Many of us who have considered yoga and rejected the though because yoga has been viewed as such a “way of life”. Culture, meditation, radically different eating habits, social activities and more. It doesn’t have to be that way. While it is true that EVERY aspect of the yoga lifestyle will benefit us, you can still take away the parts that DO work for you and incorporate those into your lifestyle.
Yoga poses all have different names and each is designed to achieve specific results: relieving stress, calming the brain, energizing, strengthening, even help with high blood pressure. Let’s first take a look at WHY yoga is good for you…
Yoga will help with balance and flexibility. Other forms of exercise, like running, sometimes involve some fairly forceful and repetitive movements, you’re putting forth the greatest physical effort you can and, consequently, there is a greater risk of injury.
There are a number of yoga poses that have significant positive effects on the upper body, upper leg muscles and the lumbar (lower) region of your back. ANY yoga pose will strengthen your body if it is practiced correctly.
Since yoga will assist you in achieving and maintaining a healthier weight, improve flexibility, muscle tone and strength, you will discover that your overall body posture will also improve helping support your back and possibly improve any issues you may be having in that area.
Possibly one of the coolest things about yoga is its versatility. It’s one of those anywhere, anytime, by yourself or with others activities.
Now that you know that yoga is really good for you, let’s look at some of the yoga postures that everyone should be doing:
1. Mountain Pose
Stand with feet together, relaxed, weight evenly distributed arms at sides. Take a deep breath, raising hands overhead, palms facing, arms straight. Reach toward the sky with your fingers.
2. Downward Dog
Be on all fours, hands under shoulders, knees under hips. Crawl hands forward several inches, spreading fingers wide, pressing palms into mat. Press hips toward ceiling and shoulders away from ears. Hold for 3 breaths.
Stand with legs wide feet apart, turning right foot 90 degrees, left foot in slightly. Bring hands to hips, relaxing shoulders. Extend arms to sides, palms down. Bend right knee 90 degrees, eyes over right hand. Knee over ankle, look over right hand. Hold for 1 minute. Do pose on both sides.
4. Tree Pose
Stand, arms at sides. Shift weight to left leg, placing sole of right foot inside left thigh, keeping hips facing forward. Bring hands in front in prayer position, palms together. On an inhalation, extend arms over shoulders. Hold for 30 seconds. Do pose on both sides.
5. Bridge Pose
Crouch on floor, knees bent, over heels, arms at sides, palms down. Exhale, then press feet into floor as you lift hips. Hands on floor, supporting lower back and press arms down, lifting hips until thighs are parallel to floor. Hold for 1 minute.
6. Triangle Pose
Stand straight, then extend arms out to sides. Bend over right leg, twisting at the waist. Stand, feet 3 feet apart, toes on right foot turned out to 90 degrees, left foot to 45 degrees. Move right hand to touch floor or rest on your right leg below or above the knee, and extend fingertips of left hand toward the ceiling. Look toward the ceiling, and hold for 5 breaths. Do pose on both sides.
7. Seated Twist
Sit on the floor with legs extended. Cross right foot over outside of left thigh; bend left knee. Keep right knee pointed toward ceiling. Place left elbow to the outside of right knee and right hand on the floor behind. Twist right as far as possible, moving from the abdomen. Hold for one minute. Do pose on both sides.
Lie face down on floor with thumbs directly under shoulders, legs extended with tops of feet on the floor. Tighten your pelvis, tucking hips downward as you squeeze your glutes. Press shoulders down and away from ears. Push through thumbs and index fingers, raising chest toward the wall in front of you.
9. Crow Pose
Get into downward dog position and walk feet forward until knees touch your arms. Bend elbows, lift heels off floor, and rest knees against the outside of upper arms. Keep toes on floor, abs engaged and legs pressed against arms. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths.
10. Child’s Pose
Sit up comfortably on heels. Roll torso forward, bringing your forehead to rest on the bed in front of you. Lower your chest as close to your knees as you comfortably can, extending your arms in front of you. Breathe.