Yoga is a great way to relieve stress and stay in shape. It also helps improve flexibility and strength as we age.
To help you get started on your yoga journey, we compiled a list of 10 poses that will help ease tension and boost flexibility. Plus, we’ve included some beginner modifications for each pose to make it more accessible.
1. Downward-Facing Dog Modified
Adho mukha svanasana, or downward-facing dog pose, calms the nervous system and relieves stress. It also stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, and hands.
Do not practice this pose if you have severe carpal tunnel syndrome or are in late-term pregnancy. It is also not recommended for those with back, shoulder, or arm injuries; high blood pressure, or eye or inner ear infections.
2. Extended Side Angle
The Extended Side Angle Pose is a great way to strengthen and stretch your knees, quads and hips. It also opens up the shoulders, groins and chest.
This pose is often considered a full-body strengthener because both legs are working hard to support your weight, and your core is engaged. This posture can be a bit challenging for some people, so find your best balance and build up over time.
Chaturanga is the foundational pose in many yoga sequences. It’s a great way to strengthen the arms and build flexibility in the wrists and hands.
However, it’s also a pose that can lead to shoulder issues if you don’t do it correctly. Learn how to do it right so you can get the most out of your practice and avoid injury.
The Triangle (Trikonasana) is a foundational posture that improves focus and balance while stretching the hamstrings, groin, shoulders and hips.
It also strengthens the ankles, knees and thighs. It’s safe for most people, but avoid this pose if you have a medical condition or injury to your back, neck or hips.
5. Warrior I
This pose works on the hamstrings, quadriceps, calves and back muscles, as well as strengthens and opens your chest, arms, shoulders and hips.
Holding warrior poses for extended periods of time helps build stamina in the core muscles that keep you stable during these postures. This also improves your balance.
6. Warrior II
Warrior II (virabhadrasana 2) is a classic yoga pose that strengthens the legs and improves balance. It also improves breathing capacity and circulation throughout the body.
This pose is especially beneficial for those who spend a lot of time sitting or doing deskwork. It also helps prevent osteoporosis, flat feet and sciatica.
7. Warrior III
The Warrior III pose is a great way to boost your energy and get a strong core. It also helps to improve your posture.
This balancing pose is a bit more challenging than warrior 1 & 2 so it’s a great addition to your flow sequences. It also helps to strengthen your arms and legs.
8. Mountain Pose
Mountain Pose, also known as Tadasana, is the foundation of all standing poses. It improves posture, groundedness, stability and confidence.
Practicing it regularly can help relieve pain in the spine and reduce stress. It also helps build strength and tone in the body.
9. Crescent Lunge
One of the best yoga moves for hip flexors, the crescent lunge also offers a slight backbend. It also helps improve balance and coordination and builds mental focus.
This chest-opening pose is also known as Ashta Chandrasana (Crescent High Lunge Pose). It stretches the hip flexors, quads, and groin muscles and strengthens the legs and arms.
10. Cat-Cow Pose
The simple Cat-Cow pose is packed with mind- and body-boosting benefits. Regular flexing and extension of the spine can boost circulation, relieve pain, improve posture, and help you maintain good balance.
To get the most out of this yoga move, be sure to perform it correctly. Here are tips from yoga expert Kimberly Bauer to help you nail it.