Stretch Your Body and Relax With Your Yoga Routine

yoga routine

Whether you’re new to yoga or are a seasoned practitioner, most classes will include a variety of poses that stretch the body and relax the mind. There is some evidence that yoga can boost immunity and reduce inflammation.

Start with Child’s Pose, which stretches the back, hip and arm muscles and calms the nervous system. Sit with the knees a little wider than the hips, cross the ankles and then let the feet fall out to either side.

Urdhva Hastasana

Urdhva Hastasana, also known as Raise Hands Pose or Palm Tree Pose, is a full body stretch. It strengthens the legs, improves digestion and stretches the shoulders and arms. This posture is a precursor to more advanced poses like backbends and inversions.

Begin the pose from Tadasana, standing with your feet together and a small space between them, distributing your weight evenly on both sides of your feet. On an inhale, bring your arms overhead in a wide sweeping motion. This pose helps you improve your balance and posture, and it activates and balances the heart chakra. It is a foundation pose that can be used in many different poses and flows, including Sun Salutations.


A common yoga move, lunges build strength in the hips, thighs, and lower back. To avoid placing too much stress on the knees, try holding a stationary object like a chair or wall for balance while performing this exercise.

Lunges allow you to train unilaterally, or with one leg at a time, which is more realistic for the movements you do in everyday life. Additionally, the position and angle of the lunge changes which muscles are worked harder. For example, side lunges work the quads more than front lunges do. Adding different lunge variations to your workout will challenge the body and improve balance both on and off the mat.

Pyramid Pose

Pyramid Pose (also known as Intense Side Stretch Pose) strengthens the legs, stretches the spine and hamstrings and improves balance and posture. It also strengthens the core.

From Mountain Pose (Tadasana), step your right foot back, distributing the weight evenly between both feet. Then, line the back foot up with the front heel and square the hips toward the short front edge of the mat.

Optionally, bring hands either forward to a reverse prayer or behind the back in a supportive hand position such as fists together or fingers spread into prayer. Beginners can place blocks under their hands to decrease the height of the fold, and keep a flat back.

Extended Side Angle

A variation of the Vrksasana or Tree Pose, Extended Side Angle strengthens and stretches the side body. Stand over the long edge of the mat, separating the feet about a foot’s length apart. Check that the center of the back leg and the front right ankle are in line with each other.

Place your left arm on the outside of the right knee for support, then twist the upper torso into the pose. Hold this challenging and invigorating pose for 8 slow deep breaths or more. Suitable for all levels of practitioners. This posture can be avoided by students with hip, knee or shoulder injuries.

Triangle Pose

The Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana) is an engaging standing pose that strengthens the legs and hips while lengthening the upper body. This yoga asana also improves digestion by stimulating the abdominal organs, and it can relieve acid reflux by strengthening the liver.

To come into Triangle Pose, start with a wide stance. Move the feet so that an imaginary line can be drawn from the back heel to the center of the front foot arch. Then, bend the right knee, stacking it over the left ankle. Breathe smoothly as you keep pressing firmly through the feet, extending through the fingertips and crown of the head, and rotating your ribcage upwards.

Happy Baby

Happy baby is a reclining pose that is often done as a wind down at the end of yoga class. It helps reduce stress and calm the mind while also gently stretching primarily the lower back, hips, and groin area.

This is a great pose to use as you wind down at the end of your workout session or before going to bed. However, there are a few things to watch out for in this pose that could prevent the desired benefits or even cause injury. One common mistake is trying to force the stretch. You can only enjoy the full benefits of this pose if your shoulders, spine and hips allow themselves to surrender into the stretch.