Yoga is an effective cardiovascular exercise, although it may not burn as many calories as running or biking. It also provides strength training and can help improve flexibility.
After compressing the chest in Shoulder Stand and Cow Pose, this counter pose opens the chest to stimulate deeper yogic breathing. It also stretches the neck and improves posture.
Bridge Pose is a beginner’s backbend yoga pose and the foundation for all supine backbends. It strengthens the spine, shoulders, and hips while helping to relieve pain from lower back injuries. This posture also improves your balance and reduces the symptoms of osteoporosis.
This posture is a great place to start for beginners because it’s safe, yet challenging. It’s important to slow down and listen to your body when practicing this posture. Over time, it will tell you how far to go and help you develop your body awareness.
To make this pose even more challenging, you can clasp your hands together beneath your torso. However, this is not recommended for people with back problems. You can also add a block to enjoy Supported Bridge Pose or take your hands alongside your chest and push them into the mat for Half-Bridge Pose. This variation of this posture is more intense and works the inner thighs more vigorously.
Bhujangasana, or Cobra Pose, is a backbend that strengthens the spine, opens the chest and helps you breathe more easily. This heart-opening backbend is also known to reduce back pain, boost circulation and stimulate the digestive system.
To practice this pose, lie on your stomach with the tops of your feet together and the front of your shoulders touching the floor. Then, on an inhalation, lift your chest off the floor. Be sure to root the hips, thighs and tops of the feet into the ground to keep the spine long.
Beginners can take this posture easy and only lift a few inches off the ground. Those with more flexibility can try to open their chest as far as possible, if the posture feels comfortable. This posture can help improve posture and balance by countering the slouch that often comes with sitting for long periods of time or from driving. It can also increase confidence and self-esteem.
Pyramid Pose (Sanskrit: Parsvottanasana) is a challenging side-stretching yoga posture that requires strength, stability and concentration. It strengthens the legs, lengthens the spine, and improves balance and full body coordination. It also calms the mind and helps to improve postural habits and digestion.
Practicing this pose requires patience and concentration, as forward and backward bending at the same time can be challenging to manage. However, with dedication to the pose you will strengthen your legs, lengthen your spine and acquire a sense of clarity and grace that endures.
To practice Pyramid Pose, start with your feet in Mountain Pose (Tadasana). Then move the left foot two to three feet behind the right foot and lower the torso so that it’s parallel to the floor or block. Then place the hands on the floor, blocks or clasp them behind your back in reverse prayer. Repeat this sequence and stay for 3-8 long breaths.
One of the most gentle and relaxing yoga poses, child’s pose (also known as Balasana or
It is a great posture for beginners and can be used as a counter-pose to backbends because it is a forward fold that reduces the tension in the spine. It is also a good resting position between poses because it helps to calm the mind and bring serenity into the practice session.
To do this pose, start by kneeling on the mat and bringing your buttocks to rest on your heels. Then gently lower your chest toward the floor and allow your forehead to rest on the ground. It is a good idea to use a block or blanket under your head if you cannot reach the floor with ease because it can help avoid any strain on the neck.