It’s more than a workout fad. Around for more than 5,000 years, yoga has earned a permanent place in the world of fitness. Accessible to any age and fitness level and requiring no more than a mat, yoga can be done anywhere there’s a flat surface. With thousands of pose variations, a yoga workout targets just about every muscle in your body while improving balance, increasing flexibility, burning calories, toning muscle, improving circulation, boosting energy, and relieving stress.
Anyone new to yoga would do well to become familiar with how to do a few of the most common poses and postures. Here are seven of them.
One of the most basic yoga poses and one that many other postures originate from is the mountain. Stand with your feet together. Ground your feet and elongate your spine to stand straight and tall with your arms down by your side. Breathe easy as you focus on the task at hand.
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
One pose you’re sure to get plenty of practice doing is the downward facing dog. Starting on your hands and knees, walk your hands forward in front of you. Then lift your hips and straighten your back and legs until you’re in a triangle shape. Your arms and back make one side of the triangle, your legs the second side, and the floor the third. If you’re not flexible, feel free to slightly bend your knees.
Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
Lie facedown on your mat, bend your arms and place your hands on the mat next to your lower ribs. Lift your body into a plank position, keeping your elbows bent at right angles. Straighten your arms and lift your head and chest up.
Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)
From the downward facing dog position, bring one foot up between your hands. Angle your back foot out 45 degrees. Then bend your front leg so your knee is above your ankle and your thigh is parallel to the floor. Your back leg should be straight behind you. Square your hips so they’re facing forward, inhale, and lift your torso and arms up to the sky. Look up and place your palms together.
Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)
Stand with your feet placed three to four feet apart. Angle your left foot in a little and turn your right foot 90 degrees to the side. Then, bend your right knee to a 90-degree angle as you stretch your left leg. Your hips should be facing the side of the mat. Raise your arms straight out to each side until they’re parallel to the floor and then turn your head and look straight to the right.
A fourth commonly practiced yoga pose is the triangle. Stand with your feet three to four feet apart, turn your left toes in a little, and angle your right leg and toes out to the side. With both legs straight and arms extended to each side at shoulder height, bend at the hips to the side and place your right palm down on the floor behind your right foot. Raise your left arm straight up toward the sky and turn your head to look up at the sky.
Tree Stand (Vrksasana)
A great beginner’s pose is the tree stand. From the mountain pose, lift your left leg and bend at the knee. Take your hand and place your left foot to rest in your upper inner right thigh. If you find this difficult, place your foot lower on your right leg or use a wall to balance. Raise both arms and extend them up to the sky.
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