We understand not everyone has the time to attend a daily or weekly Yoga class, so here is our recommendation of the five best everyday yoga poses to include into your daily routine to help strengthen muscles, tone the body, release stress in the body and calm the mind. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned Yogi, including these in your regime will give you benefits.
1. Cat/Cow Pose
Starting in a tabletop position (neutral spine or flat back) with hands underneath shoulders and knees underneath hips, gently allow your chin and chest to tilt towards the sky and belly drops towards the floor as your sit bones stay up towards the sky. This is your cow pose and occurs in the inhale. As you exhale, you transition through tabletop position tucking the chin and pressing your heart up to the sky rounding the shoulders and back bringing the belly button in towards the spine. This is your cat pose and occurs on the exhale. Incorporating cat/cow movements allow us to warm up the spine and gently massage the belly muscles before taking on any other movements or the chaos and commotion of our days on this earth.
2. Plank Pose
Shoulders are directly over the wrists and all ten fingers are spread on the mat facing the front. We turn our inner elbow creases towards one another rotating the biceps towards the front of the room. We feel like we are pressing the floor away and rounding the shoulders pressing the heart up towards the sky. Hips remain in line with the body in a full straight plank position as we aim to rotate inner thighs up towards the sky. Our heels press towards the back and both feet and hands pull towards one another on the floor like your trying to crunch up your mat. Incorporating plank into your daily routine builds enormous strength in arms, wrists, spine, and core. Plank is a core pose in most yoga sequences and a transitional pose that can be modified to be either easier or more difficult.
3. Crescent Lunge
Front knee is ninety degrees directly over the front ankle- the head of the front legs thighbone feels like its drilling down towards the floor engaging the gluteus muscles to protect the hips. Our back leg is straight and lifted with the ball of the back foot on the floor pressing the back heel towards the back engaging the back leg gluteus muscles to square off the hips to the front. Our core muscles engage and our shoulders relax down the back away from the ears as our arms reach up high to the sky. Incorporating crescent lunge into your daily routine allows you to build up your balancing abilities. It stretches the legs, groin, and hip flexors in addition to the front torso, chest and shoulders. It strengthens the legs and gluteus muscles allowing you to feel strong yet stretched.
4. Tree Pose
Firmly plant a foot on the ground and then bring the other foot either below or above the knee so on calf or inner thigh. Core is engaged and shoulders relax. Hands come to heart center and can remain there or reach up to the sky and shake your leaves. Incorporating tree pose into your daily routine because it builds strength for the ankles and calves along with improving posture and balance and stability. It also tones the core and allows you to have fun, shake your leaves and not take life so seriously!
Releasing all control over the body and bringing it to complete stillness lying all the way down on your mat and creating a meditative mind space within the mind. Acknowledging thoughts that come in but sending them away realizing the only focus is the present moment that is full of only stillness and breathe.
There are hundreds of yoga poses that you can incorporate into your home routine, but these are just a few that we deem as essential to feel balanced and stay grounded. If you are able to make it to a yoga class, we have classes running everyday here at Active Life Fitness. All classes cater to beginners, and you can rest assured that if you’re a Seasoned Yogi, you’ll still experience a solid class as well. Check out our timetable online for class times!