There are several compelling reasons to include yoga into your daily routine. Yoga poses for flexibility are a terrific notion that many health professionals endorse. Yoga improves muscular tone, flexibility, and balance while also allowing you to unwind and relax. It’s due in part to its distinctive pranayama breathing that yoga allows you to reduce stress. Stress, anxiety, sadness, and chronic pain can all be relieved by yogic exercises. They may also help you sleep better and have a greater quality of life.
Are you ready to give it a try? Here are eight basic yoga poses that yoga instructors recommend for beginners.
1. Sukhasana is a simple stress-relieving pose
Keep your spine straight and your hands on your knees, palms up. Make every effort to keep your back as straight as possible. Push the bones you’re sitting on down into the floor — often known as “sit bones” in yoga speak. Close your eyes and breathe deeply.
“This is a wonderful variation to try as a check for beginners,” says Gwen Lawrence, yoga coach for the New York Knicks and other professional athletes. “Just sitting on the floor provides you with an excellent vantage point and a wonderful feeling of external rotation of the legs.” This Sukhasana Sukhasana posture also improves back flexibility while reducing stress.
2. Awakening the Spine and Relieving Back Pain with Cat-Cow
Begin in a push-up position with your palms flat on the floor, hands directly below your shoulders, and your knees directly below your hips. Keep your weight evenly distributed between both hands, with your fingers extended wide.Inhale, round your back, and arch your neck as you descend your chin to your chest; imagine you’re a cat with this stretch from your neck to your tailbone. Relax your head and neck, then take hold of the barbell with both hands and lean back as far as you can. As you exhale, lower your back down to a scoop form while raising your head and turning it back.
“Cat-Cow stretches and awakens the spine, which helps to relieve back discomfort,” explains Leah Cullis, an instructor at Baptiste Yoga. “It also opens and enhances spinal flexibility throughout the entire spine, neck, chest, and shoulders. I recommend doing 5 to 10 repetitions at a time or more.”
3. Improve Your Balance with Vrksasana (Tree Pose)
Begin by standing tall for this Vrksasana posture. Raise your hands above your head in the prayer position. Bend your right leg and place it on the floor. Place your left knee alongside it and press your right foot to the inside of your right thigh. Hold for 30 seconds on each leg. Repeat with the opposite legs.
“This position extends your body from the tips of your fingers to the heels,” Shea Vaughn, wellness and fitness expert and author of Breakthrough: The 5 Living Principles to Defeat Stress, Look Great, and Find Total Well-Being (and mother of actor Vince Vaughn), tells us. It will also aid in the improvement of your balance.
4. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog) to Improve Flexibility
Your body forms an inverted V-shape in Downward-Facing Dog. Begin by placing both hands on the mat in front of you, palms down; your hands should be slightly in front of your shoulders. Kneel on the ground with your knees underneath your hips. As you pull your legs off the floor, raise your buttocks and hips toward the ceiling. Push your thighs back and stretch your heels down to the floor, keeping your head down between your upper arms. If you are having trouble bending your legs, try bending them instead of lowering them.
“The objective of the Downward-Facing Dog is to relax the nervous system, work on overall flexibility, decompress the spine, tone the arms, sculpt the legs, and open up your shoulders.” says Cullis. The wrist position is held for five breaths between sides, or for longer to improve strength. Lengthen your wrists and hips on your in-breaths, and deepen your roots from your hips to your heels with each exhale, according to Cullis.
5. Balasana, or Child’s Pose, is a relaxing and unwinding posture
Bend your knees and lean down as you reach your chest toward the floor over your knees, with your butt to your heels. Raise your shoulders and head off the floor. Take a seated or reclined position on the floor. Rest your arms along your sides, palms down, or support your head by folding your arms beneath your forehead. For as long as you need to, breathe and relax.
“Child’s Pose is one of the most restorative yoga postures, and it’s my favorite of all. It reconnects the breath with the body and sends soothing energy throughout every muscle in your body. “It’s a great time to get grounded, go inward, and come out of your busy mind and into your body by waking up your breath from the inside out.” Child’s Pose is a fantastic way to unwind during or after yoga practice.
6. Open Up Your Hips with the Baby Pigeon Pose
From all fours, push your right knee forward between your palms. Slowly straighten your left leg behind you, keeping the knee and top of the foot on the floor as though performing a lunge. Then, while keeping your left hand on your waist, gently rotate the right knee to the right and lower it to the floor with your right calf flat against the floor and your right foot resting under your left groin. Raise your upper body over the bent leg, either all the way to the floor or as far as you can with your elbows. Breathe in and out five times slowly. To stretch the calf muscles, push back on your left leg before switching sides. Repeat with your right leg extended and left leg bent.
This pose is popular among runners because it improves hip flexibility while also releasing the glutes and low back, according to Lawrence. “Do this stretch if you run, lift weights, participate in CrossFit or Spin to maintain strong and flexible and improve your performance,” Lawrence says. It might be tough at first, but you’ll get used to it, Lawrence promises.
7. Tadasana (Mountain Pose) to Improve Your Posture
Stop for a moment and bring your attention to your feet on the floor and the feelings in your legs and back. Then inspect your posture in front of a mirror. Lawrence has her athletes stand with their hands on their hips and holds long pencils in each hand. I tell them to look down at the pencils and, like a compass, assess how they point like a gyroscope. “Is it the same?” “Doesn’t one of them point straight and the other three in a clockwise direction?”
This posture will determine whether you have any shoulder imbalances and point you in the direction of what you need to improve. If one pencil is severely rotated in, your shoulder is likewise turned inward.
8. Viparita Karani (Legs-up-the-Wall Pose) to Restore and Revitalize
This is a fantastic finishing posture for both beginners and seasoned yogis. Lie on the floor with your butt against a wall. Straighten your legs up the wall to form an L shape with your body flat on the floor and perpendicular to the wall. For further support, you might want to put a rolled-up blanket under your lower back or keep your elbows out to the sides on the floor. Put your feet together and flex your toes lightly to feel a stretch in the backs of your legs. Breathe deeply and hold the position for as long as you like. To release, bring your knees to your chest and roll over to your side.