Yoga positions, or asanas, are exercises that help you tone and develop your muscles, strengthen the spine and improve your posture. They also increase circulation and flexibility.
Stretching your body in new ways is one of the best ways to increase your flexibility. Gaining strength and balance through a regular practice can impact your daily life in a positive way.
Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose, also known as viparita karani, is an inverted pose that helps reduce stress and relax the body. It stretches the legs, feet, and spine and is a great way to unwind before bed.
It may help relieve lower back tension and ease headaches and migraines. It also improves circulation and can help you feel more alert and energized.
Seated Forward Fold
Seated Forward Fold, known as Paschimottanasana, is a classic back-stretch that’s therapeutic for reducing stress and fatigue. It also strengthens the lower back, hamstrings, and shoulders.
If you’re feeling particularly stressed out, yoga pros say a few poses like this one can quickly help you get out of the fight-or-flight mode and into rest and recovery mode. This pose, especially, will give your body an instant jolt of fresh blood and oxygen to rejuvenate you for the next section of the flow.
Seated Forward Bend
Seated forward bend, or paschimottanasana, stretches the hamstrings and spine while soothing the mind. It also stimulates the liver and kidneys and aids digestion.
The seated forward bend stretches the calf muscles, hamstrings, adductors of the inner thighs, and the spinal column. It helps relieve stress, fatigue, headaches and anxiety.
Child’s Pose is a resting pose that calms the body, mind and spirit. It also stimulates the third eye point and gently stretches the low back.
Use this pose to calm the body before challenging poses or when you need a break during your practice. Modifications are available to help you explore how Child’s Pose feels right for your body. Practicing this pose wisely will help you deepen your yoga practice.
Cobra pose is a great way to stretch your spine and open your chest. In traditional yogic texts, it’s also said to help heal the body and awaken kundalini energy.
To get into this pose, lie on your back and place the tops of your feet firmly on the floor. Then lift your torso and hands off the ground.
Tree Pose, also known as Vrksasana in Sanskrit, is a strengthening posture that can improve your balance. It’s one of the most common yoga poses in a beginner or intermediate yogi’s practice, and is an excellent way to build strength and stability.
The posture challenges your balance by bringing the sole of your lifted leg to your standing thigh, challenging your core and legs. It can also strengthen your legs, hips, and back.
A beginner-friendly yoga pose, Cat Pose gently strengthens your tummy muscles and promotes spinal mobility. It’s also the perfect stepping stone into a more challenging flow, like Cow Pose.
Start on all fours, with your knees underneath your hips and your hands spread out beneath your shoulders. As your back rounds, press with your fingertips to complete the flexion. Hold for 3-5 breaths before returning to Table.
Downward-Facing Dog (also called Adho Mukha Svanasana) is a foundational pose that’s found in many yoga practices. It’s an excellent full-body stretch and is often seen as a transitional pose between other poses.
It stretches and strengthens the back of the body, including the hamstrings, ankles, calves and spine. The pose also improves blood flow.
Often paired with its sibling, downward-facing dog, upward-facing dog is one of the first backbends in the sun salutation or vinyasa flow. But like chaturanga, it requires proper form to get the most out of your practice.
Ensure that you are hugging your thighs together, pressing firmly through the tops of your feet and palms. Also, draw your shoulders back and away from your ears.
Warrior I, also called Virabhadrasana, is a great pose for stretching out the hips and chest. It also improves balance and builds core strength.
This pose can be challenging, so yogis with back, hip, knee or shoulder injuries should seek medical advice before attempting it. Pregnant women should also consult with their doctor about the safety of this posture.