Yoga Pilates for men is increasing in popularity because more athletes recognize the importance of cross-training.
The Benefits of Yoga Pilates for Men
There are mainstream classes that feature yoga routines customized to a man's physique and energy level, and Pilates, founded by former boxer and fitness expert Joseph Pilates, builds existing strength to enhance other areas of fitness. Thus, it seems natural to combine the two practices for a diverse workout that doesn't compete with primary exercise activities.
The benefits of yoga Pilates for men include:
- Increased flexibility, especially in the hips, thighs, and hamstrings
- Less lower back pain as the abdominal core is strengthened
- Improved coordination, which contributes to the performance in other sports
- Less muscle soreness, even in targeted areas
- A relief from joint pain
- Less stress
A Typical Yoga Pilates Routine
The core of yoga is to unite body, mind, and spirit together through breath to achieve a greater awareness. Joseph Pilates designed his routine specifically for improved physical fitness, but with control. The breath propels the yogi into the next asana, while Pilates forces breath out as the body pulsates through motion.The two disciplines are similar in that they are both accessible to beginners, and work from the core of the body outward.
A yoga Pilates routine for men might follow this sequence:
- A yoga warm up of twists, such as Seated Spinal Twist.
- Next, some standing poses, such as the Warrior series and Sun Salutations.
- Then, Pilates mat work, such as the The Hundred, Roll-Up, Plank, Leg Stretch, Leg Circles, and Pelvic Curl.
- Finally, a return to floor yoga, such as Child's Pose and Bound Ankle Pose, followed by a relaxation or meditation series to close the session.
As with any exercise, yoga Pilates for men can be as rigorous as you wish. While performing Sun Salutations, for example, you can hold in full plank pose, rather than resting on elbows and knees. Add Pilates equipment such as stretch bands or magic circle for greater resistance during Leg Stretch and Roll-Up.
Finding a Class
It's important to follow the instruction of a certified yoga or Pilates teacher if you're new to either practice. Visit Yoga Alliance or Yoga Meetup to find yoga classes. For Pilates instructors and classes, try PMA Pilates Certified.
Each registered organization will have more information about yoga Pilates opportunities.
Yoga Pilates for Men DVDs
The majority of yoga Pilates DVDs are led by female instructors and feature other female fitness performers. If you'd rather have a male instructor for yoga and Pilates, here are some recommended options:
- Combing Pilates and Yoga for Balance is Tom McCook's routine of yoga Pilates for men.
- Yogilates Series is a three-part series developed by Jonathan Urla. If you're familiar with yoga and would like to extend your exercise routine to include Pilates, that base knowledge will help you enjoy this series more. Also try Urla's New York Style Pilates Series for a more straight-ahead Pilates workout.
- Pilates for Men with fitness expert Lindsey Jackson puts practitioners through a rigorous routine. The disc also has an audio option that you can download to your mp3 player.
- Rael Pilates System Series is led by instructor Rael Isacowitz.
- Pilates for Men has the same title as above, but features four workouts on one disc, including a 10-minute time saver exercise.
If you'd like to try another diverse routine that combines disciplines, try Cameron Shayne's martial arts, yoga, and meditation series Budukon.