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Create a Routine & Stick With it: 10 Tips for Practicing Yoga at Home

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At some point, it’s necessary to develop a personal yoga practice to maintain your strength, flexibility and sanity.

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A personal routine will keep you in the game, no matter where you are or how your circumstances change. While yoga classes are a wonderful way to have fun, learn good alignment and build community, realistically, you won’t always have the luxury and time to attend class. A home practice will keep you feeling healthy, grounded and pain-free. It’s simple to start, and if you make it fun and effective, it’s sustainable.

Ask a teacher. Starting your home practice can seem overwhelming at first. There are so many different poses to choose from and even more videos and online programs. Unless you’re familiar with the poses or teacher already, it will nearly be impossible to navigate through all these resources. My suggestion is to ask your favorite local yoga teacher, who already knows you well, to help you develop a short home practice. Make sure you are clear that it has to be accessible and no longer than 10 to 15 minutes, or about 15 poses. Even if your instructor simply writes the poses for you via email, that’s a great way to get started.

Make space. Have a spot designated in your house or apartment for yoga. It doesn’t have to be anything glamorous or “zen,” but it should be able to fit your mat and allow you the freedom to move around comfortably. Have a free wall nearby to help with balance, inversions and other modifications. Reserving a spot for yoga makes it easier to practice at home regularly. Mentally, a yoga space helps you commit to sticking with it.

[Read: 7 Benefits of Yoga for Men]

Have a routine. Pick a time during the day to set aside for yoga. Make it a priority for yourself. Just like brushing your teeth, it’s not negotiable. It is your health, after all. The best time for a home practice is in the morning, before anything else comes up and derails you. Have a core sequence of poses that you practice every time. A sequence that you repeat is a great way to keep you focused, strong and flexible. If you’ve been practicing and making progress, you don’t want to lose it. Stick with a regimen, and it will make you feel more at home and yourself when you practice it.

Keep it short and simple. Have a home practice that you can complete in 10 to 15 minutes. While practicing for an hour is preferable, the idea is that you get what you need in your session, even when you’re short on time. A few poses I suggest: down dog, hip-opener, thigh stretch, hamstring stretch, back-bend, twist, seated forward-fold and standing poses, such as side-angle and triangle. They are infinitely deep and powerful when opening and strengthening your body.

Mix it up. Always have a core set of poses you practice. However, if you find yourself getting bored with your sequence, include different poses and variations. Keep it fun and light-hearted. Just be sure to know your limitations and when to practice humility and patience.

Challenge yourself. When you work hard on something that you love to do, it’s rewarding, and that’s the key to keep your mind clear and happy. There is no limit to the ways to challenge your yoga practice. Work toward a new pose. Start a timer, and hold poses for a minute or two. If you work at your physical edge without crossing it, then you’re making progress. The payoff is worth the sweat and effort you put in. (Note, however, that if you’re short of breath, clenching your jaw or in pain, you’ve gone too far.)

Gather the proper supplies. Safety is key. For healthy alignment, have these props: a yoga mat, two yoga blocks, a blanket and a strap to allow for modifications in the poses. Every pose can be adjusted with or without props. The props make the postures accessible and offer more options to continue to advance while staying safe. As you become knowledgeable on how to carefully place more injury-prone parts of your body in the postures, like lowering your knees to the ground, you only need the mat beneath you and the space to move freely.

Get inspired. A great resource for all levels of yoga practitioners is the “Yoga Resource Practice Manual” e-book  by Darren Rhodes. Darren is an excellent teacher and yogi. His e-book is thorough yet concise, and it provides pictures of each posture. The pictures alone are inspirational. If you’re in it for the long haul, this is a great home-practice tool.

Have no shame. Own it. Get your practice in anytime and anywhere. Bust out a down-dog or forward-fold in the airport, the office or in the hotel room.Take care of yourself first, and everyone around you will benefit from you being more grounded and happy.

Make it work for you. No matter what technique you use to continue your practice, stay with it. Do more of what works and less of what doesn’t. Believe in yourself and believe you are worth it!

Ask Jake To Help You Develop Your Own Yoga Routine!

Featured in Men’s Health Magazine

 

 

Written by: Ali Eaves of Men’s Health
Photos by Dom Episcopo

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You can read the full article here: http://www.menshealth.com/fitness/yoga-for-couples

7 Reasons Why Men Should Do Yoga: Gentleman, Get On Your Mats

While women are still the majority in yoga classes, there’s a strong movement of men not only trying yoga, but striving both on and off the mat.

Men benefit just as much from a regular yoga routine as women. Here’s how:

Yoga alleviates pain and injury. Most men come to yoga with injuries and pain, particularly in the back, knees and joints. Yoga uses controlled movements, expert alignment, biomechanics and breath to open your body efficiently while minimizing the risk of injury. Safety and alignment are the absolute first prio

rities in yoga. Yoga demands that you do not push beyond what you are capable of doing safely. Clear physical landmarks and attention to the breath prevent you from pushing past your limits. There’s always a variation or modification to keep you safe while still progressing and challenging yourself. Within the first month of a regular yoga routine, you will alleviate your pain and injuries

– beyond that, yoga will help take your health to a whole new level.

Yoga keeps your body fit, flexible and strong. 
Many men say, “I’m not flexible enough to do yoga.” That is like saying, “I’m not strong enough to lift weights.” The poses are powerful and specifically designed to open and strengthen your body efficiently. Yoga will make you more flexible, light and in many ways stronger than any other exercise – without wrecking your body! With patience and steady practice, you will become more open than you’ve ever imagined. The right combination of strength and mobility is key, whether you’re a professional athlete or just trying to age gracefully. You will tone and strengthen muscles that you didn’t know you had. The small muscles in your back that have been deteriorating from that desk job will be getting a long-awaited wake-up call. With a commitment to yoga, you will be a lean, mobile, strong and physically fit yoga machine.

Yoga will provide the fun challenge you craveYoga is more than just sitting around, humming and talking about your feelings. As a former collegiate wrestler, I can honestly say that some yoga classes are more challenging than any workout I’ve ever done. It will be humbling at times, but worth it. You will learn how to challenge yourself without being competitive. Competition will result in injury. Most men come from a strong athletic or business-minded background, where competition is fierce. Yoga teaches you to challenge yourself intelligently and completely without being overly aggressive. Learning new poses and noticing real progress is addicting! The light-hearted, compassionate attitude in yoga will help you to not take yourself too seriously, even while you’re sweating it out.

Yoga will help improve diet, sleep and overall health. Once you’re feeling the physical benefits of your yoga regimen, you naturally begin to shift your diet and sleeping patterns. You will no longer want to eat a pint of ice cream or stay out late on a weeknight knowing you’re doing these healthy things for yourself. During yoga, you will notice your mind is so focused on what you’re doing that it is impossible to think about your job, bills or anything else. You find yourself fully in the moment, and that complete focus puts your mind at ease. Afterward, you will feel grounded and relaxed. The combination of your body and mind feeling fantastic is a recipe for practical, healthy lifestyle changes.

Yoga allows you to do the things you love more efficiently and for longer. The whole point of yoga is to live your life to the fullest. Whether you love to run, fish, golf, play basketball, travel or play with your kids without hurting yourself – yoga will help you do the things you love better and longer. While the yoga poses are fun and a strong tool, they’re not the point. What matters is that when you feel great, you are able to truly savor life.

Yoga improves your performance and relieves stress. In the trenches of the workplace, sports arena, family reunions and even the grocery store, you will face many challenges. Yoga trains your mind to be grounded and calm, especially while in the fire of stress. Why would anyone want to put themselves in a challenging yoga pose, hold it and be asked to stay calm and breathe deeply? Because on the battlefield of life, you will be challenged far more than you will on your yoga mat. However, by practicing to stay grounded in very uncomfortable situations, physically and otherwise, you train yourself to be at your best when it matters most.

Yoga is the fountain of youthBetween all the physical, mental and overall health benefits, yoga will make you feel better and younger than you could have ever imagined. This only happens after you commit to a regular yoga routine. Anything worth doing will take patience and time. Yoga communities consist of the young and old alike who want to better themselves and live more vibrantly. You become the company you keep. When you surround yourself with people who willfully open their bodies and minds, you become more youthful and open to trying new things.

Going to the yoga studio for the first time could be intimidating and uncomfortable. Often times it’s difficult and confusing while trying to locate the appropriate class for a guy just starting yoga. Get a strong foundation from the convenience of your home or on the go with Jake at yogawithjake.com. Click here to get an intro to yoga video and sign up for a thorough, safe and comfortable start to yoga specifically designed for men.

 *This post originally appeared on USNews.com

Also published on http://yoganonymous.com/7-reasons-men-should-do-yoga-gentleman-get-on-your-mats/

yoganonymous

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Sean Seidell

seanOccupation:  Creative Director / Graphic Designer of Sean Seidell Art + Science

Favorite Hobbies:  Cooking, Gardening, Reading, Drawing and Travelling

Practical Benefits You’ve Experienced While Practicing Yoga With Jake:  Yoga allows me to play with my children more actively! I can sled, play on the monkey bars and skateboard without creaks, aches or pains! I’m able to move and behave like I’m younger than 40 years old.

Favorite Pose: Pincha Mayurasana – Forearm Stand

What Do You Like About Jake’s Approach To Yoga?: Jake is very real.  He embodies what he teaches.

Goals Reached With Jake’s Assistance (Yoga & Otherwise): Supta Virasana, a fully reclined Hero’s Pose, and Agnistambhasana, Fire Log Pose.

Future Plans/Goals (Yoga & Otherwise):  Build an infographic and/or iPhone app to help Yoga for Dudes.

 

15 Minute Yoga Routine For Runners!

For all my renegade runner-friends – All it takes is 15 minutes of yoga to recover and loosen up your muscles. Integrate this routine and you will be feeling ready to run faster and more comfortably the next time around !
This Yoga Routine Opens:

  • All sides of the hips
  • Hamstrings
  • Quads
  • IT Band
  • Back