The reason that I’m writing this blog today is because I want to introduce a few poses that are truly accessible by complete noobies to yoga. Many poses are simply too difficult for people who have not had a consistent fitness routine for a long period of time, or who are inflexible because they lack flexibility training. The poses below are the poses that I work on when I begin with people that are not ready for a full blown Man Flow Yoga session yet. They are easy to learn, do not require significant flexibility and place (relatively) little stress on the body. (Plank is always a pain in the ass, regardless of your fitness level.)
So, here are 7 poses that you can do to start at anytime, regardless of your fitness level. #NoFlexibilityRequired
You can view all of these poses with a step by step breakdown in my eBook, Yoga Basics for Men: An Intro to Man Flow Yoga.
Catcow is one of the first poses that I teach people because it is of paramount importance for a healthy spine. It works on the range of motion of the spine with an extremely low risk of injury, because all of the weight is in your hands and knees.
2) Low lunge
Hip flexors are something that almost everyone could use a little more of, but attempting a Warrior 2 pose after 2 years of inactivity will most likely leave you feeling discouraged and in tears. Low lunge is a good way for you to start to open up your hip flexors, while working on proper posture and core engagement.
Plank is a very simple pose that does not require flexibility. It does require proper core engagement, which is easy to teach in the plank position. Simply try and maintain a flat back. I like to remind my students and class participants to “lift your belly button two inches” in order to properly engage the core and prevent sinking in the lower back. This builds upper body endurance and core strength.
4) Child’s pose
Ahh, child’s pose. Where were you when I was playing lacrosse for the first 21 years of my life? Child’s pose can be difficult if you have a belly or if your hips are tight to the point that you can’t get your butt back far enough. Some people don’t always feel the stretch right away because their lower backs are tight to the point that it won’t even release. If you’re not feeling this stretch immediately, do a few more squats to warm up and get your spine a little more mobile.
5) Standing forward fold
Bend your knees, and let your upper body sink towards the ground. This pose uses gravity to help release the tension in your spine as well as the tightness in your hamstrings. Don’t worry about touching the ground. Bend your knees as much as you need in order to feel a stretch in your lower back.
6) Squat hold (modified chair pose)
Squat hold (which is somewhat of a modified chair pose) is a pose that I do in almost every workout I teach and do. It teaches proper core engagement, works on lower body endurance, and does not require any amount of flexibility. Go as low as you can while keeping your back flat (core engaged), and remember to keep your knees behind your toes.
7) Reclined pigeon pose
Pigeon pose is often too difficult for people who haven’t stretched their external hip rotators (piriformis, glutes) in years, but reclined pigeon pose is something that most people can access. This pose is huge in helping to relieve lower back pain and reversing the damage from sitting in a chair all day.
There you have it. 7 poses that you can do, no matter what your level of fitness is. Seriously. Try it. Share this with a friend who feels like yoga isn’t for them. Downdog, Warrior 3, and handstand are all very difficult poses, but they begin with foundational poses like the ones listed above. Happy yoga-ing.