Yoga Moves You Can Do at Home Or in a Class

yoga moves

Yoga offers numerous benefits such as increased balance, strength and flexibility. It also can help improve sleep and alleviate stress levels. Learn some of the basic yoga moves that you can do at home or in a class to experience these benefits.

Stand tall over the long side of your mat and raise arms parallel to the floor, palms facing down. Angle the right foot to face the front of the mat, keeping the left knee directly over the right ankle.

1. Downward Facing Dog

Downward Facing Dog (adho mukha svanasana) is a foundational yoga posture that strengthens the entire back body including the hamstrings, calves, hip flexors and glutes. It also opens the chest muscles and increases lung capacity.

Beginners can modify this pose by bending their knees, which reduces stress on the wrists and shoulders and shifts weight back to the legs that are better prepared to sustain bodyweight.

2. Upward Facing Dog

Often used to warm up for other poses, Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana) is an energizing backbend that strengthens the wrists and arms. It also helps to improve posture and reduce back pain.

It can help alleviate cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine pain. It can also boost the immune system and decrease fatigue and stress symptoms. It also strengthens the legs and buttocks.

3. Cat Pose

Cat Pose, or Marjaryasana, is a common yoga posture that’s often paired with its counter pose Cow Pose (Bitilasana). This pair articulates the spine and starts to warm your body up before you ask it to move in any other direction.

This gentle movement stretches your middle to upper back and neck. It also helps relieve menstrual pain, according to one study of teenage girls.

4. Warrior II

Warrior II, or Virabhadrasana 2, strengthens the core and back muscles, while stretching the hips, groin, and chest. It also helps increase balance and stamina.

The most common misalignment in this pose is lining up the back hip with the shoulders, rather than having the hips directly under the shoulders. This can put strain on the knee and back. To avoid injury, practice with a clear understanding of proper alignment.

5. Tree Pose

Tree Pose teaches balance, concentration, focus and a steady mind. It also strengthens the hips, legs and core.

Practice a few hip-opening poses before practicing this pose to prevent the raised leg from twisting the pelvis. The lifted foot should be pressed firmly into the standing leg without pushing out that side’s hip.

Some students fall out of this pose because their legs are not rooted in the ground. Try practicing this pose a few inches away from a wall on your straight leg for support.

6. Warrior III

Warrior III, also known as Virabhadrasana 3, is a dynamic balancing pose that builds strength throughout the body. This posture strengthens and tones the legs, arms, core, and shoulders.

Practicing this asana regularly can help to improve balance and focus. It can also be helpful to strengthen the hips and back body before attempting this asana. Square the hips by drawing the lifted leg’s hip down to create a balanced alignment.

7. Cobra Pose

Cobra pose is a great strength-building pose for the back muscles. It can be intense for beginners and those with spinal flexibility issues. People with facet joint problems or spondylolisthesis should avoid this posture.

Begin with low cobra and gradually move into higher variations of this pose. It’s also a good idea to balance this intense backbend with forward bending poses.

8. Warrior IV

This powerful standing and balancing pose strengthens your whole lower body and core. It also encourages humility, surrender and a sense of groundedness.

A good stretch for the hip adductor muscles (the group of muscles that pulls your knees toward each other), Virabhadrasana IV can also be a great help when you have low back pain. It’s important to have healthy movement patterns in your life so that you can avoid injury.

9. Warrior V

Warrior V (Virabhadrasana V) is a full-body balancing posture that also strengthens your core. It also opens the hips and helps to improve your balance and posture.

Yoga poses such as Warrior III and V are a great way to build strength, good posture and balance in your body. They can help you feel empowered both on and off the mat.

10. Camel Pose

Camel Pose (Ustrasana) is an intermediate-level backbend that strengthens the body and helps improve posture. It also tones the chest, abdomen, and quadriceps muscles.

To reap the benefits of Camel Pose, perform it towards the end of your yoga practice when the shoulders and upper back are fully warmed up. To help protect your lower back, place a block behind you.