For men that do yoga, there’s one major problem that many instructors don’t address – how to not crush your balls (testicles) during yoga practice. As a fellow guy and seasoned yoga instructor, I’m here to address the elephant in the room, and save as many guys as I can from crushing their family jewels and unnecessary pain.
The main guideline here is DON’T squish your testicles. The best tip I can give you is to adjust yourself as needed – don’t wait for somebody to give you permission to do so.
I’ll be giving you some specific suggestions below about a few things you probably haven’t thought of to make sure you still get the benefits of the posture, while making sure you don’t make it uncomfortable for yourself in the process. I’ll cover:
- Specific Yoga Poses Men Need to Adjust for Their Balls
- How to Modify These Ball-Crushing Poses for Men
- Changing Your Workout Apparel with Your Testicles in Mind
- The Final Takeaway – What To Do with Your Balls During Yoga
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Specific Yoga Poses Men Need to Adjust for Their Balls
There are 3 main postures or positions in yoga where men experience discomfort in their testicles while practicing yoga including:
- Legs-Together Poses – Any position – whether standing or lying down – with feet touching.
- Chair Pose
- Standing Side Bend, Standing Backbend
- Mountain Pose
- Reclined Twist
- Legs-Crossed Poses – Any position where you are crossing one leg over the other.
- Eagle Pose
- Seated Twist
- Prone Positions – Any position in which you are lying flat on the floor, chest down.
- Full Locust
If you’re in one of these poses or really any pose that hurts your testicles, move immediately so that it no longer hurts. This is a good life lesson for all aspects of your life (as a guy).
How to Modify These Ball-Crushing Poses for Men
Here are some practical modifications you can make to each type of pose to avoid literal ball-crushing pain.
These are based on my expertise as a yoga for men instructor, as well as feedback from our community. (Yes, we actually had a very in-depth conversation about this. It was both hilarious and illuminating – thank you, Man Flow Yoga Community).
Having balls in yoga shouldn’t hold you back from avoiding any posture altogether. The problem only arises in particular postures and can be easily addressed with a quick modification.
You can also consider changing your workout apparel, we’ll discuss that below!
Modifying Legs-Together Poses
Leg together poses including chair pose, standing side bends, standing backbend, seated forward fold, boat pose, reverse crunches, reclined twist, and more are often challenging for men because of their testicles, but it doesn’t have to be. Modifications include:
- Separate your toes a few inches apart – If you have discomfort in this position, the easiest modification is to just separate your toes a few inches. Make sure the insides of your feet still line up with another, but you’re not going to be missing out on any benefits of the postures if you change your stance a few inches.
- Place a block between your thighs – I would recommend putting a block between your thighs if you’re concerned about core and inner-thigh engagement. This is a great modification, even if you don’t have balls.
- Adjust yourself – If that’s too inconvenient, then just do what you need to do to adjust yourself when the pose starts. Often times this is done by pulling the balls forward and in front. Again – you don’t need anybody’s permission to do that.
Modifying Legs-Crossed Poses
Problematic poses with crossed legs include seated twist, tree with figure 4 legs, cow-faced pose, and any other posture with legs crossed – but the big one is…
This is the one that gives guys the most trouble. If you do this posture to its full extent, meaning if you have a lot of flexibility in this particular position, you could essentially be putting your testicles in a vice grip. I have a few suggestions for what to do here:
- The “pull-em up” technique – You basically want to make sure your testicles aren’t being pinched between your legs here.
- Don’t cross your legs as much – Instead of tightly wrapping your leg on top of the other, think of finding a “cross” between that and a figure 4.
- If that fails, just don’t even worry about crossing your leg – Honestly, the main benefit of this posture is that it forces the glutes and outer hips of your standing leg to be more active. You don’t need to cross your leg over the other in order to do that. Simply standing on one leg – doing a one-leg chair – will help you achieve this.
For other legs-crossed poses like seated twist, the main benefit of the pose is from the spinal twist NOT the crossed legs. That’s why if your balls are really uncomfortable in these types of poses, you don’t need to cross them at all.
You can instead solidly plant the other foot and focus on keeping your body grounded as you twist.
Modifying Prone Poses (Poses Where You’re on Your Chest)
Poses where you’re laying on your chest such as cobra, superman, boat, or bow can be an issue for some guys.
This is due to them pushing their balls straight into the ground and crushing them with their own body weight. There are also guys with a little “extra” around the midsection, making this problem much more intense.
There are two solutions to this problem.
- Use proper technique – I find that this actually isn’t an issue when you use proper technique. If you’re having issues with this posture, it has more to do with where you’re concentrating your body weight, rather than a problem with the exercise itself. You want to put your weight above your testicles, thus more so in front of your pubic bone. This does require you to be more active through your core, and if you’ve been doing it incorrectly up until this point, it will require some adjustment time. But not only will your testicles thank you, you’ll also get a stronger core! Awesome right?
- Have a thicker midsection? Men tend to store body fat in their hips and stomach area. If you’re one of those guys who has been saving up for winter, then this could be something that makes prone positions more difficult. Unfortunately, there isn’t a ton you can do here. You should continue to try to use proper technique and lean more forwards. However, you can play around with using cushions under your stomach/hips area to help alleviate the pressure to an extent.
Do These Modifications Work for All Guys?
Will these techniques absolve you of ALL discomfort? Unless you’re talking about the prone position modifications – probably not.
I don’t do much eagle, either in my own practice or in the workouts and programs I make, and the ball-crushing is exactly why. But if you are in a yoga session that requires you to do eagle, you can use those techniques.
(Just be aware that if you’re in a Bikram yoga class, you will have to ignore the instructor, and you might get yelled at for that.)
Changing Your Workout Apparel with Your Testicles in Mind
The problem of testicle discomfort or pinching can also be addressed by wearing the appropriate clothing. Although it won’t help all the time, a general guideline is to make sure you are wearing form-fitting, supportive underwear or shorts. Loose-fitting boxers under basketball shorts aren’t ideal.
You want to be sure that you’re wearing either boxer briefs, or a workout short with a built-in compression liner. This is going to give you the most support. I’m also giving a special shoutout to Brutal Buddha here, who have created yoga shorts for men that actually have a pouch for your testicles. They sent me a few of their shorts, and I think they’re a great pair of workout shorts after a few weeks of “testing”.
We also have a number of people in the MFY Community who have purchased these shorts, and they report that they do help significantly with preventing your testicles from getting in the way of your yoga practice.
PLUS, they’ve actually partnered with us and created a BOGO offer, which allows you to buy one pair of shorts and get one free. I’m not compensated in any way for this.
Brutal Buddha Gear: brutalbuddhagear.com
Code for BOGO (Buy One, Get One FREE!) “MFBOGO“
The Final Takeaway – What To Do with Your Balls During Yoga
Bottom line – make sure that you are not crushing your testicles while doing yoga. Modify as needed. And don’t wait for anybody’s permission. If it hurts, do something about it. Don’t just sit there in silence wondering why nobody is telling you to adjust your balls.
That’s all I’ve got for you, I hope you found this useful and helpful!
About the author, Dean Pohlman, Founder & CEO of Man Flow Yoga, Author of Yoga Fitness for Men, Expert on Yoga Fitness for Men.
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