Yoga Positions to Strengthen and Relax

yoga positions

Yoga poses are a great way to strengthen and stretch the body. Practicing yoga regularly can also help you relax.

You can practice several different types of yoga positions, including seated and supine poses. Some of these are challenging, and others may be a little easier to execute.

Bridge Pose

Bridge Pose (Setubandha Sarvangasana) is a backbend yoga pose that strengthens and lengthens the hips, hamstrings, and quadriceps. It also improves flexibility and helps relieve lower back pain.

The pose has a calming effect on the central nervous system, which contributes to relaxation and helps reduce stress and anxiety. It also improves digestion, increases blood circulation, and promotes healthy menstruation in women.

To practice this pose, lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-distance apart. Ensure your head is in one position and don’t turn your neck to the left or right.

Then, lift your hips and shoulders off the floor until they are as high as you can. You can hold this posture for ten seconds to a minute, or until you feel tired.

Cobra Pose

Cobra pose, also known as Bhujangasana, is a popular yoga position that warms and strengthens the spine, while opening the chest. According to traditional yogic texts, this pose heals the body of disease and awakens Kundalini, the divine cosmic energy that fosters self-realization.

To perform the pose, lie on your belly with your legs stretched out behind you and the tops of your feet on the floor. Place your hands on the floor directly under your shoulders, with palms pressed against the ground and fingers pointing forward.

Inhale as you straighten your arms and lift your chest off the floor. Gently press into your hands as you lift, keeping your pelvis, thighs, and tops of your feet firmly rooted to the floor. Stay in the pose for 15 to 30 seconds, breathing evenly throughout.

Upward-Facing Dog Pose

Upward-Facing Dog Pose, also referred to as Urdhva Mukha Svanasana in Sanskrit, is a back bend that strengthens the arms and shoulders and improves flexibility in the spine. It’s an often-practiced pose in Vinyasa and Ashtanga yoga.

It’s also a staple in sun salutations and is part of the vinyasa sequence threaded through most yoga classes. It is an intense backbend that requires strength and stability in the arms, wrists, shoulders and thighs.

It opens the heart, chest and lungs, improves posture and stimulates the abdominal organs. It is also helpful for asthma as it stretches the chest and improves breathing patterns.

Warrior II Pose

Warrior II is a standing yoga pose that builds strength, stamina, and focus. Named after the Hindu mythological warrior Virabhadra, this pose enhances both physical and mental endurance.

To get into this pose, stand with your feet hip-distance apart and your arms extended in front of you. Keep your back foot grounded and turn your front knee toward your ankle (always keeping it in line with the front arch).

To find a healthy hip alignment, firm the outer hip in and down. This helps to create a connection between the outer hip and the standing heel, which will help to stabilize your entire body.

Tree Pose

Tree pose, also known as Vrksasana, is a standing pose that requires balance and coordination. It can stretch the thighs, groins, and shoulders, and strengthen the core muscles.

This pose is a great way to improve balance, and it can also be beneficial for calming the mind, as it’s similar to a seated meditation posture.

To get the most out of this balancing pose, try to avoid pressing your lifted leg foot against your knee joint. This can cause the knee to become unstable and may lead to falling out of the position.

Another way to improve stability is to practice this pose next to a wall or with a chair nearby so that you can touch it to steady yourself. Over time, you’ll build your confidence to come away from the wall or chair without it.