Motivator & Yoga Mentor For Men
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Detoxifying Twists For Dudes

Guys, spring is a great time to detox your body, and get revved up for the summer. It’s natural to feel heavy after a long winter. Now is the time to get light, both in your body and mind. In this session, you will work twists to wring-out and cleanse your body. I will give tools for men to get leverage in these poses and really find the depth and benefit in them.

Here Are The Key Actions For Men In Twists:

Thread The Needle: Thread your top arm through the other. Make sure you keep your hips level so that it remains a twist, rather than a turn.

Locust: Lengthen your spine, straighten your legs and arms as you lift up. Make sure you stretch forward and back to maintain length as you backbend.

Down Dog: Keep the entire perimeter of your hands anchored down with a little lift underneath the very base of your wrists. As much as you can keep that little lift, work your arms straight and send your chest towards your thighs.

Chair Twist: Bring one hand to your thigh and use it as leverage to hook your opposite arm across the thigh. When you reach your arm up, lengthen that side long and round your upper-back to twist across the body.

Lunge Twist: Just like the chair twist, bring your hand on your front thigh, reach your opposite arm overhead as high as you can and use the hand on your thigh to twist your arm across deeply. Once you’re in the twist, you can look down for balance to straighten the back leg. 

Side Angle: Reach your bottom arm to the inside of your front foot, so your arm presses against your inner knee. Press your arm against your knee and knee against your arm to open your chest and set your shoulders back. 

Triangle: With your legs straight, touch down with your bottom hand, just to the outside of the center of your front shin. If your shoulders slouch, use a block. Press your bottom wrist or forearm against your outer shin to anchor the inner-edge of your front foot and open your chest towards the wall you’re facing.

Wide Angle Twist: Make sure your weight is evenly distributed in both feet. That’s how you will know that your hips are level. Keeping that, reach your hand across the body for the opposite shin or thigh, whatever you can get ahold of. Take the other hand above your head on the floor, and keeping your hips level, pull yourself under the extended arm.

½ Split Twist: If your front leg is straight, and you want more challenge, reach your opposite hand (if your right leg is forward, reach your left arm across and vice-versa) across the shin, and press your forearm against the outer shin to hold it in place. Keep your front toes and knee pointed straight up as you open your chest towards the wall you’re twisting towards. Literally put your chest forward. Once your chest faces the side wall, reach your top arm up.

Pigeon Thigh Stretch: It is a twist and a hint of a backbend. Make sure you set your top shoulder back, and keep the weight even on your back thigh.

Briggid’s Cross: Create a 90 degree angle with your legs. Stack your hips, as you lower down onto your forearms. With your elbows under shoulders, drag your forearms on the floor towards your legs to pull your chest forward and anchor your front outer hip under.

Twisted Triangle:  When you twist, keep your hips square and your legs straight. Send your bottom chest way forward towards the direction you’re twisting. Once your chest faces the wall you’re twisting towards, reach your top arm up. 

Twisted ½ moon: Just like twisted triangle, keep your hips square and send your bottom shoulder forward towards the wall you’re twisting towards.

Seated Twist: When you twist, widen your bent knee against your arm to send your chest forward.

Hip Openers For Men

Men have particularly tight hips.

Whether you are an athlete, or if you work a desk job, you are binding your hips. If you do not take the time to stretch and open them up, you will start to have bigger problems throughout your body. Tight hips can create torque on the knee joints and could result in low-back pain. This session is specifically designed for men to align their lower body optimally and open the hips efficiently.

Hip-opening is one of the most challenging areas for men to target. They take time and patience to open. You have to hold hip-openers and breath into that area where you feel a deep, achy release. Take your time, and be sure you do the work with integrity. If you stick with it, your hips will open up.

 

Below are the specific variations for men to align and open their hips and get out of pain.

Key Action: Set your upper-thighs back.

 

Cat/Cow
Make sure the center of your wrists are under your outer shoulder. For men with broader shoulders, this means your pinky-fingers may be off the mat. As you inhale, set your upper-thighs back to create a broadening across the low-back.

Plank/Chaturanga
Keep the legs straight to set your thighs back, so you are a plank shape throughout the entire progression.

Locust
Lift your legs up from the inner-thighs so that the legs are not rolling in or out as you lift up.

Cobra
Keep the weight even on the center of your thighs as you pull your chest forward and up.

Down Dog
Bend your knees half-way towards the floor. Look at your feet, and make sure they are about hips-width apart and that they point straight forward. Widen your knees as wide as your heels. Set your upper thighs back, until you feel a lift out of your pelvis in the low-back. Only as much as you can keep that lift, stretch your heels towards the floor.

Standing Forward-Fold
Make sure the feet point straight forward and the feet are hips-width apart. Bend your knees as much as you have to to touch the floor in front of your feet, and eliminate strain in the low-back. Keep your upper thighs over the center of your heels.

Half-Way Lift
Bring your hands to your hips, work your legs straight and waistline back as you come up to stand.

Downhill Skier
Step your feet hips-width (about two-fists width) apart. Make sure your feet point straight forward. Bend your knees deeply. Look at your knees and make sure the center of your kneecap points over your second toe-mound. Set your thighs back and lift your low-back out the pelvis as you stretch your arms overhead. Soften your front ribs and tone your belly.

Lizard Lunge
Angle your front foot away from the center of your mat 45 degrees. Make sure the knee points the same direction as the toes. Roll onto the outer edge of your front foot and engage your foot. Without moving your front foot, set the outer edge of your foot back, outer shin back, inner thigh back, and front outer hip back.

Twisted Thigh Stretch
Draw your back heel towards your outer hip and drag your back-knee forward to lift the back upper-thigh towards your heel – as if they were magnetic. As you twist the upper-body open, be sure you do not shift the weight onto the outer back knee.

Figure Four
Make sure you flex the foot of the top foot that is across your thigh. Press your hand against the foot to remind it to engage. Set your inner-thighs down and back to create a deep opening in your outer hip.

Downdog Lunge
Bend your front knee right over your front ankle and widen your front knee. Set your back thigh back evenly and tack your front hip under. Stretch your low back out of the pelvis.

Wide Angle Forward-Fold
Your feet should point straight forward and even with one another. Keep your weight even in both your heels and the balls of the feet. Work your legs straight as you fold forward. Set the in-seams of your legs back till you create a lift out of your pelvis in the low-back.

Side Angle
Keep your back foot parallel with the back edge of the mat and your hips square towards the side-wall that you are facing. Set your back upper thigh back and your front hip spiraling under. Stretch your top arm by your ear and lengthen the top side of your torso laterally.

Triangle
Stamp your back foot down heavy and legs fully straight. Lengthen your back and reach your top arm towards the ceiling.

Goddess
Point your feet diagonally towards the corner edges of the mat. Make sure your knees point the same direction as your feet. Set your thighs down and back. Keep a little arch in your low-back. Tone your belly and soften your front ribs.

Pigeon
Bring your front knee towards the side edge of your mat. Level your hips. Point your front foot and flick the toes against the floor to protect your knee. Set your front inner thigh back and your front outer hp back.

Baby Cradle
As you draw your foot back into baby cradle, make sure you engage your foot. Flex the foot that is in your elbow crease. Your extended leg is straight and rooting down. If your hips are tighter, modify by taking the top shin across your opposite thigh like a figure-four.

Reverse Table
Place your feet hips-width apart and your knees as wide as your feet. Stamp your heels down and lift your hips completely.

Janu Sirsasana
Root your hips down evenly and lengthen your back as you twist over your extended lieg and fold. If your leg lifts up or if your low-back rounds under, stay more upright.

Baddha Konasana
Bend both knees and bring your soles of feet to touch. If your knees are above your hips, bring your feet further away from you and either sit up on a block or lean back with your hands behind you. Widen your knees apart, set your thighs down towards the floor and back. Hollow your belly and lift your low back.

 

Increase Your Power On The Field With Yoga.

Featured on Philly.com

Philly.comUnion 

It has long been known that ballet classes help football players increase their flexibility, agility, speed and endurance on the field, but did you know that yoga can be another important part of cross-training for an athlete? More professional athletes from football, soccer and baseball are turning to yoga to help them recover from injury as well as boost their performance on the field.

Jake Panasevich, a former wrestler turned yoga trainer whose clientele includes the MLS Philadelphia Union, has made it his mission to make yoga more accessible for men and athletes. Any preconceptions you might have about yoga being just for women or just for those who are looking for more spiritual healing will fly out the window when you meet him. Panasevich strongly believes that men, specifically male athletes, can benefit a lot from yoga class.

How did you get involved in yoga? I have been an athlete all my life, playing soccer, but mostly wrestling. I wrestled from the age of 6 into college. Afterwards, I was left with lots of injuries and chronic back pain.

I got dragged to my first yoga class by an ex girl-friend. After two months of yoga, the pain had subsided and I had lost 40 lbs. There was no denying the results. I have been teaching yoga now for about 7 years, but it has only been the past 2 years that I have been focusing on teaching yoga to men and athletes.

Is yoga still dominated by women? It is shifting, getting better. I came to yoga, hesitant knowing it would be 98% women. It was intimidating. Women tend to be more flexible. Not every yoga teacher knows how to work with tighter, bigger guys with lots of injuries. It took me years to get the right teachers, the right training.

How did you get to work with the Philadelphia Union? It all happened through the help of a friend of mine at Lululemon who knows some of the players. They came to a class and loved it and then we talked to Kevin Miller, Union’s fitness coach, and he was very supportive of the idea. I worked with them last season and now we are trying to get started again for this season. We are figuring it out as we go.

In what specific ways does yoga help athletes perform better? Yoga helps with both injury prevention and the relieving of pain due to current injuries. I have also received a lot of feedback about how it helps athletes with body fluidity. They feel more balance and are able to open their bodies more, and perform more optimally.

The basic yoga poses first gets them more mobile and aware of their biomechanics, and then they are able to push their bodies to see how far they can take it. I focus on modifying the poses for each athlete’s specific limitations and injuries. That took me awhile to figure out for myself.

Grounding them and connecting them to their breath is also important. As athletes, they are always going at a fast pace. It is good to be still. To get grounded.

What have been the biggest influences that have shaped your philosophy on yoga? Growing up as an athlete and being a coach/teacher has definitely shaped me. So has the different yoga training I have taken including Vinyasa, Hot Yoga, and more alignment-based yoga. I pull from different modalities to create a unique yoga experience.

Panasevich teaches classes at local yoga studios as well as works with individuals and teams. To get a class schedule, check out his website.

 

Daily Yoga Routine For Dudes

Most men come to yoga with aches and pain. Whether it’s from a long athletic career, or through work or day-to-day life, men are nearly always dealing with some nagging injury. A daily routine is crucial for men to begin to get out of debilitating discomfort and begin living their lives healthy and pain-free.

 

This full-spectrum sequence is great for guys who come to yoga as a raw beginner. It is also a nice foundational practice for someone who is more experienced at yoga. These basic poses are powerful tools for healing the body and maintaining strength and flexibility. These poses are the pillars in which to build on a strong practice and they are the most efficient way to keep your vitality. Make the time to go through this short set of poses routinely and you will be thrilled with the results.

 

Below are the key actions and variations for optimal alignment for men in each pose.

Mountain
Stand at the top of your mat with your feet hips width apart and your feet pointing straight forward to create more space in your low back. Root your feet down evenly, straighten your legs, lengthen your back and deepen your breath.

Arms Overhead
On your inhale, reach your arms overhead with your palms facing forward to accommodate stronger shoulders, exhale: keep the lift in your back as you relax your arms at your side.

Standing Forward-Fold
With your feet hips-width apart, bow forward and touch your fingertips to the floor just in front of your toes. Bend your knees as much as you have to touch the floor to make it accessible for tighter hamstrings for a healthy alignment in your back. As much as you can keep your fingertips on the floor, actively stretch your legs towards straight.

Half-Way Lift
Inhale, straighten your legs, bring your fingertips on the floor in front of you or onto your shins, or thighs – get as tall as you have to in order to extend your back long. Tilt your chin up.

High Lunge Twist
Get onto your fingertips to engage your arm muscle and to prevent any slouch in the back. Stay on fingertips on the bottom hand as you reach your top arm up to twist.

Plank
Make sure the center of your wrist is under your outer shoulder. For many men who have broader shoulders, this might mean your first two fingers go off of your mat – they don’t make yoga mats wide enough for dudes.

Low Plank
Keep your elbows far enough far enough away from your ribs to keep your shoulders lifted.

Locust
If the shoulders are stronger and round forward, release your clasp and work with airplane arms or use a strap to widen your clasp.

Cobra
Keep a little bend in the elbows to prevent stronger shoulders from slouching.

Down Dog
Widen your feet hips-width apart, look at your feet and make sure they are straight forward. Bend your knees half-way towards the mat and without moving your feet, widen your knees as wide as your feet. Tilt your hips up, until you feel your pelvis tilt up and a lift in your low back. Only as much as you can keep that lift in your low-back, work your legs as straight as they will go.

Chair
With your feet and knees hips width apart to create more space in your low back, bend your knees and sit heavy while stretching your arms overhead, palms facing forward.

Side Angle
Bring your right forearm to your thigh so your back doesn’t strain, and stretch your top arm by your ear.

Triangle
Get as tall as you need to to avoid any slouching in the shoulders or back. This might mean you use a block under the front hand or lift the front hand off the floor.

Wide-Angle Forward-Fold
Touch your hands down just under your shoulders to accommodate for tight hamstrings. As the hamstrings open, you can walk your hands closer to your feet  and bend your elbows to bow.

Pigeon With A Thigh Stretch
If you can’t reach the foot, straighten your grounded arm and get taller. If you still can’t reach, let it go and lower your back foot down to avoid cramping in the hamstring. If you feel it about to cramp, let it go.

Pyramid
If your hamstrings are tighter, and you can’t touch the floor, keep your hands on your hips, or bend your front knee as much as you need, to touch the floor.

Bridge
If you are not able to get your arms straight, hold the edges of your mat to get more leverage.

Supine Twist
Keep your top knee bent in order to keep your shoulders planted on the floor.

Happy Baby
Hold the knees rather than the feet to create a healthy placement for your pelvis and low back.

Seated Wide Angle Forward Fold
Start with your hands behind you on the floor and root your legs down powerfully, lean back and lift your low back up and chest up until you feel your pelvis tilt up. Only as much as you can keep your legs rooted and a lift in your low back, you can bow forward.

 

15 Minute Yoga Routine For Runers

For all of my runner friends, this short sequence will help you run more fluidly and pain-free. Just by implementing this short routine, you will run faster & longer & recover more efficiently.

This sequence stretches:

  • IT Bands
  • Hamstrings
  • Quads
  • Hips

It’s these specific areas that tend to be problematic for runners and cause torque on the knees, hips and ankles. Take the time to get a yoga stretch in and you will crush your run!