Yoga Poses You'll Want to Include in Your Repertoire
Whether you're new to yoga or have been practicing for years, you probably have a few poses you perform every time you unroll your yoga mat. Are these popular poses among your favorites?
Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Although it may not seem like a particularly difficult pose, the corpse pose is a crucial addition to your yoga practice. As you lie on your back with your arms at your side and legs slightly apart, you'll feel tension and stress gradually fade away. The Yoga Journal recommends relaxing each part of your body in turn to enhance relaxation. The corpse pose is an excellent way to start or end your yoga session and is the perfect position for meditating.
Corpse Pose Benefits. In addition to helping you relax, the corpse pose naturally lowers your blood pressure, opens the diaphragm to allow deeper breathing, boosts your immune system, aids digestion, eases fatigue, improves sleep, and helps relieve anxiety.
Garland Pose (Malasana)
Is this squatting pose part of your yoga practice? Perform the garland pose by standing with your feet slightly wider than hip-width. Slowly bend your knees until you're in a deep squat. Push your elbows against your inner thighs at the knees, then place your hands in front of you with the palms together.
Garland Pose Benefits. The garland pose opens the hips and groin, improves circulation and metabolism, tones the abdominal muscles, improves flexibility of the hips and pelvis, and stretches and strengthens the thighs, ankles, hamstrings, groins, back and neck.
Start cat-cow in a neutral tabletop position with your knees under your hips and your wrists under your shoulders. Lift your chest and chin as you inhale and arch your back. Exhale, round your back, and drop your chest and chin.
Cat-Cow Pose Benefits. You'll improve your balance, posture and concentration when you add cat-cow to your yoga line-up. The pose also eases back and neck pain, improves circulation, stimulates the kidneys, reduces stress, and stretches the neck, back, and abdomen.
Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Shvanasana)
One of the most well-known yoga poses, downward-facing dog is an inversion pose that's included in many yoga sequences. Start the pose on your hands and knees in the tabletop position. Push off the mat with your hands and straighten your legs, making an inverted "V" shape with your body. Keep your neck in a neutral position with your eyes looking at the floor or back at your feet.
Downward-Facing Dog Benefits. Downward-facing dog strengthens and tones your core, relieves tension in your neck and spine, helps you relax, increases blood flow to the brain, and stretches and strengthens your calves, hamstrings, Achilles tendons, arms, shoulders, and wrists.
Legs-Up-the-Wall (Viparita Karani)
Legs-up-the-wall is probably the most self-explanatory pose in yoga. It's performed by lying on the floor with your legs against the wall. Keep your hips as close to the wall as possible when performing the pose.
Legs-Up-the Wall Pose Benefits. Like many yoga poses, legs-up-the-wall helps you feel calm and relaxed and is often performed near the end of a yoga session. It relieves tension in your spine, reduces pressure on your back and joints, decreases swelling in the legs, eases back and knee pain, stretches your hamstring and back, and improves digestion.
Begin the transition to the plank in the tabletop position. Extend both legs fully, tucking your toes under. Push up on your arms, keeping them fully extended. Try to keep your body in a straight line from your feet to your head as you perform the pose. You may only be able to hold the pose for a few seconds at first. As you grow stronger, you'll be able to remain in the pose for minutes at a time.
Plank Benefits. Performing the plank strengthens your mind and body. After all, it takes mental discipline to balance your body on your hands and feet. The plank pose reduces stress, improves balance and posture, boosts your metabolism, eases back pain, and strengthens your core, back, arms, shoulders, and wrists.
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