Yoga helps to strengthen and re-balance the body. It also offers a mental and emotional outlet for stress.
Begin by standing with feet about 3 to 4 feet apart. Move left foot out to 90 degrees and right foot in slightly. Relax shoulders and arms at sides, then hinge at hips and lower torso to left leg. Gaze over your left hand.
Downward Facing Dog
This posture (also known as Adho Mukha Svanasana) is a resting inversion that strengthens and stretches the arms, legs, shoulders, back, hips and core. It is also known as one of the “warm-up” poses that are often employed to stretch the body before more rigorous yoga routines.
Begin on your hands and knees with your wrist crease parallel to the front edge of your mat and your palm knuckles facing each other. Press down and root into your index fingers, firming the inner sides of the arms from wrist to shoulder before widening and pushing them toward your tailbone.
This pose can be strenuous on your shoulders, back and neck, so it is recommended you don’t push past your limits.
Tree Pose strengthens and improves balance, as well as stretches the entire body. It also helps to calm the mind and reduce stress levels. However, beginners may find it challenging to maintain their balance in this pose. They can begin by standing next to a wall or chair for support.
Those who have high blood pressure should not practice this pose for prolonged periods of time. They should also avoid placing the lifted foot beside the knee, but above or below it. In addition, beginners should not attempt this pose if they have a sprained ankle or knee. They should also avoid this pose if they have insomnia, migraine, dizziness or uterine problems.
Child’s Pose is a resting pose that provides a gentle stretch to the back, shoulders, hips and ankles. It also helps to improve posture and can reduce stress and tension. In some cultures, this position is referred to as Embryo and in others, it’s known by the Sanskrit name “balasana.”
This is a great pose to use after a strenuous pose, such as a backbend, or if you’re tired. This is also a good place to practice breathing techniques and meditation. You can also walk your hands forward to feel a stretch in the chest and neck. To make this more active, try placing your right hand under your left for a variation on Thread the Needle.
This posture builds strength in the muscles around your shoulder joints while opening up your chest and turning your head to the ceiling. It also opens your hips and strengthens the core.
Inhale and reach your right hand down toward your left foot (or put it on a block beside your foot). Extend the other arm to the ceiling in line with your shoulders.
Avoid this pose if you have a recent or chronic back, neck or shoulder injury. This posture can also be uncomfortable if you have high or low blood pressure. Also, don’t try to lift your torso too high into the air, as this can strain your neck.
A deep standing forward fold, Pyramid Pose (known by its Sanskrit name, Parsvottanasana) provides a nourishing stretch to the hips, thighs and spine. It also improves the practitioner’s balance and posture.
To achieve proper alignment in the pose, start by ensuring that both feet are firmly planted in front of the mat. Next, the hips must square toward the front edge of the mat and the spine must remain long.
Those with tight hips or hamstrings should consider starting by placing blocks under the hands to decrease the depth of the forward fold. With a stable core, the shoulders and torso lengthen to the point where the forehead touches the shin.
Warrior I is a great posture for building strength in your legs, core and back. It also helps improve balance and stability. It stretches your hips, chest, and abdomen and strengthens the shoulders, arms, ankles, and thighs. It also opens the groin and chest. It gets its name from the mythical warrior Virabhadra.
If you struggle with the back leg external rotation of this pose, consider placing a chip foam block or yoga wedge underneath your back foot, keeping it aligned heel-to-heel. This will help ease the pressure on your SI joint. The posture can be challenging for yogis with hip or knee injuries or who have poor balance.