Yoga is seeing a big surge in popularity today and for good reason. It not only serves as a great form of exercise, but it can do a great deal to relieve stress as well. Yoga could even be used as pain relief in some circumstances Whoever you are, there is probably a good reason why introducing these ten yoga poses into your exercise routine would be beneficial.If you would like to give it a try, here are ten common yoga poses. Try some of them and see how they feel.
Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
This classic yoga pose is often used as a start even by accomplished yogis. It helps prepare your body for what comes next by centering you, straightening your back, and clearing your mind. This is a standing pose. Just stand with your arms at your sides, feet about hip-width part, without favoring one side of your body or the other. Inhale and exhale at a slow, even pace, keeping your neck straight and unbent. Once you’re even and calm, you can try pressing your palms together in a prayer position or lift your arms toward the sky to stretch.
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Downward Facing Dog is good for your circulation. It also stretches out the muscles in your calves and heels. Here’s how to do it. Start on your hands and knees. Your hands should be directly under your shoulders and your knees about hip-width apart. Walk your hands forward and spread your fingers to help keep your balance. Curl your toes under your feet and lift your hips up slowly, until you look something like an inverted V. Relax your head downward. Your knees can be slightly bent, but work to make them straight. If you can manage it, keep your heels on the floor to really give your muscles a stretch.
Warrior Pose (Virabhadrasana)
This is another great pose for your legs and ankles. Begin by standing with your legs about three feet apart. Turn your right foot outward 90 degrees until it's pointing directly away from your body and turn your left foot in just a little. Without lifting your shoulders, stretch your arms out, palms down. Bend your right knee into a 90-degree angle, while keeping your knee in line with your foot. It should not go farther than your toes. Focus over your extended hand for a little while, then repeat, switching sides.
Tree Pose (Vriksasana)
Tree pose is great for improving your balance. It also firms the muscles in your legs and strengthens your spine. This begins with the mountain pose detailed at the top. This time, instead of keeping your weight even, move your weight toward your left leg. Without turning your hips, put the sole of your right foot against the inside of your left leg as high as you can get it. Once you've got your balance, bring your hands in front of you, palms pressed together. If you feel like you can do it without getting wobbly, you can reach for the sky, the same way you can for the Mountain pose. Don't forget to do both sides.
Bridge Pose (Setu Bhanda)
Bridge pose works the muscles in your chest and neck and build up your spine. It's often used to warm up for some of the more demanding poses that work the back. Start by lying on the floor on your back. Your knees should be bent with the soles of your feet on the floor. Lift your hips upward, then link your hands together under your back, using your arms to support your body. Keep lifting until your hips are parallel to the floor; push your chest up toward your chin. This might be a little difficult for some newcomers, so it's okay to put pillows under your head, hips, or both, until you feel comfortable enough to do it without.
Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
This will stretch out your whole body and relieves backache. It can even relieve backaches caused by pregnancy. Assume the Warrior pose on your right side, but do not bend your knee forward. Instead, bend over sideways to touch the inside of your right foot by using the outside of your right hand. Turn your neck to look up at your left hand. If you can’t reach the floor, place your hand wherever it feels comfortable on the leg. Repeat the pose, but on the other side.
Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
You'll gain power in your spine, arms, and wrists through this pose. Start by lying face down on the floor with your thumbs under your shoulders. Stretch your feet out so the tops of your feet are facing the floor. Keep your shoulders down as you lift your chest upward. Repeat.
Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
You'll get more flexibility in your shoulders, chest, and especially hips from this pose. Get into a push-up position, with your hands directly beneath your shoulders. Move your left ankle up and to the side until it is by you right hand. The left thigh and calf should form about a 90 degree angle. Push up with your hands and sit back, chest lifted. Then repeat, but from the opposite side.
Child's Pose (Balasana)
This relaxing pose can relieve pain and tension in your neck and back. Sit up on your heels in a way that's comfortable for you. Lower your torso to the mat until your forehead is pressed to the floor. Stretch your arms past your head and bend your chest toward your knees as close as you can while still remaining comfortable. Hold that pose and breathe. Try to get deeper into the pose by exhaling and releasing.
Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
This is another great pose for your legs. Start from a standing position. Bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor, or at least as close as you can get to that. If you feel like you can manage it, move your feet closer together. Take a deep breath and lift your hands high. Whatever your reasons for taking yoga, this ancient practice is always about growth. A wonderful way to take a few steps deeper into yoga is to visit a yoga retreat. You’ll get deeper instruction on these poses and how to guide your home practice. Going to a yoga retreat for a vacation will do wonders to renew both your body and your mind.
Emily Hunter is a SEM Strategist and Outreach Supervisor at the Marketing Zen Group working with Samahita Yoga Retreat in Thailand. She loves designing strategies with her team and is excited about spreading the Zen gospel. In her spare time, she cheers for Spirit of Atlanta, Carolina Crown and Phantom Regiment, crafts her own sodas, and crushes tower defense games. Follow her on Twitter at @Emily2Zen.