, what age you are of if you have any limitations, yoga can make you feel and move better. Don’t forget that yoga was first developed by men!
Among the many videos and apps, Skill Yoga offers a unique set of yoga programs and yoga routines for men. No contortionist yoga instructors but down-to-earth male yogis and clear instructions. And one more thing – the Skill Yoga app has a groundbreaking feature which tracks your movement and gives you feedback on your alignment, the Movement Coach! As our users say:
“Best app if you want to start learning and doing Skill Yoga for the first time, the beginner videos are very accurate, informative and easily understandable for everyone.”
Naveen Reddy, Skill Yoga user