stiff guy yoga [NOT PORN]

A yoga studio in my hometown has a weekly class called “Yoga for stiff guys”. I’ve never been, but my dad has, and I’ve always thought it’s a cute name and a great idea. When I asked my yoga teacher for suggestions for “stiff guy yoga”, she responded letting me know that I was very sweet, but that I might want to find a different name for it, because, well, it sounded like porn. Oops.

A few friends and family members over the past few months have asked me for some yoga poses or stretches to do to increase flexibility, decrease back pain, etc. So, I’ve outlined a few poses that are accessible to almost anybody and doable in your own home. Walking into a yoga class can be intimidating at first, so familiarizing yourself with a few poses can increase both your flexibility and your confidence. These are just some simple stretches that will get some movement into the main areas of your body, especially your hips, hamstrings, and back, which are often problem areas for people.

Of course, no online tutorial or blog post can match the experience of a class with a real live teacher, so take this for what it is. But I’ve been meaning to write this for months, and I figured I should probably churn it out the night before I leave for India instead of getting a good night’s sleep. All you’ll need is a mat, or a towel, or something comfortable on which to do yoga, and some clothes in which you can move easily. As always, consult your doctor before beginning any sort of new workout regimen. And if something hurts, stop. Remember that progress in yoga is slow but it will always come. “Practice, Practice, Practice, and all is coming” – Patthabi Jois

And please excuse me for looking ridiculous in these pictures. I was trying really hard not to look like a) a greaseball, b) a toolbag, c) a pornstar. You are, however, allowed to laugh. Just make sure you do some yoga afterwards. Along with laughter, it’s good for the soul.

Yoga for stiff guys, but not those kinds of stiff guys:

Start in child’s pose, moving your knees away from your body and touching your toes together. Extend your arms overhead to lengthen your spine, and feel your chest moving towards the floor. This would be a good time to tell you to remember to breathe. Always breathe! Otherwise you’re just doing weird poses in a room by yourself. You will feel an opening in your hips and a stretch in your back.

Push up to a table position, with your knees under your hips and your hands under your shoulders. Arch your back for cow posture, shoulders back and down and tailbone pointing up. Tuck your tailbone and curve your spine the other way like a halloween cat, relaxing the back of your neck. Alternate between these two, filling your lungs as you arch your back into cow, and exhaling as you move into cat.


meow


moo
(had to try really hard not to look like a huge skank here, for obvious reasons. apologies!)

Come back to table and thread your right arm under your body, twisting your torso and resting on your right shoulder. Be gentle!


…like wringing out a towel.

Repeat on the left!

Now come to a low lunge position with your back knee touching the ground. Feel some serious stretch in your hip here. It is good! Remember that whole breathing thing.


sponsored by lulu.

straighten your front leg and bend your back leg to come into a half split, like so:

move back and forth between these two positions, inhaling as you move forward into low lunge and exhaling as you move into half split. This will get a lot of healthy movement into your hip and knee joints, and stretch out your hamstrings and hip flexors, which can get extremely tight from daily activity (or inactivity). For a more intense stretch, try a twist in one of your half splits:


hello IT band!

…And remember to do this on both sides.

And now my favorite: side body stretches! This will feel awesome, as we very rarely stretch the sides of our body. Just plant your right knee and right hand on the ground, straighten your left leg and press your left foot into the ground, and reach your left hand over your head. use that right shin as a rudder to keep your balance. Make your body as long as possible! This is better explained with a picture than with words:


ahhh. you just got taller!

From here, try a forward fold, standing with your feet hips’ distance apart and folding forward and grabbing your elbows:

It doesn’t matter if you can’t touch your toes! You are still a good person. I promise. Remember how we talked about practice? Well, just do it. Listen to those Nike ads. And maybe someday you’ll touch your toes. But it isn’t guaranteed to bring you enlightenment. Sorry!

And now you get to sit down. Hooray! Joy. We’ll do a little seated pigeon. Bend your left knee, plant your left foot to the ground, and bend your right knee so your right foot crosses over your left knee. And no, I promise this is not some one-woman game of twister. It looks like this:

The important stuff here is as follows: keep your back straight (always protect your spine!). Flex your foot (to protect your knee!). Press into your hands for stability. You’ll feel a stretch in that right hip.

Lather, rinse, repeat on the other side.

I promise we’re almost done.

Just lay down and it will all be over in a minute. Hug your knee into your chest and either stay here, or extend your leg straight up after a few breaths. Breathe here. I promise your hamstring won’t (most likely) snap in two!


one.


two.

and then a little twist action:

iphone optional.

do this on the other side (I don’t want y’all walking around all lopsided) and then….you’re done! You made it. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, do not get up and pour yourself a glass of wine as a reward…yet. Just lay in savasana for a few minutes, and let your mind get all calm and yoga-ey.


om shanti, suckas!

This is something you can easily do in 15 minutes a few mornings a week. Start slowly, but give yourself a good stretch and try to remember to breathe (in then out, or out then in, whatever you please…). You will feel more flexible and, hopefully, a little more calm. And if you’ve made it to the end of this post, bless you.

Off to get 5 hours of sleep and then fly to India! Namaste!

2 thoughts on “stiff guy yoga [NOT PORN]

  1. Thank you Marian, I teach a weekly class for homeless veterans in Atlanta, always looking for ideas for “stiff guys”. They have plenty of other issues too, but they enjoy the yoga.
    Hank

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