Until around 1937 yoga was male dominated practice.
Priests and mystics developed and practiced yoga for thousands of years as a path towards enlightenment.
Today yoga, in the western world, is predominately practiced by women.
We hear men say, "Oh no, yoga is for women... it is not for me."
Have you ever thought that? Or heard someone say that?
You know the benefits of yoga, so why don't you go to a class?
Maybe you don't have a mat? Maybe you're inflexible? Or maybe you'd rather lift weights?
Whatever your reason, all men can greatly benefit from yoga. And that is why I decided to reach out to yogis around the world and see what yoga poses are best for men.
Here is the question I asked 42 yogis:
"What 3-5 yoga poses should all men practice daily."
My hope was to get the best yoga poses that address common problems found in men (tight hamstrings, hips, shoulders, etc.). That way, no matter the excuse, you can spend your time practicing the most beneficial poses for your health and flexibility.
Now to the results...
The Top 10 Yoga Poses for Men (as voted by 42 Yogis)
Continue to the bottom of the article to see all 46 poses that have been recommended.
- Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) – 16 votes
- Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana) – 9 votes
- Half Pigeon Pose (Ardha Kapotasana) - 7 votes
- Supine Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana) – 7 votes
- Supported Headstand (Sirsasana) – 6 votes
- Mountain Pose (Tadasana) – 6 votes
- Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) – 6 votes
- Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasan) – 6 votes
- Corpse Pose (Savasana) – 6 votes
- Sun Salutation A (Surya Namaskara A) – 6 votes
The Best Yoga Poses for Men
Responses listed in the order they were received:
Rachel Scott - Rachel Yoga
Downward Dog: the perfect pose for men. Downward dog is the perfect antidote for typical guy tightness because it opens the shoulders and the hamstrings - just what all our tight guys need!
Uttanasana: a targeted forward fold, uttanasana helps to stretch out the hamstrings, the muscle group that often shortens and "tugs" on the lower back. Many back problems evolve from hamstring tightness, as they can pull the pelvis under and put the lower spine into flexion rather than its natural extension. Daily life (sitting, driving) tends to encourage this misalignment. Stretching the hamstrings opens the back line of the body, which counteracts back posture by helping to bring a natural curve back into the lower spine.
Crescent/ High Lunge: This pose opens the hip flexors, chest, and shoulders. This is the perfect "anti-desk" pose and helps to open the front line of the body. An excellent pose for counteracting our sitting habits.. A perfect stretch for both working guys as well as runners and athletes.
Figure 4/ Eye of the Needle: For guys, the outer hips often get tight through other sports such as running, biking, hiking, soccer (you name it!) Figure 4 helps to open the outer hips and stretch piriformis, a muscle that can get tight and cause sciatica-like symptoms. Opening the outer hips is good therapy for both our athletes and desk jockies.
Paula Tursi - Reflections Yoga
Hamstrings hips and shoulders! A little deep breathing never hurt either ;o)!
- Supta Padagustasana
- Eye of the Needle
- Half dog
Dr. Satyam Tripathi - Union Yoga
- Sitting Half Wheel Pose (Ardhakati Cakrasana) 5 rounds
- Half Wheel Pose (Ardha Cakrasana) 5 rounds
- Locust Pose (Salabhasana) 5 rounds
- Bridge pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) 5 round
- Thunderbolt Pose (Vajrasana) 5 rounds
Nina Zolotow - Yoga for Healthy Aging
- Reclined Leg Stretch (Supta Padangusthasana). Stretches muscles in your legs and hips that can become tight from desk jobs and/or many other types of exercise, such as running, hiking, or cycling. For long-lasting results, hold at least 1.5 minutes.
- Downward-Facing Dog pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana). Stretches tight shoulders and legs at the same time it cultivates upper body strength (try holding it for 1 to 3 minutes!).
- Warrior 2 pose (Virabradrasana 2). Cultivates both upper and lower body strength while also increasing hip flexibility and improving balance.
- Tree pose (Vrksasana). Cultivates leg strength, and shoulder and hip flexibility while challenging your balance.
- Legs Up the Wall pose (Viparita Karani). Reduces stress levels, which is so important both for physical and psychological health. Bonus is a good stretch for your legs and, if you take your arms into a cactus position, a good stretch for chest and arms as well. You can do this at the end of any yoga practice or on its own anytime you need to de-stress.
Miranda Aponte - Inspiral Studio
I would say downward facing dog, child's pose, warrior II, and pigeon pose would be great for men to start with.
Sadie Nardini - Yoga Shred and author of the 21-Day Yoga Body
Men should do both poses that play to their natural strengths but also counteract and cross-train their weak spots. Men, like women, run the gamut from naturally more flexible to musclebound and tight. I recommend the following poses for any man who wants to strengthen using body weight, stretch safely, and optimize detoxification and metabolism:
Bound Lunge Pose: This move targets the lower body, strengthens the quads, hamstrings, quads and glutes, all while building stamina. It's also a great chest and shoulder stretch--an area where many men are tight and at risk for injury. If you can't reach your hands together, hang on to a belt or tie behind you and work your hands closer over time.
Come to stand with feet separated hip distance. Step one leg back long behind you, still that wide. Your front leg is bent, knee joint is never farther forward than your front ankle. Back foot is flexed and you're on the ball of that foot.
Reach your arms behind you and roll your shoulders back. Try to interlace your fingers or even clasp palms. Breathe and hold here for 10-30 slow, deep breaths. Then switch sides and do the same thing.
In yoga, we breathe through the nose with a little action at the back of the throat like you're fogging up a window. Keep your mouth closed unless you need more air, and breathe this resistance breath to also multitask and strengthen your cardiovascular muscles.
Plank of Fire : This one tones arms, abs, chest and shoulder stabilizers. It seems simple, but get ready--it brings the heat.
Come to Plank Pose: like the top of a pushup, hands shoulder-distance apart. For 1-2 minutes, simply turn your heels to the right and left like windshield wipers. Aim to keep your front abs and spine drawn in and long.
Tabletop: This is a stretch challenge, and targets men right in the tight wrists, chest and shoulders. It's a counterpose to Plank of Fire.
Sit on the ground. Plant your hands behind you, fingers facing in toward you or slightly turned out to the side. Bend your knees, and press your hip-distance feet down. Roll your shoulders back a little and try to lift your hips until you contact a chest or shoulder stretch. Breathe there for 5 breaths. Repeat 3-5x.
Boat Pose: This one tones the core and spinal muscles, but you have to be in proper alignment.
Sit on the ground. Sit up very tall and never round or hunch your back. This can cause low back/sacrum pressure. Sitting tall, Lean back and reach your arms forward like you're sleepwalking. Bend your knees and try to balance with your feet off the floor. If you can maintain a long spine, as if you're standing tall, then try to straighten one or both legs. Hold this pose for 1 minute. Do it 1-3 times!
When you're done, lie down on your back and stretch long, arms overhead, for a few breaths. You're good to go!
Anthony Hall - Ashtanga Vinyasa Krama Yoga at Home
The Four key Asana/Mudra that Krishnamacharya recommended to Ramaswami for daily practice are....
- Maha Mudra (Janu Sirsasana)
Elaine Beng Choo - Union Yoga Ayurveda
All basic yoga postures can be practiced for foundation , flexibility and strength etc that every man needs.
Basic Sun salutation that makes up a series of 7 postures in 10 stages that connect posture to posture in a slow controlled manner and using breath to support the movement will be ideal for beginners and daily practice.
Postures include: Stand mountain pose, forward bend, lunges, plank, 8 point pose, cobra pose, downward facing dog.
Yoga helps with your:
- Mental Health - meditation and breathing exercises
- Emotional Stability - balancing postures
- Physical Strength - all postures
- Flexibility - all postures
- stretching - all postures, standing and warrior poses (weight bearing poses)
- Strengthening - bridge pose/downward facing dog
- Stamina - Pranayama
- Balance and Cope with Stress - meditation
J. Brown - J. Brown Yoga
I teach an entirely therapeutic-orientation so the purpose is not too maximize physical ability and peak performance, but rather to restore and maintain functional body health. It's about having less pain and more function, then you can go train if you want.
- Simple Arm and Leg Lifts coordinated to breathing
- Reclined Twist.
- Standing Forward Bend
Crista Shillington - Crista Shillington Yoga
I would love to help you out, but to be honest, in this situation, I don't think I can. In my opinion, 3- 5 poses really isn't enough to experience yoga. I understand that you are wanting to make it accessible and interesting, but I really believe that 3- 5 poses is oversimplifying a deep practice that is already glossed over far too much in our culture. The most basic I can think of are the 10 main yoga asanas of Sivananda yoga, but even those are predicated by a pranayama practice and sun salutations.
David Garrigues - David Garrigues Yoga
Vrkshasana (Tree Posture)
I think of this classic standing balance pose as essential because doing it is not too easy and not too hard. Thus in working on it you can enter into the calming, meditative aspect of yoga. If your yoga is too easy you'll be bored and restless and want to quit, if too difficult you'll get frustrated, feel foolish, become self conscious and want to quit. In the beginning you want to choose such middle postures like Tree Pose. The pose itself features standing on one leg while doing a gentle, safe hip opener with the other leg. Engaging in the balance puzzle helps steady your mind and thus teaches you to enjoy states of meditative focus. If you reach the arms up brilliantly during your stay you can strengthen your whole body. Pressing your foot against your standing leg and swinging your thigh to the side gives hip flexibility and is also safe for your knees.
Adho Mukhasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Downdog is great for men for many reasons. One reason is that we men often have tight hamstrings and this pose gives a nice centered, powerful position that you can use to safely stretch the backs of your legs. Also we tend to have tight shoulders--tight everything!--except abdomens-ha! Downdog is a safe and effective entry-level shoulder opening posture. It is also an inversion and there are virtually infinite benefits to taking up a habit of turning your body upside down once a day. Inversions like Downward Dog Pose strengthen your arms, cleanse your internal organs and purify your blood and lymph nodes. Downdog is also another 'middle' pose that is not too easy and not too hard so you can struggle with it and also feel success and satisfaction. It is easy enough so that you can stay in the pose for long enough to receive meditation benefits of a calm mind and steady breathing.
Janu Sirsasana A (Head to Knee Pose)
This classic pose is the most basic seated forward bend. It is good for men because it is an active (instead of passive) seated meditation posture that gives you enough challenge to engage your mind and senses while at the same time offering you enough ease that you can relax and feel enjoyment while doing it. It provides you with another excellent entry point into working to gain hip and hamstring flexibility--two areas that are generally tough and challenging for men. Remember in every posture that you do you are looking to cultivate the essential ingredient of a steady, calm mind. See that your efforts lead you into a state of meditative focus this means that you are alert and fully awake and yet calm and steady—inhabiting your body as does an animal who is perfectly at home in the wild.
Purvotanasana (Eastern Stretching Pose)
This basic back bending pose will help bring elasticity and flexibility to your spine--something nearly all of us men are starving for. It is a very active, dynamic pose that brings strength at the same time as helping you gain flexibility-you can apply plenty of masculine grit while you are being humbled by the project of trying to open your chest. Doing this pose requires more flexibility than you might think. Remember you can use modifications to work on it. For example you can place your hands on blocks and/or bend your knees instead of having your legs straight. You will have more fun and enjoyment if you allow yourself to play around with the modifications. Being open to exploring different possibilities will help you inhabit your body and positively engage your mind.
Navasana (Boat Pose)
This is a great pose for men because it strengthens the gut--- where we are so vulnerable and where we have such a crazy need to look strong! Doing Boat Pose and variations will not only give you a visually pleasing belly :) -- it will strengthen you internally, help you to target the important invisible core muscles that make up your center. Withstanding the daily gauntlet of Boat will help you gain intangible strength that is reflected in the attitudes and stances that you adopt towards yourself, others and the circumstances that you meet. Many people hate this pose but if you can enter into the spirit of its belly and leg BURN it is a great source of a kind of dark enjoyment.
Sukhasana (Easy Seated Meditation Pose)
The last pose is the most essential!- to sit down, take any position, close your self off from the entire outer show--and enjoy your own consciousness in solitude. Being a man has so much to do with how we contribute to the world. Our performance at work and within our families largely defines us. And this is not a bad thing at all, we men are generous with our time and energy, we love to give and to share ourselves with world. But we need to take some time for ourselves. We need the experience of being alone- even if we don’t get to indulge our fantasy of retreating to a lonely cave in the mountains. We need to take time to withdraw our minds and senses, become open to entering into our own sacred interior world of prayer and communion. We need to give ourselves permission to know our bodies in these new and different ways, opening to knowing ourselves from the inside. Doing yoga can teach us that the body is meant to be a safe, sacred place where we can rest, recharge, dream, create, and draw forth insight and wisdom.
Dagmar Spremberg - Montezuma Yoga
Sun Salutation: This is a very good exercise that will warm up your body nicely and prepare for other poses. From mountain pose lift arms over head and fold forward, if you have tight hamstrings you can keep knees bend. From there step your feet back into plank pose, lower down with knees, chest and chin, come into cobra and then back on your exhale into downward facing dog (knees bend to keep back long). Then inhale to step forward and fold. Lift arms over head and repeat a few times, depending on how much time you have.
Plank Pose on Elbows: This is a great way to work all muscles of the body, esp. core and back. Men will enjoy it because they usually have good arm strength from doing push ups. Hold for at least 5 breaths.
Triangle Pose: Wonderful pose for side stretch. Lots of energy lines are in the side of the body and it’s great to open them so energy can move freely.
Savasana: Don’t forget to lie for at least 5 min in savasana at the end of any practice. Men often like to skip that one, but it’s important to let the body rest and integrate the postures. Very rejuvenating also before moving on with your work and day.
Carol Horton - Carol Horton Ph.D.
That's hard to say as it depends on the individual. I would suggest not so much poses, but breathing, mental focus, and intention:
- Practice slowing down and matching the lengths of your inhale and exhale to the fullest extent that you can without strain. Start by spending a few minutes focusing simply on breathing, either lying down on the back with knees bent, or seated in a comfortable upright position. Then, start working with poses while continuing to breath as fully, deeply, and evenly as you can throughout your practice (until Savasana).
- Notice the quality of your mind and thoughts without judgement. Practicing focusing your mind on your breath, syncing your breath with your movements, and noticing and letting go of extraneous thoughts as they arise. Practice cultivating a sense of calm, centered, and grounded awareness.
- Practice working with an intention to direct your awareness inwards in a kind and curious way. Practicing letting go of any internal judgement, self-criticisms, or negative thought patterns as they arise. Practice prioritizing how you feel internally over how you think you may look externally.
Hope that helps!
Robbie Norris - Richmond Private Yoga
If a person were to do 5 Ashtanga Yoga Sun Salutations A & 5 Sun Salutations B, slowly and attentively, every day, it would change their life. This would take about 15 minutes, followed by a 2-minute rest lying on one’s back. This is the first 15 minutes of the specific 90-minute Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series practice. The essence of this practice is initiating and infusing each movement with a breath, basically, inhale up / expanding; exhale down / contracting. There are nine breath-synchronized movements in Sun Salutation A, and 17 in Sun Salutation B. I can teach this over Skype to any interested person.
Mariah Frye Colie - Stone Turtle Yoga
Reclined hand-to-big-toe pose (Supta Padungustasana) with a strap/belt. This is the most efficient way to gain hamstring flexibility, which men typically lack. It works so well because the person's back is flat against the floor, so no rounding of the spine can occur. It also works so well because you are focusing on one leg at a time. Be sure to keep the lifted leg completely straight, and both legs engaged. Hold for 10-15 breaths and switch sides.
Eagle pose (Garudasana) - arms only. This is a key shoulder opener for guys, who tend to have tight shoulders. If they can't access the final version of the pose, then simply trying to get the back of the hands to touch is sufficient. I see a lot of guys struggle with this pose, which usually means it's a pose they need!
Downward Facing Dog (Ahdo Muka Svanasana). Another pose that guys usually don't like, but is SO good for them! It gets into hamstrings and calves, and also the shoulders and chest. All of those areas tend to be tight on most men, which is why I see a lot of them struggle with downward dog. I have my students work on down dog in stages: first with knees bent and long, straight spine and arms. The knees bent enables them to tilt the sitting bones upward while creating one long line from the hips all the way down to the wrists (usually there is a bend at the shoulder joint, which we try to eliminate in this stage). Then, I'll have them come up onto their tippy toes and straighten their legs, hips lifting high. This gets them to understand the importance of the lift of the hips and the straightness of the legs, while still maintaining the length in the spine, shoulders and arms. Last is the full version of the pose, where everything stays the same but the heels come down. It becomes quite strenuous at this point, but it gets easier with time. Make sure to rest in child's pose after this one :)
Manoj - Rishikesh Yoga Retreat
Namaste and Greetings !
The most popular Yogic Asanas are mentioned below :
- Butter Fly Pose
Christine Jaureguiberry - Yoga Berry
Gomukhasana: Great for shoulder flexibility.
Ado Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog): Great pose for the hamstrings, arms, legs and shoulders. If you have tight hamstrings bend the knees a little so the back is straight and you don't round in the upper back.
Janu Sirsasana: Again good for hamstrings, kidneys and prostate!
Salabhasana: Backbends are important to keep the back strong and this one is great if you have an office based job where you tend to round the upper body and shoulders a lot!
Sirsasana (headstand): Good for the brain, pituitary and pineal glands. Great if you suffer from insomnia and general cold and flu symptoms!
Mary Catherine Starr - Starr Struck
- Yogic squat
- Supine twist
- Down dog (spend some time in this pose, bending one knee and then the other)
- Pigeon pose
- Standing forward fold
Michelle Finerty - Vibrance Yoga
Based on my experience teaching yoga and having many men come to my classes with back and neck pain, I recommend the following poses for a daily practice.
Downward Facing Dog to open up the back, neck, and hamstrings.
Eagle to open the shoulders and work on balance.
Four square (sitting with feet hip distance apart on the mat and one ankle on the opposite knee) - this opens the hips in a more comfortable manner than the other hip openers.
Cat Cow to open the upper body fully.
Supine Twists - laying down and drawing one knee across the opposite leg while looking over the shoulder of side of the bent knee. This is another good pose for the back.
Aparna Ravi - Peace off the Mat
It’s ironic. From ancient times to the more recent 20th and 21st century, all the grand masters, teachers and proponents of yoga have been men. So it’s funny to hear some men say “Oh no..Yoga is for women, it’s not for me.” All the goodness that yoga has to offer such as peace of mind, meditation, mental and physical awareness, strength, relaxation can be enjoyed by all.
Despite the fact that yoga is really meant for everyone, there are some generalities that tend to be true for certain genders. Typically, men have strong upper bodies with muscle tightness and tension in the shoulder, upper back area. Furthermore, due to our sedentary lifestyles of driving in cars, sitting at desks at work for 8, 9, 10 hours, we all tend to suffer from tightness in the hips and low back. (Disclaimer: please note that this isn’t meant to be a blanket diagnosis on all men)
The poses mentioned here target some of the major areas of tightness and tension we all tend to have. Done for a few minutes each day, these asanas can bring about relief, and mindful awareness of the state of our bodies which can then lead to better practices and choices in taking care of ourselves.
The following yoga asanas (postures) can be done in the comfort of your home, or at your desk at work (provided your co-workers are an understanding bunch and don’t mock you. If anything, they should be jealous of your infinite wisdom and knowledge).
Enjoy, and remember: Yoga is meant to be practiced over a long period of time, so don’t stress and/or worry if you aren’t attaining perfect alignment when you practice.
1. Garudasana (Eagle) arms
Sit in a comfortable seated posture. Inhale and lift arms out into a T, then bring right arm under, left arm on top, criss-cross and bring your forearms and palms to touch. Please note that if bringing your forearms or palms to touch is too difficult, simple criss-cross and hug the shoulders. Wherever you land in this pose, bring a little bit of a lift in the elbows, breathe, and relax for 5 – 10 breaths and then switch arms.
This pose is great for stretching the upper back, shoulders, biceps and triceps.
2. Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge)
For all of us who suffer from tight hips, this pose is a God-sent. From Downward Dog, step your right foot forward, softly bend right knee, then drop left knee onto the ground while maintaining a stable right knee. Inhale and lift your torso up right. Gently engage your core, bring the tailbone down, and remain here for 5 – 10 breaths. Arms can stay relaxed by the side, but a more advanced option is to lift both arms up towards the sky, while relaxing the shoulders and shoulder blades. Repeat for the same amount of time with left foot forward.
3. Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Fold)
After sitting for hours on end, hunched over, being busy worker bees, our low backs go through a lot of compression and tension, which often leads to tightness and some pain. This next pose is wonderful for stretching out the whole spine and duals as an awesome hamstring stretch
Sit on the floor with your glutes supported on a blanket, and straighten legs out. Actively press through the heels. Inhale torso up, lean forward from the hip points. If possible, take the sides of the feet with your hands, with your elbows fully extended. If this isn’t possible, use a strap and loop around the foot soles. Hold the strap firmly, hold elbows straight and breathe for 10 breaths.
David Lurey - Find Balance
1) Wide Angle Pose Forward Bend (Prasarita Padotanasana) is great for flexibility and strength in the legs and stimulating energy in the pelvic floor.
2) Lying on the back Bridge Pose (Setu Bhanda Sarvangasana) with a block between the knees for prostate health as well as lower back strength.
3) Twisted Triangle (Parivrita Trikonasana) for the same reasons as Bridge Pose.
4) Headstand (Sirsasana) - Upper body strength, mental focus and prostate energy.
In addition to these, please check out some of my work for Men & Yoga.
Karolina Darshan Deep Kaur Burbach - The YOG
I don't think that there is the pose every man should practice every day. Every man is different and also even the needs and requirements of one men can change over time. In Kundalini Yoga, there is a multitude of fantastic kriyas (= exercise sets) for different topics (physical topics as hip openers but also mental and emotional topics such as to release fear or anger)...
Nevertheless, I have picked a kundalini yoga exercise that everyone can benefit from, men and women. It should be practiced daily for a couple of minutes. The exercise is related to the navel point or our 3rd chakra, the power center. It fosters the qualities that are commonly considered as male: the power to act, to achieve, to push through. If this center is balanced, you are in tune with your will power - but in a balanced way - and have the power to lead. Working on the navel point, it also helps to maintain male potency.
Stretch Pose (half boat)
Lie on the back and root the lower spine deeply into the ground. Then raise head and legs 6 inches into the air, the hands are straight next to the body or can support the neck if necessary. Look behind the toes into infinity. Breath deeply for one minute. Then start breath of fire: a strong, rhythmical breathing technique through the nostrils with equal emphasis on the inhalation and exhalation. It is a good idea to join a local kundalini class or see a private teacher to learn the proper technique as breath of fire is a very powerful and cleaning breathing practice. Practice for 3 minutes daily. You can make brakes and then come back into the pose. Then, relax flat on the floor and feel the energy moving through your body and your navel point.
Attention: The lower spine has to be flat on the floor for this exercise. If this is not possible for you, worry not. It is not possible for most people. Just alternate the legs while your are doing the pose.
Dhyanjot - Jot Yoga
I would recommend to work on the strength of ones core, flexibility of the spine, alignment from head to toe, and finding space and their relationship with their hips. The most important thing about posture is to realize the true meaning of the word “asana” which means "to take a seat". So all the postures and movements are done to prepare a man or women to take a seat to practice powerful breathing exercises and meditation. So it is an important journey in Yoga for Men to come to terms with their body by finding ways to prepare themselves to take a seat for 30-62 minutes at time. This kind of contemplation is the jewel of a mans success. But it starts with their body alignment and awareness.
I hope that helps, but I just want to emphasize the benefits of one on one guidance prior to going into a yoga class sets them up for success so they can learn alternative postures and alignments that work for their body type. Once they know what they are doing then the ego gets out of the way and then they are on a successful journey of looking at themselves in the process and not worrying about everyone else in their practice.
Jenifer Kayhan - My Way
As an answer to your question I think Sun Salutation series (A and B) are very useful for daily practice. It's not only for men, for everybody. If you look deeply you will see that they are both like a cycle and there is a flow in it. I suggest to start with A, two times in a row and then continue with B three times in a row. This practice can be used as a warm up or in the morning as an energetic start of a day.
Kim Wilson - Thrive Studio
To open the hips (which I find very tight on a lot of men) Half lord of the fish pose to open the piriformis.
Malasana/squat to open the hips and stretch out the gastro and achilles (another commonly tight spot on men), as well as the inner thighs and glutes.
High lunge/crescent lunge with pelvis in neutral. The back knee can be up or down to help release the psoas and quads.
Bound angle to open the inner thighs and pelvis:)
Child's pose with arms to each side to open the side body and intercostal spaces.
Ariana Rabinovitch - Ariana Yoga
My short answer... I don't tell anyone to practice the same poses daily. Everyone is different and I try to avoid blanket suggestions like that. In fact, I would say if someone wants to have a daily practice make sure s/he incorporates poses that mobilize and strengthen different parts of the body. This helps to avoid repetitive stress injuries that can occur as a result of doing the same movements over and over. That being said, I can recommend one "pose" to everyone daily: Find a comfortable, quiet seat and pay attention to your breath for 5 minutes.
Allison Candelaria - Yoga Medicine (by Tiffany Cruikshank)
Crescent Lunge with Interlace
strengthens quads, hamstrings & core
From a standing position at the top of your yoga mat, step one foot towards the back of the mat while staying on the ball of the foot and keeping feet hips width apart. Begin to bend front knee to stack over front ankle coming into a Crescent Lunge. Draw your tailbone down while hugging in around the waist and stacking shoulders over hips. To modify bend back knee to keep shoulders over waist. Interlace your hands behind your back, or grab onto a towel with both hands behind your back creating space between the front of the shoulders and opening the chest. The key here is to think of broadening the clavicles to target the chest, while keeping the the shoulders stacked over the wait to target the front of the back leg. Stay for 3–5 breaths then repeat with opposite leg in front.
strengthens lateral line of the body
stretches lateral line of the body
From a standing position at the top of your yoga mat, step one foot towards the back of the mat with toes facing the long edge of the mat. Keep front toes facing forward and align the front heel with back arch as if you where walking on a tight rope. Bend the front knee stacking it over the ankle. To check the length of your pose, extend your arms out and your feet should approximately line up under your hands . Open hips towards the side of the mat as the tailbone lengthens and the ribs knit back to stack the shoulders over the waist. While keeping the structure of the pose from the feet up and the arms extended out, flip your front palm up and reach your arm up and back towards back leg while resting back hand on thigh. Think of contracting the one side of your waist while the other side is lengthening. Stay for 3–5 breaths then repeat with opposite leg in front.
strengthens legs & core
stretches hip flexors & front body
From the top of your yoga mat, step one foot towards the back of the mat with the heel lifted and bend the front knee aligning it over the ankle to come into a runners lunge with the hands supported on the floor. Begin to slide the back leg further back and lower the leg to the floor so the area above the knee cap rests onto the ground. As you move your hips forward, begin to lift the chest and place your hands on the front leg stretching the front of the hip of the back leg. Think of drawing in around the waist to support the low back and open the front side of the body. Stay for 3–5 breaths and repeat on the opposite leg.
stretches chest, spine & hips
Lie on your back and bend your knees into your chest, keeping your head and shoulders resting on the floor as you take both knees over to one side. Concentrate on opening the chest, spine and hips on the side opposite of the knees. Hold for 3–5 breaths and repeat on the opposite side.
Reclined Thumb to Big Toe
Laying flat on your back, lift one leg and use a strap or towel over the ball of the foot to stretch the hamstrings while being able to relax head and hips on the floor. Relax into the pose noticing the changes of the tissues on the back of the leg. Concentrate on keeping the back of the knee soft and pushing the ball of the foot into the towel or strap to stretch the belly of the hamstrings muscles. Stay for 1-2 minutes and then repeat on the second side.
Arthur Klein - Y Yoga Movie
- Sun Salutes A
- Sun Salutes B
When traveling etc. even if I don't have time to do anything else 5 of A and 5 of B makes the day perfect. As perfect as a full 90 min class.
Charli Sparks - Yoga Rhythm
1. Malasana Pose
I like to call this pose 'Smiling Buddha' fantastic pose known to also help prevent Prostate Cancer. A balancing posture for all the primary chakras (energy centres) in the body. Also, in a modern society where desk work is a daily habit their hips can often become extremely tight, this posture is also a fantastic hip opener, great for fertility and increase in blood flow to the reproductive organs. If you are tight in the hips and calves here this will be a killer - so i would highly recommend also trying to achieve this posture supine on your back, bottom touching the wall and with your feet flat up against the wall to help gently open the hips and with your spine lying flat on the ground, a lot of men when trying to practice this pose will round the spine and go onto the heels due to restrictions in various areas of the body, more beneficial long term to practice this posture supine as previously mentioned 1st then progress to standing on your feet when you know you can keep your spine straight and not hunched over. Try not to strain the shoulders and neck, keep it relaxed. Breathe and hold here for as long as feels comfortable and when you come out of this pose especially when you have been enjoying it supine, please take your time not to rush. This is also a fantastic posture for men who like to run, cycle and swim a great counterbalance to compliment their practice.
2. Diamond Pose
Have your legs as far away from you as possible whilst keeping the feet touching sole to sole. Knees softly bent. Inhale raise the arms exhale lower down towards the floor or as far as you feel comfortable. Hold for as long as possible. Great pose for men who need relief from their lower back and stretch out the hamstrings - a common area of tightness for men.
3. 8 Point Shoulder Pose
This is one of my absolute favourites!!!! It is a fantastic cervical spinal release - a HOTSPOT for everyone including men who work at a desk, cut down trees, plasterers, sportsmen, every kind of man will appreciate this posture! AMAZING! You will feel the world has lifted from your shoulders following this pose.
Seriously this is a top top top MUST pose for men to do :) And anyone can do it - any ability, any size, you can modify and use belts to help you bring your hands closer together, you can have only one leg bent rather than two....and you can practice, with time will be able to hold their hands in this pose and have both legs bent into tent pose. But you must be gentle getting in and out of this pose, it is a deep nourishing pose. Hold for as long as you feel comfortable and ensure deep belly breathing to encourage stimulation for the digestive organs also. This is also a great detoxing pose so for those men who like to enjoy a few pints and head bang to some cracking tunes this is the 'post' pose for you! :)
Great fun! Youthful and a great endocrine balancer. Makes you feel empowered and alive.
A great pose to get the happy vibes in any man going :) There are an abundance of Hand Stands to choose from, I would recommend using the wall 1st to enable correct alignment. The 90 degree handstand facing the wall is a great 1st choice to start from. Remember to rest in childs pose following handstand or forward bend to allow your body to adjust to being upside down. LOVE LOVE LOVE handstands!
I have found from my teachings Men, especially to beginners... like to feel strong and capable, they often don't like yoga as they associate it to being too gentle and 'relaxing' but there are 2 sides to every coin, the restorative side to honour and nurture your body as and when you need to especially if you are feeling sore and out of balance and the other side the more physical stronger practice of yoga to bring the body feeling powerful, mind strong and heart clear.
When you are in need of some 'endorphins' , inversions are the way to go - Handstands, Headstands, Arm Balances, Elbow Balances. Fun times!
Dopamine Increase - i.e. self worth, self esteem - core work is fantastic - I do love the 'Eagle Crunch' Pose :) Lying onto your back with your arms & legs in 'Eagle' pose - you then draw your legs away from you and arms above towards your head keeping the back grounded and then return back to original position. Great workout for the core.
Also, just want to say as well....I would highly encourage Breathing Techniques to be included within your article as breath is so important within the practice of yoga as well as the power behind mudras 'hand gestures' as i use these both a lot within my teachings to men and women to enhance the power of the pose, often giving men a different mudra to the women to enhance their masculine energy, or they may often be given hand gestures to balance out their masculine energy with a 'feminine' energy mudra to suit.
Rachel Koontz - Alive in the Fire
- Forward folds, whether seated or standing, are great for increasing hamstring flexibility (Paschimottanasana and Uttanasana). If you're a runner, cyclist, or athlete of any kind, really, these poses will help you move with more agility and avoid injury.
- Hip openers like Half-Pigeon pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana), Garland pose (Malasana) and reclining bound angle pose (Supta Baddha Konasana) are great for men to focus on. Whether you're active or spend a lot of time at a desk or driving in your car, chances are your hips are tight (this is true of most people, whether male or female!). Remember to be patient with these poses, breathe deeply while you're in them, and move with integrity.
- Arm balances and inversions such as Crow pose (Bakasana), Headstand (Sirsasana) and Handstand (Adho Mukha Vrksasana) are great for guys to try. Often men have a lot of upper body strength and can use that to their advantage in these tricky balancing poses. Cultivate a sense of playfulness, awareness and patience as you practice. I've taught many classes where men who are brand new to yoga can do these poses, and they just needed the right cues for getting into the postures, so stay open-minded and have fun on your mat!
Sarah Finger - ISHTA Yoga
- Cat/cow: for fluidity, free flow of breath, opens up the chest and shoulders and helps release the lower back.
- Downward facing dog: opens up the hamstrings (which tend to be tight especially for men) and the shoulders. It's a mild inversion so helps to see things also in a new perspective.
- Bridge pose: opens the chest and frees the breath. Helps improve poor posture.
- Reclined ankle to knee pose: Opens up the glutes and hips which are also areas of tightness for men because of the shape of the pelvis, as compared to women.
- Savasana: helps move us from a state of doing to a state of being. Most importantly: it teaches us how to surrender. All good qualities that are not inherently masculine but that the male population would benefit from.
Catarina Lacayo - It's Yoga Nicaragua
If you practice the Sun Salutation, as thought in Ashtanga Yoga, it will target all the key areas (hips, hamstrings, lower/middle/upper back, shoulders and neck).
The Sun Salutation A consists of 7 poses and by practicing in a slow unbroken rhythm it is a practice in itself when repeated 5 x in synchronicity with a conscious breath and a strong focus. It will strengthen and stretch the body and calm the mind and the nervous system. : )
Starting in Samastitihi, equal standing
1. Inhale, hands up, look up to the thumbs.
2. Exhale, bend forward gaze at tip of nose.
3. Inhale, head up, straighten spine, gaze between eyebrows.
4. Exhale, bend knees, jump back (or step back) to High Plank Pose and lower down to elbows 90 degree Pushup.
5. Inhale, roll up to Upwards Dog, gaze to the sky.
6. Exhale, lift hips back to Downward Dog. Gaze toward navel.
Hold for 5 LONG CONSCIOUS breaths.
7. Inhale, jump or step your feet up between your hands, gaze between eyebrows.
8. Exhale, fold at your waist, gaze at the tip of nose.
9. Inhale, come all the way up looking between your eyebrows with spine straight, arms up, gaze at thumbs.
10. Exhale, arms to sides, Samasthiti, equal standing.
Sabrie King - Sabrie King Yoga
The poses I believe men should do on a regular basis (even though a complete practice would give them the most benefit) are:
Warrior 2, Triangle, Extended Side Angle, and Half Pigeon
These postures help open the chest, shoulders, and hips. Areas where men tend to be tight.
Kristy McBurney - The Jewel of Yoga
1. Tadasana (Mountain):
This is a strongly grounding pose, planting the feet properly with equal balance on the soles gives it grounding and strength. This posture helps build the intrinsic muscles of the feet and ankles, by softening the knees we also build the correct balance and strength in our calves and quads. By gently tilting the pelvis we soften the curvature of the lumber and by lifting up through the spine and head we engage the muscles of the spine and abdomen - realigning our spine and building the muscles required to support correct posture. By rolling the shoulders back and placing our arms by our side we relieve the tension in shoulders and neck and open up our chests. Simply closing our eyes and listening to our breath in this position not only helps promote good posture, but also calms our mind and focuses our attention inwards.
2. Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior 1)
This posture allows the stretch of the ham strings in the back leg whilst building the quads and calves of the front leg, it gives a deep stretch of the inner thighs and helps to gently relieve stiffness in the groin and hips, it improves balance and strength in ankles which in a society stuck at desks, in cars and on sofas is something we all need to practice. With the upward extension of arms we open the the chest and abdomen whilst stretching the thoracic spine. we build strength in our shoulders and arms and improve our circulation. This is a very empowering yet grounding pose.
3. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog)
Again from either sitting orientated tasks, stress or manual labour we end up with lower back issues, thoracic tension, tight hamstrings or stiff necks. This posture allows us to build arm and upper body strength whilst giving our hamstrings and spine a good stretch relieving tension from neck to tail bone, glutes to toes.
4. Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose)
This posture helps to strengthen feet, ankles, calves, quads, glutes, abdomen, back shoulders and neck if done correctly, it also gently stretches the spine especially relieving tension held in our thoracic and upper spine/neck. This posture opens up our chest and shoulders and engages our pelvis and hips too. This pose is also well known for helping to relieve tension in our abdomen generally built up from emotional issues, sometimes these reveal themselves as eating disorders, digestive issues and muscular cramps.
5. Savasana (Corpse Pose)
This may seem like a simple enough pose but many people struggle to simply lay in this pose and be still of mind and body. Everyone should spend at least five minutes after a yoga practice in this posture. Use props where necessary like a towel under the lumbar spine or knees if the back is uncomfortable. When comfortable, take three deep breathes and with each exhilation feel the body sinking and relaxing further into the floor. Then as you breath normally rest your attention at your naval following the rise and fall as you breath. Total relaxation from tip to toe with a gentle breathing meditation thrown in - the perfect way to combat fatigue, stress, improve concentration, lower blood pressure and just be.
I hope this is ok for you, of course this is not a definitive list and everyone's needs are different physically and mentally and all practices should be adjusted accordingly. Students with concerns should consult their medical practitioner before doing any exercises.
TyonaVallejo - Tyona Vallejo Yoga
- Reclined pigeon will help open the hips and can help relieve back tension.
- Modified lunge will stretch the hip flexors.
- Reclined twist is great for lower back if there are no current back issues.
- Cobra pose will help stretch the back as well as open the chest and shoulders.
- Downward dog will stretch the spine and strengthen the back and should muscles.
Luci Yamamoto - Yoga Spy
While all men are not built alike, the following poses would probably benefit all (women, too!):
Adho Mukha Svanasana: Downward Dog pose is an all-in-one pose that stretches both upper and lower body. If you have time for only one pose, do Child’s pose, which targets the hip flexors, and then enter Downward Dog. Eventually time yourself for long holds (five minutes is an excellent isometric workout, if decent alignment can be maintained). If you are very stiff, start with a preparatory spinal stretch (palms against wall, body in 90-degree angle with legs perpendicular), especially if the shoulders and spine do not form a straight line. As range of motion increases, you can progress to using a chair (palms on seat) and then progress to the full pose on the floor.
Virabhadrasana I: This version of Warrior pose targets the psoas (a hip flexor) and quadriceps, both which are trouble spots in men. This pose is a variant of a lunge, but requires more release in the lower leg (calf muscles and Achilles tendon). The overhead arm position elongates the torso and expands the chest. The powerful stance boosts not only physical strength and stamina, but also mental confidence.
Utkatasana: Akin to a squat, this pose strengthens the quadriceps, lengthens the lumbar spine, and opens the shoulders and chest. Because only body weight is involved (no barbell, etc), one can hold the pose longer and refine one’s form (it’s a different type of challenge than pushing weight, and it will improve one’s form at the gym). Bonus: Go all the way into Malasana, a maximally deep squat.
Supta Padangusthasana: Many men have tight hamstrings, which can cause a backward-tilted pelvis. Supine leg stretches using a strap keep the spine safely grounded. This pose, if done daily, can produce noticeable results. Because it’s supine, it’s a relaxing way to unwind after work.
Ashley Josephine - Ashley Josephine Wellness
I can’t really answer this question because I don’t believe that all men should do one set of postures. The truth is every body is different and every body will benefit in different ways from different postures. My husband has tight shoulders, one of my long-time male students has bad knees, a former male client had a hip replacement, and there are plenty of male students who come to my classes who are able to do all sorts of crazy yoga postures without limitation.
So if I had to pick 3 yoga postures for any body to do, and this is regardless if you are male or female, it would be:
- Savasana, or Corpse Pose, to relax
- An easy seated posture so you can take time to meditate (this will look different for everyone and does not have to be a cross-legged position)
- Tadasana, or Mountain Pose, to feel strong and grounded and to further refine every-day good posture
Melissa Krieger - Bloom Yoga
Narrowing down the best few yoga poses for men to do on a daily is tricky - there are so many good ones! If you only have a few minutes to do five poses a day I recommend the following ones:
- Crescent Lunge
- Standing Forward Fold
- Downward Dog
- Eye of the Needle
- Reclining Twist
There is a tendency to tense the body and restrict the breath when we are are stretching tight areas. Try to stay relaxed during these poses, encouraging a steady flow of breath and softness through the face, neck and shoulders. If you can't breathe well or are super tense you are stretching too hard!
Todd Vogt - Yoga Union
According to a book by Robert Moore, the following archetypes shall be cultivated in a man. I’ve assigned a pose to each:
King = Vajrasana
Warrior = Virabhadrasana 2
Magician = Urdhva Vrikshasana
Lover = Supta Bhaddha Konasana
Tianne Banerd - Yoga with Tianne
Yoga offers health and vitality not just for the body but also the mind and spirit. The poses help stretch and strengthen the body- great for injury prevention, sport recovery and general fitness. Mindfulness and deep breathing help reduce stress, calm and clear the mind. With yoga you have it covered- you will look and feel better from the inside out!
1. My mind is clear and quiet, I am open minded- Mindfulness Meditation “Meditation, because some questions just can’t be answered by Google”, Anonymous
- clears your mind
- strengthens attentional focus
- strengthens active listening
2. I am balanced and centered- Tree Pose “ Praise and blame, gain and loss, pleasure and sorrow, come and go like the wind. To be happy, rest like a giant tree in the midst of them all.” Buddha
- strengthens your center, your core
- strengthens inner focus, balance
- cultivates ability to maintain equilibrium
3. I am strong- Warrior II Pose “Yoga is a powerful vehicle for change. As you build your strength, you start to believe in your own potential.” Tiffany Cruikshank
- strengthens legs
- opens hips
- opens shoulders and chest
4. I am flexible- Forward Fold “I bend, so I won’t break”, Anonymous
- stretches the hamstrings, calves.
- strengthens the thighs and knees
- lengthens spine
- stimulates organs including intestines, kidneys, liver
5. I live, love and lead with an open heart- Cobra Pose “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” Dalai Lama
- opens chest and lungs
- strengthens back and arms
- stretches abdomen and hip flexors
6. I take time to relax, restore and rejuvenate- Basic Relaxation Pose “There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither.” Alan Cohen.
- relaxes the body and calms the mind
- stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, reducing stress and stimulating your body’s natural healing mechanisms
- helps reduce tension headaches, fatigue, and insomnia.
- helps to lower blood pressure.
In the words of the English musician and yoga man, Sting, “Yoga is almost like music in a way; there’s no end to it.” So get started today, keep it up and enjoy the amazing benefits.
Carla Jean Whitley - Ink-Stained Life
Reclining pigeon: I include pigeon--sometimes called sleeping pigeon--in every class I teach, and I frequently teach the reclining version as well. This is especially good for people whose knees give them trouble in king pigeon variations. It's a deep hip opener, which releases tension that can accompany sitting at a desk or behind a steering wheel.
Camel: Men who work out a lot--especially with weights--often develop concave posture. Camel will begin to work against that. Although this is a deep backbend, there are many steps along the way. Lift your chest and bend from the upper back, rather than the lumbar spine. You don't have to drop your hands to your heels in order to experience the heart-opening benefits. It's also great for strengthening the back.
Legs up the wall: This is a deliciously restorative pose, and I find it especially beneficial at the end of a long day. Inversions literally change our perspective, and they are said to encourage better blood circulation in the head and upper body. Legs up the wall is as simple as it sounds, and a great way to introduce calm into any moment of any day.
Carrie Schneider - CarrieYoga
Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle) requires mondo power and give in the hips and thighs, a strong yet supple spine, and the arms of a bench-pressing acrobat. So it’s sort of the perfect pose for men. Daily long-held Sirsasana (Headstand) aligns the bones, Shoulder Stand the muscles. But Child Pose and Savasana may be the most important postures for dudes to practice every day because they instill introspection, humility and peace—what we need our men to perfect most of all (in addition to shortsworthiness ;-)
Darla Brown - Share Yoga
1) Shoulder opening stretches are great for those who are stuck on the computer most of the day. Erich Schiffman's book walks through 8 great shoulder stretches - use a strap. Try 1-2 each day.
2) Warrior poses - Warrior 2 - Plant your feet and really elongate the calf muscles of the back leg. Lift up from your pelvic area. Beam out of your heart chakra. Great to feel the opposing energies.
3) Mountain pose - to practice alignment. Many people will default to pointing their toes outwards or inwards. Practice mountain pose by softening your knees & your shoulders and really plant all four corners of your feet into the ground. If you get bored with this, then stay in it even longer.
- Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) – 16 votes
- Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana) – 9 votes
- Half Pigeon Pose (Ardha Kapotasana) - 7 votes
- Supine Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana) – 7 votes
- Supported Headstand (Sirsasana) – 6 votes
- Mountain Pose (Tadasana) – 6 votes
- Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) – 6 votes
- Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasan) – 6 votes
- Corpse Pose (Savasana) – 6 votes
- Sun Salutation A (Surya Namaskara A) – 6 votes
- Mindful Breathing – 5 votes
- Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe (Supta Padagustasana) - 5 votes
- Warrior II (Virabradrasana 2) - 5 votes
- Crescent Lunge (Alanasana) - 5 votes
- Hero Pose (Vajrasana) - 4 votes
- Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) – 4 votes
- Tree Pose (Vrksasana) - 4 votes
- Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana) – 4 votes
- Yogic Squat (Malasana) – 4 votes
- Eye of the Needle (Sucirandhrasana) - 4 votes
- Child's Pose (Balasana) - 3 votes
- Plank Pose (Phalakasana) - 3 votes
- Eagle Arms (Garudasana) - 3 votes
- Butterfly Pose (Baddha Konasana) - 3 votes
- Sun Salutation B (Surya Namaskara B) - 3 votes
- Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana) - 3 votes
- Locust Pose (Salabhasana) – 2 votes
- Warrior I (Virabradrasana 1) - 2 votes
- Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani) - 2 votes
- Boat Pose (Navasana) – 2 votes
- Easy Pose (Sukhasana) – 2 votes
- Cat-Cow Pose (Marjaryansana-Bitilasana) – 2 votes
- Extended Side Angle (Utthita Parsvakonasana) – 2 votes
- Supported Shoulderstand (Sarvangasana) - 1 votes
- Upward Plank Pose (Purvotanasana) – 1 votes
- Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana) - 1 votes
- Wide-Legged Forward Bend (Prasarita Padotanasana) – 1 votes
- Fish Pose (Matsyasana) – 1 votes
- Reverse Warrior (Viparita Virabhadrasana) – 1 votes
- Crow pose (Bakasana) – 1 votes
- Eight Point Shoulder Opener – 1 votes
- Chair Pose (Utkatasana) – 1 votes
- Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Bhaddha Konasana) – 1 votes
- Camel Pose (Ustrasana) – 1 votes
- Extended Puppy Pose (Uttana Shishosana) - 1 votes
- Lateral Arc Position (Ardhakati Chakrasana) - 1 votes
Bang for Your Buck
There a lot of different poses on this list. I know it can be intimidating. But if you want to get the majority of benefits without having to do all poses listed then your in luck.
Sun Salutation A (Surya Namaskar) is a yoga flow made up of 7 postures. Going through the sequence 3-5 times a day (about 5-10 minutes total) will increase your flexibility and with time, you will begin to feel the full body benefits of yoga.
As you can see, there are many different yoga poses recommended for men. Even though I was expecting less variety, it is refreshing to know that there is no "one size fits all".
This is important because is shows there is no easy way out. If you are determined to feel better, make improvements to your body, and have clearer thoughts then you have to put in the effort.
"Feel good, be good, and do good." -Yogi Bhajan
I want to give a big shout out to all the yogis that contributed to this article. Go check out their websites, and find them on social media - they are amazing people healing the world.
I hope you enjoyed this article. And if you discovered something new, please share it with your friends.
Now get out there and start practicing some yoga.
If you are wondering how this relates to sweat shorts - it is simply because sweatshorts are the best article of clothing a man can wear to yoga class. They are the yoga pants equivalent for men.
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