My dad bought a copy of Frank R. Young’s Yoga for Men Only in the early 1970’s. I started reading it when I was a teenager and have used some of the techniques from time to time throughout my life.
According to the author, his paternal ancestors were “long-lived Yogis,” and he learned the basic exercises and techniques directly through that lineage. But Young was also a chiropractor, and he altered the exercises from a chiropractic point of view for the modern man. The exercises mainly deal with angles of pull and push. The case studies are often quite funny and almost certainly, in my opinion, either made up or embellished. That doesn’t detract from the usefulness of the book’s information, however.
The book has long been out of print, and prices for used copies can be a bit high. I thought that I would occasionally put up an exercise from the book for anyone who is interested, starting with this one. I’ve been using this particular exercise for about four weeks now, and have noticed some improvement in my posture; if you have a sub-clinical kyphotic back condition, you may find it useful. Although the book is “for men only,” I think that this exercise would work equally well for women:
“The Lower Back Doorway Pull” Frank Rudolph Young
Grasp both door knobs of an open door, feet close to the bottom of the door. Extend arms to full length (dropping back), with straight legs. Then,
“1. Round your shoulders. (Turn them inwards, downwards and backwards.) 2. Inhale deeply as you pull your still straight body towards the door, with your fingers. At the same time 3. Arch your back, and drop your weight backwards. 4. Hug your body tightly with your elbows. 5. You will rise up on your toes, as the movement progresses. If you are tall bend your knees a little. 6. Keep your shoulders rounded all the while, with 7. Your elbows still hugging your body until the end. Hold the contraction, at the end, for two seconds. Then relax.” (Young, Yoga for Men Only, 1969, page 37)
Young recommends doing this from one to ten times a day, “depending on how fast you want results,” and he suggests putting a wedge under the door’s free end to take pressure off of the hinges. It takes practically no time to perform ten reps of this, and it does help with the humped shoulders look that many of us get from sitting at computers most of the day. Pay heed to keeping your elbows tight to your body as you do the exercise (don’t let your elbows drift outwards).
–quotes, instruction and illustration taken from Yoga for Men Only by Frank Rudolph Young, Parker Publishing Company, Inc.: West Nyack, New York, 1969, pages 37-39.