Start Slow

Test the waters by finding a beginner’s or basics class, sign up for a beginner’s workshop (invite your girl, she’ll dig it), or find a class at your local gym. Most fitness clubs now offer classes for novices. Research your teachers’ bio and make sure he or she has a few years of solid teaching experience under their belt, Willis advises. In class, you want an instructor who’ll help you adapt your postures and with whom you connect. Don’t forget to stay hydrated and wear comfortable clothes that fit you well, too. And remember, if you can’t keep up, you can always take a break any time, you’re not there to impress.

Find the Right Style For You

With so many different styles out there, where do you start? It depends on what you’re looking for. Iyengar is a good option for beginners; it’s detail-oriented and slow-paced, doable for the inflexible and injured, too. For those looking to get their heart pumping, Vinyasa and Power styles offer a more athletic, dynamic practice where posture sequences are linked together by standing poses coordinated with breathing, Willis says. For guys looking to sweat, Bikram yoga will take you through poses in a room heated to 100-103 degrees. Beware, if you have high blood pressure, check with your doc first. There are plenty more styles out there based on the individual philosophies of its founders. For example, Anusara combines Vinyasa with Tantric philosophy, Dharma provides dynamic postures and sequencing, and Forest works a lot on abdominal and core strength, Willis notes.

Man enough to say Om? We think so. Here are a few beginner moves to help you get started.

Forward Bend – To stretch your hams

“Many guys suffer from stiff hamstrings,” Willis says. “For hamstring stretches, standing forward bends are great, make sure to bend the knees for the most effective stretch.” Try this:

• Stand with feet 3-4 inches apart, gently hinge forward at the hips and lower the torso toward the floor.
• Bend your knees quite a bit to take any pressure off your back and sitting bones, grasping opposite elbows with opposite hands.
• Relax your head, neck, shoulders and torso, breathe deeply, and let gravity take the upper body toward the earth. Hold for one minute and slowly, vertebra-by-vertabra, roll back up to standing.

For a more detailed demonstration check out the following video.



Bow Pose – To open up your chest


“Back bending postures like Bow Pose, Fish and Supported Fish are great for chest opening,” Willis says. Try this:

• Lie on your belly.
• Bend your knees and reach for the outsides of your feet with each hand, palms facing in. If you can’t reach your feet, use a belt or strap, wrapping it around the tops of your feet below the ankles, and gripping the belt as close to the feet as you can, fingers facing in.
• Make sure the heads of the arm bones are rotating back, and in an external rotation (or outward spiral) from the rotator cuff (otherwise the heads of the arm bones will roll forward, causing the shoulder blades to spread and the chest to close).
• Press the feet back into hands (or belt) firmly and let that action lift the chest higher.
• Look straight ahead and focus on deep inhalations. Hold for 5-8 breaths. Repeat 1-3 times.

For a more detailed demonstration check out the following video.


Plank Pose – To strengthen your core

“Plank pose, or preparation for push-up position, is a good move for the core,” Willis says. Try this:

• Balance with the palms aligned below the shoulders, toes tucked under.
• Support the lower back by engaging the obliques and rectus abdominus (6-pack) muscles.
• Lengthen through the calves and heels and imagine a straight line from the lumbar spine and tailbone all the way back to the center-point between the heels.

For a more detailed demonstration check out the following video.

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About The Author

Ana Mantica

Ana Mantica has been a writer and editor for over 10 years, specializing in health, nutrition and lifestyle. Aside from her regular and stellar contributions to `LLERO, Ana has been published in outlets such Cosmo for Latinas, Woman's Day for Latinas, Self and Fitness and is a correspondent for Forbes Travel Guide. Ms. Mantica is a proud Nica/Cuban and is HQ’d in Miami, Florida.

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