Unlike other types of exercise, such as lifting weights or running for miles, yoga reduces heart rate and blood pressure. It also increases strength and flexibility. However, a yoga workout may not burn as many calories.
There are many different types of yoga, ranging from peaceful hatha to high-intensity power yoga. In addition to helping strengthen and tone the body, yoga can help improve the immune system and mood.
Mountain Pose, also known as Tadasana, is a foundational posture that offers several benefits. It improves balance, strengthens the lower body and core, and helps energize and focus the mind-body connection. It also builds confidence and provides a stable foundation for more challenging poses.
To perform Mountain Pose, stand with your feet hip-width apart or together and the base of your big toes touching. If you have trouble balancing in the pose, try separating your feet more or adding a block to help support you. You can also practice the posture in front of a wall or chair if standing is not possible.
Make sure to engage your core muscles and lift your chin upward toward the sky. Avoid collapsing your shoulders or rounding your back. Hold the pose for at least 3 breaths. If you want to challenge yourself, close your eyes while holding the pose. It can increase the difficulty of the posture and force you to use more of your inner thigh muscles.
Practicing Urdhva Hastasana, also known as Upward Salute or Raised Hands Pose, helps to release tension in the shoulders and back. It also helps to improve balance and encourages a sense of lightness and mild extension in the body.
The pose is a powerful full body stretch and can be challenging to beginners. It is a great foundation pose and a key part of the Sun Salutation sequence. It is also a good warm up for more intense standing poses like Vrksasana and Utkatasana.
To do this pose, start in Mountain Pose (Tadasana). Then lift your arms to the side in an inhalation and extend them overhead while keeping the torso upright. If the shoulders are tight, you can hold the hands together in Anjali Mudra instead of reaching them overhead. For a more advanced variation, you can clasp your fingers or turn your palms toward each other. This stretches and strengthens the shoulders. It also challenges the thoracic spine, which is important for balancing the lower and upper body.
Pyramid pose, also known as Parsvottanasana, stretches the hip muscles and hamstrings while strengthening the legs. It also encourages balance, body awareness and confidence in the posture. However, its tight parameters and narrow stance can make it challenging for beginners to find the proper alignment of the feet and the hips. It is important to cultivate the patience and concentration necessary for this pose, particularly if you suffer from any injuries or are pregnant or senior.
To perform Pyramid Pose, start with mountain pose and then step the back foot 2 to 3 feet forward, point the toes straight up and raise the heels slightly. Inhale and bring the palms into reverse prayer behind the back then fold forward, extending the spine and drawing the head toward the front leg. Benefits of the pose include improved posture, increased strength and balance as well as a stimulation of the abdominal organs for better digestion. Contraindications: Avoid this pose if you have an injury in the ankles, knees, hips, back or shoulder. Do not clasp the hands behind the back if you have high blood pressure.
Lunge Pose, also called Anjaneyasana, strengthens the hips and legs while stretching multiple muscles. It’s a beginner yoga pose that is suitable for most students of all ages and abilities. It helps to stretch the groin, quads, and hamstrings while improving balance and enhancing strength in the lower body. It increases focus and concentration in the practice as well.
Unlike many yoga poses, lunge doesn’t require a lot of space to perform. Begin in Mountain Pose and step one foot back into the Lunge Pose position. The feet should be about hip-width distance apart to maintain a good level of balance.
Keep the front knee over the heel and the spine elongated. Depending on the variation of the pose, reaching back to the front leg or adding a twist can help to deepen the stretch. If the back knee starts to feel uncomfortable on the floor, placing a yoga mat or rolled blanket underneath it may provide cushion.