Yoga poses are designed to help you relax and rebalance your body. Some help to stretch your muscles and increase flexibility, while others focus on calming the mind and relieving stress.
If you have an injury, it’s important to find a teacher who can recommend poses that don’t put pressure on your body. They should also be able to modify as needed.
Bridge Pose is a great backbend that opens the chest, heart and shoulders. It also stretches the spine, thighs and hip flexors.
It can be done in a variety of ways, depending on your body’s needs. For more challenging versions, place a block under your sacrum (the part of the lower back right above the tailbone) for extra support.
Traditionally, Bridge Pose is performed with your hands clasped under your shoulders and feet flat on the floor. If this isn’t a comfortable position for you, try doing the pose with your palms pressed into the ground and your arms straight out from your shoulders.
Bhujangasana or cobra pose is one of the best yoga poses for opening up the chest and enhancing blood circulation. It also helps in reducing the pain of lower back and menstrual cramps.
In order to get the most out of this pose, it’s important to focus on proper alignment. To begin, place your feet hip-distance apart and rest your hands beside your rib cage.
The bulk of your weight should be held by the core and back muscles, and not by your hands. This is the key to keeping your spine stable as you lift into a low cobra (backbend).
The Legs Up the Wall Pose, or Viparita Karani, is a restorative yoga pose that helps you relax and release tension. It also benefits your overall health.
This pose can help you de-stress and improve your circulation (both venous and lymphatic). It can also reduce swelling in your feet and ankles and ease tension in your lower back.
To perform this pose, lie on your back and place your legs against the wall. If you have a tight back, sit on a chair or couch for support.
Headstand pose, or Shirshasana, is a yoga inversion that challenges the body’s core strength and balance. It also stimulates the pineal gland, reducing stress and increasing mental clarity.
As with any inversion, it’s important to practice safely and correctly. Ideally, you should build up your strength and confidence with some preliminary poses before you try a full headstand.
You can start by practicing Dolphin or Puppy to provide entry into the pose once your shoulders and core are strong enough to support your weight. Then you can practice against a wall to further refine your alignment and balance.
Upward Facing Dog
The Upward Facing Dog pose, also known as Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, is an important yoga posture for beginners. It’s one of the more basic backbends and prepares your body for deeper backbends.
It helps counteract the effects of slouching and kyphosis (the abnormal curvature of the spine) and stimulates the internal organs. It can also help relieve lower back pain and strengthen the muscles in the upper torso.
To perform this pose, lie face-down on the mat with your legs extended behind you and your hands placed beside your lower ribs. Extend your legs and press down through your palms, broadening across the collarbones, drawing your shoulders away from your ears, lengthening your neck and looking straight ahead.
Corpse pose, or Savasana, is one of the most important yoga poses. It’s a resting pose that is included near the end of the practice to help your body and mind recover from the sequence of challenging postures you have done during the class.
This final pose is a powerful form of relaxation and meditation that can have a profound effect on your body, mind, and overall health. It helps to calm the brain, relieve stress and fatigue, and improve sleep patterns.