Practicing yoga brings the body into balance by strengthening weak muscles and stretching tight ones to keep you free from injury and pain. These 10 steps can change your body in no time if you do it regularly.
- Child’s Pose
Kneel on a mat with your big toes touching and knees about hip-width apart. Sit on your heels.
Lay your torso between your thighs and bring your forehead to the mat. Extend your arms straight in front of you, palms on floor. Close your eyes and breathe deeply.
Stay here for at least one minute.
- Downward-Facing Dog
Start on all fours with your feet and knees hip-width apart. Position your hands about shoulder-width apart and spread your fingers wide.
Pressing firmly through your hands, lift your knees off the floor and straighten your legs.
Walk your hands forward a few inches and walk your feet back a few inches to lengthen the pose.
Squeeze your thighs as you press them toward the back wall. Press your heels back and down toward the floor.
Relax your head and neck and let your shoulder blades slide down toward your feet. Breathe deeply.
Hold for at least one minute.
- Warrior II
From standing, step your feet about 4 feet apart. Turn your right foot so your toes point toward front of the mat.
Turn your left foot in 30 degrees.
Raise your arms to shoulder height, parallel with floor, palms down.
Bend your right knee so your right shin and thigh form a 90-degree angle.
Gently tuck your tailbone down as you draw your abdomen in. Hold for 5 deep breaths in and out through nose.
Straighten your right leg and repeat on the opposite side.
Get into Downward-Facing Dog position and press into your palms and bring your chest forward so that your shoulders are directly over your wrists and you are in the top of a push-up position.
Press your heels toward the wall behind you and extend the crown of your head forward to form a straight line from the top of your head to your heels. Hold for at least one minute.
- Chair Pose
Stepping your feet hip-width apart, spread through your toes to create a stable base.
As you raise your arms to the sky, palms facing each other, bend your knees and sit your buttocks back as though you were sitting into chair.
Draw your abdomen in to eliminate any curving in your lower back. Put all your weight into your heels and be sure your knees do not extend past your toes.
Hold for five deep breaths in and out through the nose. Rest for one minute.
Stand with your legs and feet together, hands on hips.
Transfer your weight to your left foot as you bend your right knee and place the sole of your right foot on the inside of your left leg (beginners start at the ankle; more advanced yogis, raise your right foot to the inside of your left thigh. Do not rest your foot on your knee).
Gently press your right foot against your left leg.
Bring your palms together in front of your heart in prayer pose. Hold for one minute on each side.
More advanced yogis: Raise your arms straight directly overhead, palms facing in.
- Garland Pose
Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width. Bring your palms together in front of your heart in prayer pose.
Turn your toes out slightly.
Deeply bend your knees, squatting down. Keeping your palms together, gently press your elbows to the insides of your knees, opening up your hips. Keep your spine long and your chest open.
Feel the tension in your lower back begin to melt away.
Hold for at least one minute.
- Boat Pose
Sit with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Lean back slightly so you’re balancing on your sit bones (the bony parts you feel when you sit on a hard surface).
Raise your legs so your shins are parallel to the floor, knees bent.
Extend your arms forward, parallel with floor, palms facing in. Keeping your chest high and your core engaged, begin to straighten your legs. Hold for five to 10 breaths.
Repeat five times.
- Bridge Pose
Lying on your back, bend your knees and place the soles of your feet flat on the floor about hip-width apart.
Point your toes straight to the wall in front of you. Place your arms straight along your sides, palms down.
Gently press into your feet as you raise your hips to the sky. Allow the front of the body to slowly expand with each breath.
Hold for five to 10 breaths. Repeat three times.
- Seated Half Twist Pose
Sit on the floor with your legs outstretched in front of you
Bring the sole of your right foot on the floor outside of your left hip (right knee pointing to the ceiling).
Bend your left knee and bring your left foot to the outside of your right hip. Place your right hand on the floor just behind your right hip.
Lift your left arm to the ceiling. As you exhale, bend your left arm and place your left elbow to the outside of your right knee.
Lengthen your spine with each inhale and twist deeper with each exhale. Press your left elbow into your right leg to help revolve your upper body more and more.
Look to the wall behind you. Hold for 5 to 10 deep breaths.
Repeat on opposite side.