Celebrity MEN love yoga!
By Charlotte Dodson
Yoga is the perfect transformative tool for both women AND men! If you’ve ever seen the physique of a dedicated male yoga practitioner, they possess open and long physical features along with very strong muscle tone. In addition to providing people with a calmer and more positive outlook on life, yoga would definitely benefit men (from a physical/shape perspective) should they practice regularly. There’s no such thing as not being able to touch your toes – yoga creates flexibility, but also builds inner strength too. You need strength to support any openness you create within, otherwise you’ll feel vulnerable. Remember to allow your breath to be your guide; listen to your body’s needs as you move (with no added force). The more you practice, the easier it will all become, and the more strength you’ll build.
This next routine is for men to follow as part of their regular practice, enabling them to create flexibility and enhance their overall sense of general well-being. I’ve included my male clients’ favorite (and most effective) yoga poses – hopefully, you’ll feel the same way as they do about these movements, and will reap the internal and external benefits they provide.
The following routine is to be followed in this particular order (outlined below), giving you an overall ‘star yoga’ sequence!
Focus on your breath
Whatever your ideal sport or workout, your breath is the key to fully engaging your body’s response to the movement. It gives you the strength and power to complete your activity – and live your precious day in the Moment.
Lets begin in a cross legged sitting posture. Hands to your knees, and keep your spine upright; shoulders roll back, and chest forward. Keep your chin tucked into your throat and keep your base firmly pressing into the floor. With your eyes and lips closed, inhale deeply through your nostrils. Start to count 1-2-3-4-5 on your inhale, and to the same count on your exhale. If this feels uncomfortable, lessen your count. This should not be forced, and the breath is controlled, long, mindful and kind. Repeat this for approx 10 rounds and release back to a normal rhythm for a few more breaths. Now you’re focused and ready to move to the next part.
Movement – Sun salutation (surya namaskar)
Gerard Butler (actor) and Orlando Bloom (actor) enjoy ‘sun salutations’ in their yoga practice.
These warm up movements give you a healthy glow that shines from the inside-out. These movements improve your stamina and endurance as you move with grace, strength and lightness. This sequence increases your energy levels as you work your breath into every part of yourself. Start at the top of your mat, standing into the mountain pose, hands to your heart, connecting with your body, mind and spirit. All warrior poses give you the inner power, determination and strength to be your true self.
Powerful, like warrior II (virbhadrasana II)
Justin Melvey (actor and TV presenter) regularly practices with his favorite (and most helpful, from his perspective) yoga pose, the warrior II.
This pose builds stamina, endurance and lots of patience – you will gradually hold this pose for longer periods of time as your practice progresses. Start with your feet one leg distant apart at the long edge of your mat. Your pelvis sits centered with your tailbone tucked under slightly. Bring your chest to sit over your pelvis and your shoulders over your chest with head resting on top. Turn your right foot out at 90 degrees and turn your left foot in slightly, with your heel outward. Feel a resistance as you work your feet away from each other, like you’re tearing the mat apart. Extend your arms out in line, with the long edge of your mat at shoulder height. Your left hip rolls forward slightly as you keep your right hip open. Keep rolling your inner right thigh outward and drawing your knee back. Shoulders inline with your hips, and reach out through both finger tips. Gaze softly to your front right middle finger. Arms and legs are active and alive. Breathe deeply into the pose for 5-10 breaths before repeating to the left side.
Rejuvenate and relax with a half shoulderstand (ardha sarvangasana)
Gyton Grantley (actor) enjoys the benefits that arise from performing his favorite pose, the shoulder stand.
This half shoulderstand represents how much in life we have to shoulder, in terms of responsibility. It allows us to walk lighter as we explore and grow as spiritual beings. When we have busy schedules, this pose soothes a busy mind and rests your heart. It is a calming and cooling pose on the body, as it stretches your upper back, improves blood circulation and encourages relaxation.
Start by laying on your back, palms facing down by your side. Bend both knees and rock your legs up and back over your head. Keep your neck and head facing forward. Bring your bent knees to the forehead and place your hands under your hips like you’re cupping them – fingers on the inside, thumbs on the outside of the body. Wedge your elbows firmly into the floor, shoulders stay down as you begin to lift your legs up to the ceiling. Support your weight of your body with your arms and upper body with little weight in the head or neck. Keep your whole body active and relaxed at the same time, to find stillness. Hold the pose for 5-10 breaths. To release, drop your knees lightly back to your forehead, chin stays tucked into your throat; slowly roll your spine back to the floor. Rock your head from side to side to release your neck.
This is a pose we all love. It’s a well deserved rest pose, one that’s important for all of us to finish our practice with… lay flat to the floor with palms facing upwards and feet rolled out to the sides. Keep your breath long, with eyes and lips closed. Let every breath deepen as you feel a great sense of peace; completely relax into a nurtured space of ‘being’. Rest for 5-10 minutes before rolling out to the right side. Come up to a cross legged sitting posture. Always give yourself a moment of stillness within; bring your hands to prayer and make a positive intention before you go about your day feeling on top of the world.