A little yoga to start the day
August 25, 2015 3:54 AM   Subscribe

What form of yoga is best for a man in his early 50's, in OK shape, doesn't currently exercise and just wants to be limber? Routines that take 15-30 minutes. Nothing too strenuous. Something that can be done in the living room and learned from YouTube videos.
posted by GernBlandston to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
Honestly, I'd suggest going to some classes first. "Hatha" is normally a little slower paced. Just inform the instructor that you're new and rest if you need to - no one will notice or care. Some studios even have "yoga for men" if you're more comfortable with that.

The reason I suggest a class is because you want someone to correct your form initially. Once you've got the postures down, then you can spend some time using videos at home, and again you'll probably be okay with Hatha or "gentle flow" type yoga. For the shorter length you're after try adding "morning" or "wake-up" to your search, as a lot of those seem shorter.

posted by backwards guitar at 4:34 AM on August 25, 2015 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Agreed taking some classes would be good and that hatha yoga is a safe/good place to start (I'm a hatha yoga instructor so I'm a bit biased though). :)

Surya namaskar (sun salutations) give a whole body workout that is gentle but powerful and can be adapted as you get stronger and more flexible. It's meant to be done when you wake up. There are several different versions of it, some incorporate chair pose (squat), some don't, you can omit the upward dog if it's too hard on your back or you're worried you're doing it wrong (anything where you're compressing your spine you want to make sure you're properly warmed up and extending your spine before compressing). You might try working up to 20 minutes of it a day if you like it.

This video is a good place to start because it has the cues a beginner needs to protect the knees and back but that would just be to learn the poses, not something to follow along with.

I really like Yoga with Adriene, she has a 30 days of yoga series.

Tara Stiles provides very good verbal cueing and there are a lot of beginner videos on youtube from her Beginner series by Tara Stiles.

Some general advice:
-remember that most of the yoga stars with impressive flexibility are usually either born that way or were dancers/gymnasts before they became yogis, so don't compare yourself to them, men especially have more muscle and less flexibility in general
-listen to your body, you want to be feeling something but not forcing anything to the point where there is pain, you need to focus on alignment over how "far" in a pose you're going or you won't make as much progress and you can hurt yourself
-your hamstrings and other tight areas will relax over time
posted by lafemma at 6:12 AM on August 25, 2015 [5 favorites]

Do you have a smart phone? The Yoga Studio app is amazing and more instructive, I've found, than any YouTube video I tried.
posted by mibo at 6:57 AM on August 25, 2015

Larry Terkel is great for beginners (like me). I use to be fortunate to live near him and go to his classes. He runs a yoga studio housed in a converted historical church, has written several books. He's a character, very intelligent businessman, graduated in engineering from Cornell, studied yoga for a year in the '70s and hasn't stopped.
posted by waving at 7:32 AM on August 25, 2015

You can do this! I am 56 years old and I've been doing yoga daily for the last 7 years. I've never been to a class in my life. I started with a VHS(!) tape "Yoga for Dummies". With a mirror it's pretty simple to tell if you're doing it right. I have progressed to some fairly advanced poses such as one legged king pigeon, little thunderbolt, and side crow because I felt like it, and have avoided injury by paying attention to how things feel and not going too fast. My "mantra" has been, "just do the best you can; it's supposed to be fun."
posted by probably not that Karen Blair at 8:02 AM on August 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

I find that the first 25 minutes of "Yoga X", which is part of the "P90x" program are really good. I have super tight hips and lower back and the first 25 minutes open them right up.
posted by aeighty at 8:05 AM on August 25, 2015

I've been doing yoga regularly for just over two years now. I too would recommend finding some in-person classes to get started. I do use videos at home too, but the class work I've done has helped me understand certain poses better, so I work with them better when they come up in videos. Also, videos can get you in a rut of doing the same things over and over, while classes will bring variation, which is important to have from time to time.

Some video resources I've liked:
Broga Yoga - cheesy name, I know, they're trying to build a brand of "yoga for guys," but they have a lot of short videos out on YouTube and Vimeo, that combine traditional yoga with some more standard calesthenics. Sometimes they run "30 day" programs where, for free, they will email you link to a daily short workout video, sometimes slow and stretchy, sometimes more active.

Dylan Werner's "Yoga Strength Basics for Beginners" - despite "Beginners" in the name, I wouldn't suggest these routines for total newbies. Werner is an amazingly advanced yoga practitioner, but while these videos are great at focusing on specific core areas of yoga (shoulder/arm strength, hip flexibility, spine, etc.), I feel like there are times where he's a bit slow to call out modifications to make certain things simpler. (I remember I was following one of these, and he calls for a certain seated twisting pose which my hips just cannot do and I knew it, but in the video he doesn't suggest the option of keeping one leg straight instead.) My opinion is these are really good if you've already got a little experience so you've got an idea what your body can and can't do at this time. Otherwise I think these are a lot of what you're looking for. The routines are each about 20-25 minutes long. (There's a second set, "Beginner Yoga Strength Classes" - if you buy both sets together it's a little cheaper.)
posted by dnash at 9:00 AM on August 25, 2015

If you don't mind spending a nominal fee, I highly recommend Dirty Yoga. I've taken in person classes off and on for years; Dirty Yoga does an excellent job explaining everything, is easy to follow, and very non-woo. I have a baby so I haven't signed up, I just keep buying access to the prep course which is move at your own pace ($15/mo).
posted by jrobin276 at 8:02 PM on August 25, 2015

Best answer: If you are looking to be limber...as a way to ease into it I would probably just do a bunch of sun salutations (say 6 sets, since you will lunge with either your left or right leg on each set and want it balanced) every morning. Downward-facing dog is a superb movement, especially if you kind of bounce around and really stretch out those shoulder joints. On the lunge you want to really crack those hips open, but don't force it all at once, the flexibility will come slowly.

And since you are using it as a flexibility routine rather than a yoga routine, I wouldn't worry over-much about whether you should be breathing in or out. If you are unconditioned, you may actually find yourself huffing and puffing a little bit, and that's totally fine!

Protip: employ Pavel's "Relax Into Stretch" approach with the movements (the book bearing that name is highly recommended!), and you'll probably find you're a lot more flexible than you thought you were (though probably not as flexible as you could be)! Breathe in (slowly, through the nose) as you start the stretch, then as you breathe out (slowly, through the mouth) you apply slight pressure to the stretch and will find that you suddenly get an extra degree of movement.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:50 PM on August 25, 2015

Seconding yoga studio. Great interface, good content. I try and do 15 mins every morning, (although the instructor annoys me with how much stretchier she is than me).
posted by greytape at 12:14 PM on August 26, 2015

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