Yoga Postures That Work With Your Schedule

yoga positions

Whether you practice yoga for an hour each day or just for a few minutes, it’s important to make your routine fit into your life. Rather than trying to find the perfect time to practice, focus on setting goals that work with your schedule.

A commonly known pose, downward facing dog strengthens shoulders and arms while promoting balance. It also helps relieve back pain and reduce symptoms of menstruation and menopause.

Downward-Facing Dog

Downward-Facing Dog, or Adho Mukha Svanasana, is one of yoga’s most recognizable poses. Repeated throughout Sun Salutations and vinyasa flows, this pose strengthens the shoulders, back and thighs while stretching the legs, arms and spine.

For beginners, the heels of the feet may rise into the air in Downward-Facing Dog and this is normal as it takes time to build dorsiflexion in the ankles. For this reason, a block under the hands can be useful to reduce the load on the wrists.

To create this modification to Downward-Facing Dog, come into Tabletop Pose and walk your palms forward a little wider than shoulder’s distance. Spread the fingers and turn your knuckles inward to take pressure off the wrists. You can also purchase a “wedge”-shaped block to help relieve the wrist pressure.


In this challenging pose, the shoulder joints are placed under a lot of pressure. Without the proper strength, yogis can destabilize the joint structures and place themselves at risk of injury. The most common mistake in chaturanga is practicing it like a wide-armed pushup, allowing the elbows to flare out and burdening the shoulders with too much weight.

The correct chaturanga posture is to hug the elbows in toward the body, keeping contact with the ribcage, and to point them back behind the torso. This shifts the work to the core, and it allows for a more graceful lowering of the body that is not as hard on the shoulder joint.

The chaturanga position tones the arms and legs, strengthens the core, builds healthy shoulders and prepares the yogi for arm balances, handstands and inversions. It is also a great warmup for sun salutations in Vinyasa yoga.

Tree Pose

Vrksasana, or Tree Pose, challenges yogis of all levels to balance their body and find a sense of stability. This standing pose strengthens the hips and ankles, as well as the core muscles of the abdomen and spine.

Lois Maple, PT with OrthoCarolina Winston, says that proper alignment in this pose is key to avoid injury. For example, if the lifted foot presses into the groin or inner calf of the standing leg too hard, it can cause that side’s hip to jut out and throw off the balanced spinal alignment.

For beginners to the balancing poses, Maple suggests resting the gaze on a fixed point in front of them, called drishti, to help them stay focused and steady. She also encourages yogis to be honest with their bodies and honor what their body needs on any given day. For instance, one day the lifted foot may need to be closer to the groin, while another day it might need to touch the floor.

Tree Twist

The Tree pose, Vrksasana, is one of the most basic and common standing postures in yoga. It provides a good challenge to balance and to develop stability in the legs.

This posture combines the challenges of standing forward bend and twisting. It’s a great way to open the hips and back and also strengthen the knees and ankles.

To make the pose easier you can try placing a block for your bottom hand to support you. You can also rest the opposite hand on your bent leg if this is comfortable.

You can also close your eyes in the pose to increase the stability in your head and torso. However, you must be careful not to go too far and lose the stability of your straight legs.

Warrior II

Known as Virabhadrasana II (vehr-uh-DRAHS-uh-dras-uh-nuh), this powerful standing pose builds strength and stability while opening the hips and chest. It is named after the mythological warrior incarnation of Shiva.

If you struggle with keeping the front knee aligned over the back foot in Warrior II, try practicing it against a wall. A yoga block can also help you establish a stronger connection between your front leg and the back heel.

To prepare for this posture, practice Bound Angle Pose to strengthen the muscles of the outer and inner hips. Additionally, Tree Pose challenges balance and introduces external hip rotation that you’ll need for Warrior II. To learn more about alignment essentials for all the yoga poses mentioned in this post, download our free Yoga Pose Guide.