by guest blogger Holly Walck Kostura, certified Iyengar Yoga teacher
Dear Male Yogis,
I am a female yoga practitioner and teacher, and I confess that for a very long time, I didn’t understand the challenges you face, particularly with forward bends. As my teaching skills developed, I began to observe the keen differences between the form and function of the male and female bodies and wanted to help men gain access to the poses that would improve their mobility.
In exploring how men practiced forward extension poses, I saw that the poses could be both a poison and an elixir to the body—an elixir because they’re exactly what’s needed when the hamstrings, glutes, and sacral and posterior spinal muscles are stiff and tight; a poison because, even though needed, they might not feel satisfying to practice.
A male yoga teacher friend of mine wrote this sequence, and the practitioners in the videos are men born in varying decades who’ve faced a multitude of life challenges (tight hamstrings, stiff backs, cancer, forced early retirement, broken hearts, and more).
They are here to show you how to practice from the form (body) for the formless (soul).
Yoga for Men, Part I: Forward Extensions
Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar) Preparation*
Chest Opener (Utthita Hastasana) Using the Wall
Standing Back Body Stretch (Parsvottanasana) at the Wall
Reclining Stretch for the External Rotators
Seated Stretch for the Ankles and External Rotators (Virasana)
Seated Back Body Stretch (Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana)
Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
*Note: English names are not exact translations.
Holly Walck Kostura uses the healing practices of Ayurveda and Iyengar Yoga to secure her to the core of her being. Combining her bachelor’s degree in nursing with her certification in Iyengar Yoga gives her the ability to approach her students from a place of wholeness and infuse her yoga classes with a unique flavor. Find her online at yogawithholly.com.