Strengthen Your Body With a Yoga Routine

A daily yoga routine helps you become strong and flexible. It also improves your ability to be still and focus on the present moment.

Start with Child’s Pose and extend your arms to the front of the body. This pose helps to stretch the lower back and hips. It is often done toward the end of class after you are warmed up.

Child’s Pose

Child’s Pose is a resting pose that can help you relax, slow your breathing and restore a sense of peace and safety. It is recommended that this grounding posture be practiced before bedtime to promote relaxation and sleepiness.

Physically, this yoga pose stretches the low back and massages the abdominal organs to promote digestion and elimination. It also helps alleviate back pain and neck tension, and it can reduce fatigue.

Child’s Pose is more accessible than other poses, such as arm balances, which require you to build shoulder and core strength over time. It can be performed at any point in a class and does not require warm-up. It is especially useful for women during menstruation, as it provides some gentle compression to the abdomen that can soothe cramps.

Extended Side Angle Pose

Extended Side Angle Pose opens up the side body which is a great stretch for people who walk, run or cycle on a regular basis. It also helps to strengthen the legs and improves lung capacity.

Start off by standing with your feet a foot’s length apart. Ensure that the center of the back foot, heel and knee are aligned. Then bring the right forearm down to rest on, or as close as possible to, the top of the bent front leg.

Alternatively, the lower hand can be placed on the outside of the left foot or on a block for support. For a deeper variation, thread the left arm under the leg to deepen the pose and rotate the chest even more. It activates the heart chakra and helps boost energy, confidence and feelings of self-empowerment.

Downward-Facing Dog

The most familiar of all yoga postures, Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) strengthens the wrists, arms, shoulders and back body while elongating the spine. It can also be challenging for beginners, especially if it’s part of a vigorous Vinyasa yoga class.

Denis encourages new yogis to use props and work on form before attempting Downward-Facing Dog or any other inversions. When done correctly, it energizes the body, provides strength in the legs and core, and allows for a flow of blood to the brain that relieves stress.

When done incorrectly, the pose can put strain on the wrists and shoulder joints. To reduce this load, try placing blocks underneath your hands to engage the quadriceps more actively and support the front of the thighs as you lengthen the spine.

Warrior II

Warrior II helps build strength in the legs, hips and back. It also cultivates concentration and stability in the mind. It is a powerful pose, both physically and emotionally, because it represents the balance of opposing forces.

Practicing this pose requires you to engage your core muscles, including the transverse abdominis and the obliques. Strengthening these muscles helps improve your posture over time and reduces back pain.

Those with lower back issues should practice this pose near the wall to avoid strain. If you have difficulty balancing, try reducing the stance width to make it easier to stay upright. It can also be used as a transition into Triangle Pose (Trikonasana). Practice moving in and out of this pose to develop a fluid movement aligned with your breath.

Wall Pose

Wall Pose, or Viparita Karani, activates the parasympathetic nervous system and reduces blood pressure. It also stimulates circulation in the legs and arms.

Typically done toward the end of class in restorative yoga classes, it’s one of the most relaxing poses for your entire body. It helps you feel more grounded after the busy day and can ease insomnia or help your body relax and release stress.

To get the most out of this pose, your sit bones, or buttocks, should touch the floor and be slightly inched away from the wall for more support. Avoid a sloping abdomen that may cause neck pain or stress in the shoulders. The backs of the legs should be relaxed and comfortable against the wall as well.