Yoga Moves for Dads

We’ve narrowed down some essential yoga moves for dads to stay healthy and happy for their children. These moves will help to create proper alignment and open and stretch the lower back, shoulders, hips and feet, and ankles. They can be done on their own individually or as a sequence or part of another type of workout as a warm-up or cool down.

1. Mountain Pose

Dads doing mountain pose

Improves posture and strengthens the legs and hips. Mountain Pose also helps you balance over the ankles, knees, and hips. 

Stand with feet under hips and all 10 toes pointed forward and spread wide. Push down through the feet on all four corners (big toe to little toe and each side of the heel) and lift the energy and muscles from the calves all the way up to hips, pulling the kneecaps up from the front, side and back. Pull in the belly button to lengthen the lower back and lift the rib cage off of the pelvis by lifting the chest and rolling the shoulders back and down. Pull the chin back to bring the ears over the tops of the shoulders and hang the arms down by the sides of the waist/hips, palms facing outward with pinkies inward and thumbs outward. Imagine that there is a wall behind your head and back and lift “into” the wall to lengthen and contract every muscle. This is an empowering and strong pose to start and finish or do in between other exercises and poses as it helps to ease the flow of breath as well as elicit confidence and strength. Hold the position for 30-60 seconds at a time. To find more focus and concentration, take the hands to the heart and press the palms together with the elbows out and gently close or soften the eyes.

2. Forward Fold – Standing

Dads folding forward

An energizer for your nervous system, the forward fold creates a calming effect throughout your entire body. Along with stretching the lower back and hamstrings (the upper back of the leg, this pose helps to decompress the vertebra and helps to create space and length in the spine.

From a standing position, roll down from the top of the head, bringing the chin towards the chest while bending the knees and reaching towards the floor with the arms. Maintain a deep knee bend to rest the chest on the thighs and allow the head to hang towards the floor. The arms can remain loose and hanging towards the floor or if the hands don’t reach the floor, bend your elbows and place the forearms on the thighs. Take 2-4 breaths in this position, inhaling and exhaling through the nose. While the arms and chest hang heavy in this position, maintain support in the lower back by pulling up and in with the belly to lengthen and protect the spine and lower back.

3. Low Lunge

Dads doing low lunge

A wonderful stretch for the front of the hips (the hip flexors) of the back leg and the hamstrings (back of the upper leg) of the front leg. Creating openness and range of motion in the hips and pelvis is key to maintaining a healthy and pain-free lower back.

From the Forward Fold position, place the hands on either side of the feet and take a long step with one leg to the back of the mat. Place the back knee on the floor, place the hands on the front thigh and push into the thigh to lift the chest and allow the hips and trunk to slide forward. Keep the front knee over the heel so the knee stays in a safe position. Hold in this position for 2-4 breaths. To return, place the hands on the floor framing the front foot, lift the back knee to straighten the back leg, and step in the back leg to come back into Forward Fold. Repeat on the other side.

4. Downward Dog

Dads doing downward dog

A full-body strengthening exercise that stretches the shoulders, calves, hamstrings, and spine. Because it is an inversion, it also stimulates blood circulation and helps to calm the mind.

Start on all fours and bring the knees slightly behind your hips. Spread the fingers wide and ensure that the arms are under the shoulders. Press your hands into the mat and tuck under all 10 toes to lift the knees off of the floor. Keep pressing into your hands and toes lifting the hips upward, while the legs begin to straighten. Keep the heels lifted and legs slightly bent while pushing into the hands to shift the hips back and allow the head to hang between the upper arms – this will also take the weight of your upper body out of the wrists. Imagine an upside-down “V” shape and try to bring your body into that position. Take 4-6 breaths in this position.

5. Upward Dog

Dads doing upward dog

A chest and front line body opener that strengthens the back muscles while stretching the wrists and toning the arms and legs.

Lie face down on the floor with legs long and slightly separated and the tops of the feet down on the floor. Bend the elbows and place the hands under the shoulders and pull the elbows in towards the ribs. Breathe in, press into your hands, and pull the chest through and up as you straighten your arms and press the tops of the feet into the floor to lift the hips, thighs, and belly off of the floor. Keep your eyes forward to keep the back of the neck long. Lower down with an exhale. Repeat 4-6 times.

 

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