While women can breeze through an hour and a half of yoga relatively unscathed, even the most fit men can end up defeated and soaked in sweat by the time the corpse pose comes to their rescue. The following is an explanation of why this occurs.
Strength to Flexibility Ratio
Men are typically stronger than women, but women are more flexible. Yoga poses require less brawn and more finesse, so when strength takes precedence over flexibility, yoga will be difficult for anyone.
When the bones of the body are in proper alignment in a yoga pose, little effort is required to maintain the pose. However, bones can only be properly aligned if the muscles that surround them are limber enough to allow it. When the muscles in the body are tight, they tend to pull the bones out of alignment, requiring more energy to hold the pose. Because many yoga poses are held for one minute or more, energy can be quickly depleted.
Typical offenders include:
Have you ever seen someone attempt a downward facing dog with severely strained hamstrings? It appears to be excruciatingly difficult, if not painful, unless they bend their knees to disengage their tight hams.
The shoulders and wrists tend to take a beating when the body is out of alignment in a down dog due to the back of the legs pulling relentlessly on the hips and lower back. To be properly aligned, the hips should be high and there should be a small angle between the forearms and the floor. Flexible hamstrings will help, but so will simply bending the knees.
Tight hips make seated poses difficult because they want to constantly pull the body forward. As a result, the lower back muscles must work extra hard to keep the spine aligned. This can be exhausting, not to mention difficult on the ego when just sitting is exhausting. Sitting on a folded blanket, a pillow, or a bolster reduces the effort required to sit and makes sitting more comfortable.
Biceps are a man’s best friend, but not in yoga, especially when they are so tight that a man cannot fully straighten his arms. Sure, some men can do several push-ups and pull-ups with little or no effort, but watch a man who can’t fully extend his arm practice side planks and he’ll soon start quivering. Again, without proper arm bone alignment, the shoulders, triceps, and biceps will be working far too hard to hold the pose for an extended period of time. This is a difficult one to correct, but by focusing on stretching the biceps (another difficult task), the pose will become easier over time.
Do You Need a Yoga Class That’s Perfect for Beginners?
Yoga is a wonderful way to get in shape and learn about your body. It’s also great for relieving stress! Our Non-Heated Flow 1-2 classes provide the basics of vinyasa yoga, which are designed specifically for beginners at this practice or those who have just begun their exploration into it. These slower-paced classes break down poses so you can really explore them with all new challenges and modifications. If you feel yourself struggling during class don’t worry – keep working on what’s possible until such time as fatigue levels off enough that more challenging postures become possible again. If you’re looking to start practicing yoga but aren’t sure where to begin, our non-heated flow series will be right up your alley. Book your first class now at one of our San Francisco locations or our new location in downtown Walnut Creek!