The Spinal Flex Pose is a good way to start a yoga session because of its simplicity and to help you find a steady pace for breathing. To do this, sit on the floor with your legs apart and folded so that the soles are touching. Let your arms relax onto your lap, or cradle the feet with your hands put together. Inhale deeply, letting your chest lift forward and up. Then exhale and round your shoulders, and let your chin slowly drop forward as you breathe out. Do this a couple times, gradually increasing your pace and breathing.
The Child’s Pose is one of the basic yoga poses that is easily incorporated into any routine, and is known to open the hips and relieve tightness on the lower back. To do the Child’s Pose, kneel on the floor with your knees hip-width apart and your feet together so that the big toes are touching. Sit on your heels and bend forward, with your torso right in between your thighs and your forehead touching the mat. Extend your arms over your head with your palms lying flat on the floor. Stay in this position while breathing in and out.
The Downward Facing Dog increases blood circulation and strengthens the upper body. It also works to stretch the hamstrings, calves, glutes, and the spine. To do this pose, start on all fours with your feet and knees apart, and then lift your knees above the floor with your legs stretched straight. Bend your knees a little if you experience too much tension on your hamstrings. You can also walk your hands and feet further apart until you get enough length for the pose. Inhale deeply and exhale while maintaining this pose.
To do the Moving Cat Cow Pose, start on all fours with your back straight, your arms vertical to your shoulders, and your knees and thighs perpendicular to the floor. Inhale and gently raise your head forward and toward the ceiling, creating a curve along your back while keeping your shoulders down and away from the ears. As you exhale, do the reverse and pull your head inward so you are gazing at your navel and creating an upward curve on your back.
The Plank Pose is commonly done right after the Downward Facing Dog. It’s one of the simple yet effective yoga positions that helps improve upper body strength. It works the major muscles in the arms, back, and shoulders. To do the Plank Pose from the Downward Facing Dog, bring your chest forward so that you are in a push-up position, your weight supported by your arms and your feet. Make sure the soles of your feet are lifted off the floor, and your body forms a straight line from the top of your head down to your back and legs.
The Fierce Pose is a standing position that stretches the spine, and strengthens the ankles, knees, and back. To do this pose, first stand with your feet at a hip-width distance from each other. Then as you lift your arms with your palms facing each other, bend your knees and squat as if lowering yourself onto a chair. Make sure your knees do not bend past your toes, and keep your back as straight as possible, with all your weight resting on the soles of your feet. Hold this pose as you inhale and exhale.
The Tree Pose is a good example of how yoga is as meditational as it is physical. It’s one of the yoga positions that help calm the mind and create an inner center or focus, while strengthening your legs and spine and stretches the hips. To do this pose, start with your feet apart and hands on your hips. Then bend your right knee and place the sole of your left foot against the inside of the left leg. Keep your back straight and then bring your hands together with palms touching, like in a prayer pose.
The Boat Pose is a good alternative for crunches and sit-ups because it works the abs and core without risking neck strain. To do this pose, start by sitting with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Slowly lean back and find a good balance for your weight on your sit bones, then raise your legs with knees bent and shins parallel to the floor. Raise your arms parallel to the floor with palms facing and stretch your legs so they form a straight line. Remember to keep your back straight, using your core muscles to carry the weight of your legs then hold that position as you breathe in and out.
The Garland Pose is effective in stretching the lower back and hips, and strengthening the ankles. Doing this position also helps relieve constipation and menstrual cramps. To do the Garland Pose, stand with your feet wide apart, toes slightly turned outward, and bring your hands together in a prayer pose. Let your elbows press on the insides of your knees to open up the hips. Keep your back straight and hold this squatting position for at least minute as you inhale and exhale.
Doing the Half Lord of the Fishes pose is effective in strengthening your spine, increasing blood flow, improving digestion, and stretching the back, neck, hips, and shoulders. It’s also a good way of relieving tension on the lower back. To do this pose, sit on the floor with your left leg outstretched and your right knee pointing towards the ceiling and your right foot planted firmly on the floor on the outside of your left thigh. Then place your right hand on the floor behind your right hip while keeping your back straight, and lift your left arm towards the ceiling. Inhale while holding this position. As you exhale, bend your left arm, palm facing the wall, and place the elbow on the outside of your right knee.