Yoga is a form of exercise that combines strength, balance, and breathwork to create an intense workout that can help strengthen your body.
After a long day of sitting, try these yoga moves for beginners to help release tight muscles and counteract the effects of sitting all day. They also help calm the nervous system and refocus your mind.
Downward-Facing Dog Modified
Downward-Facing Dog Modified is a foundational yoga pose that helps to strengthen your arms, legs, and shoulders. It also improves the flow of blood throughout your body, especially to your brain.
It is often paired with upward facing dog (urdhva mukha svanasana) in sun salutations and Vinyasa classes, but it’s an excellent posture to practice on its own too!
If you struggle with your hamstrings in this position, it is possible to modify the pose by bending your knees as much as you can. This will help you get the stretch through your hamstrings and help you find the natural curves in your spine.
Some people also struggle with their wrists in downward-facing dog, particularly if they have weaker wrist joints. This is usually due to bone structure, but there are some slight modifications that can make it easier for people with weakened wrists to do this pose.
Chaturanga is an essential yoga move that builds strength, prepares yogis for arm balances, and strengthens the core. It activates the chest, back, shoulders, arms, triceps, and biceps muscles.
It also helps to strengthen the wrists, which can improve wrist health. The pose also strengthens the abs and lower back, preparing a yogi for advanced arm balances like crow or hurdler poses.
The chaturanga is one of the most challenging moves in a Vinyasa flow practice, says teacher Willis. This pose is “yoga’s version of an upper body workout, similar to a push-up,” she explains.
To perform the pose correctly, keep your elbows stacked over your wrists and pinned in your ribcage as you lower your shoulders. Don’t let your elbows splay out to the sides, as this can collapse your shoulders and disengage your core muscles.
One of the most popular yoga poses, warrior II expands the chest and stretches the hips. It also builds stamina and improves core strength and stability.
Warrior II is an ideal starter pose for anyone new to yoga. It is also an energizing and calming yoga asana that can cultivate mental focus and stability.
Aside from being a good full body stretch, warrior 2 is also a great way to strengthen the legs, groins, and shoulders. It is also a great way to warm up your hips before more advanced poses.
Some people find it challenging to perform the classic version of warrior 2. For those who have difficulty holding this asana, there are some ways that you can modify it.
Tree pose is one of the first balancing poses that many yoga beginners learn. It strengthens your legs, glutes, and back, and improves your alignment and posture.
It also challenges your balance and can improve your focus and concentration. But it’s important to practice this pose with proper instruction and only under the guidance of an experienced yoga instructor.
Before beginning this pose, make sure to properly perform Mountain Pose (Tadasana). This pose provides the foundation for Tree Pose and helps prevent misalignment in the knee of your standing leg.
Avoid putting pressure on the knee joint when lifting your foot, which can cause injury and instability. Instead, align the heel of your lifted foot with the inside of your standing thigh.
This balancing pose is a great preparatory pose for other one-legged standing poses. It also stretches the hips, ankles, and calves, and strengthens the core muscles of the abdomen and spine.