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Special Instructions for Men's Bodies

As a female teacher, I am uncertain about what to tell male beginning students about poses such as Salabhasana (Locust Pose), Dhanurasana (Bow Pose), some twists, and other poses that may require special accommodation for their private parts. Do I leave them to figure it out for themselves, or is there anything I can say that will help?
— Cathy

Read Ana Forrest's response:

Dear Cathy,

I do not leave students to figure it out. Many poses are intense and painful, and a man may assume that ball-crushing pain is part of the pose when it is not. I tell the men in my class when they need to adjust so it doesn't hurt. For example, I will tell a man in Dhanurasana (Bow Pose) how to put padding under his ribs, or that he may need to back up so his genitals are partially hanging off the mat.

I make it a specific point for both genders that we take care of these parts and avoid pain. So, for example, I tell women how to adjust their breasts if they get in the way during twists.

I address the issue specifically so that these areas—breasts, vagina, penis, testicles—are part of the pose and part of the sacred whole. They need to be treated with respect and care.

Ana Forrest is recognized worldwide as a pioneer in yoga and emotional healing. Born crippled, her own life trauma and experiences compelled her to create Forrest Yoga®. Her focus in Forrest Yoga is to guide the student in the sacred exploration of truth, healing and "the Great Mystery." She is a well-known contributing expert to Yoga Journal and other national wellness publications. She travels internationally teaching at yoga conferences, workshops, and teacher trainings.

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