There's no such thing as a stupid question. Keep your yoga questions coming in and I'll answer in an upcoming post.
Question 1: I've been practicing yoga for just over a year. Since first starting, I quickly noticed I had pretty tight hips and shoulders. I know this is quite a common issue among us males. I was wondering if you had any super tips you could recommend to help open up these areas of the body. Also, the more intense the stretch, the better - it feels better for me. ;)
Answer 1: Hi! Yes, these areas seem to be really tight across the board for a lot of men. I enlisted the help of my husband Greg, who is also pretty tight in these spots and I came up with these four yoga poses. Depending upon how long you hold them and how tight you are, they can all be pretty intense, though I would say the most intense for Greg was Bow Pose (let's just say he is not a fan of that pose, haha). I put in some tips on this graphic, but if you want to go a bit more in-depth, check out the video on how to get into pigeon pose, bow pose, and if a seated twist comes easily you can open up the shoulders further by taking a bind. Hope that helps!
Question 2: Hello, I enjoy doing yoga alongside the YogaByCandace videos on YouTube. Should I also be doing other workouts like weight lifting and running? What does your typical week look like as far as workout routines and time working out? Thanks!
Answer 2: Thanks for your kind words about my videos. I don't think there's a "right" way to answer your question. I know many yoga people who only do yoga. I also know many who take yoga classes in addition to their regular workouts. I think it depends on your goals, and how you feel.
I've been working out for a long time, as my very first real job was at a gym at the age of sixteen. Perks of working at a gym include the free membership and the training on how to use all the equipment, so I took advantage of it and loved creating workouts for myself. My workouts vary with the seasons, actually. In the winter, I don't do as much just because I'm not in the mood. I'd rather relax at home then venture out into the cold. Right now, with the weather warming up I am more apt to get out and about, so a typical week for me includes teaching yoga and doing my own practice six to eight times per week, running or other cardio for about 45 minutes (here's a recently playlist), four to six times a week, and lifting weights three to four times per week. I feel good doing that.
My biggest piece of advice when trying to figure out what combination works for you is to just go with how you feel. Remember that what works for one person might not feel great for the next. Listen to your body, and trust that as long as you are really tuning in to what it's telling you, you'll find the right workout program for yourself.
Related: Is doing yoga enough?
Question 3: Hi Candace! I've been trying to work on backbends lately and I'm having a some trouble with wheel pose. When I'm in wheel pose my arms appear so outstretched instead of near my ears. I try and walk my feet in a bit but it doesn't seem to help my arms. Any suggestions on how to get a more rounded look?
Answer 3: Hi! Yep, being able to get the arms by the ears comes with shoulder and chest flexibility. The poses above might be helpful. Pose one is intense, so use a strap if you need some help. Pose two is mermaid pose, which also stretches the hip flexors (great for backbends). In this pose you really want to think about the spine being long (not compressed anywhere), and the chest puffing out a bit. The third pose is tabletop which really opens up the fronts of the shoulders and the chest. You can also check out these 3 yoga poses to open the chest, bow pose, and give this warrior one variation pose a try, too. I hope that helps! Keep practicing and it'll come.