We’ve all heard the benefits of yoga, but not all poses offer the same perks, so here is a short list of effective yoga poses that have a place in the studio. Yoga can help tone and define your muscles, it burns calories and it can help you relax. Unless you have health problems or physical disabilities, there’s really no reason not to give yoga a try. Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned pro, these effective yoga poses are sure to have you feeling and looking great in no time.
This pose is one of the most effective yoga poses for stress relief. It forces you to take a break and spend a minute or two stretching your body and focusing on your breathing. To do the pose, kneel on the floor with your knees at hip width. Lean back and rest your butt on your heels. Bring your upper body to the floor, resting your forehead on your mat and extending your arms straight out. Hold the pose for a couple of minutes. This pose is also great if you suffer from low back pain.
Perhaps one of the most well known yoga poses, the downward facing dog is beneficial for your entire body. It stretches and strengthens your back, legs and arms. To do the move, start on your hands and knees, with your knees at about hip width and your hands under your shoulders. Slowly raise your body upward by straightening your arms and legs. Relax your head and neck and breathe regularly as you hold the pose.
It sounds spooky, but this is one of my favorite yoga poses. After all, how often do I get to lie still in one place and say I’m getting in some exercise? This pose is great for stress relief and is often done to end a yoga session. Lie flat on your mat with your arms resting at your sides. Stay perfectly still for several minutes while focusing on your breathing.
Not only is this pose really easy, but it’s great if you want to tone your abs. It might not seem like much work, but I guarantee that if you hold the boat pose long enough, you’ll feel it all over your stomach. Sit on your mat and straighten your legs. Lift them to a 45-degree angle and reach toward your feet with your hands. Keep your back straight and hold the pose for a minute or two.
Legs up the wall pose is another of my favorites! Lie down with your butt resting against the wall and your legs extended up toward the ceiling and resting on the wall. Stretch your arms out to your sides at about shoulder height. That’s it – just lie there for a minute while you breathe. This pose is ideal for stressful days and it works your legs too. As you hold them in the air, you activate the muscles, even if they are resting slightly on the wall.
Plank pose is effective because it challenges your entire upper body as well as your core. It’s not hard to do either, so it’s perfect for beginners. Simply rest on your toes and the palms of your hand as if you were doing a pushup, keeping your elbows straight. Hold the pose for 30 seconds to one minute.
Tree pose is great for relaxation, but it also works your legs, back and core. Stand with your feet about hip width apart. Lift one foot and rest it on the inside of the opposite knee. Press your palms together and hold them at about chest level. Hold this pose for a minute or two, then switch legs to keep things even.
Do you like yoga? I prefer it at home instead of a studio. What’s your favorite pose?
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