Yoga poses are great for stretching out your muscles and for helping you move with more ease and with greater flexibility. In fact, one study says that people improved their flexibility by up to 35 percent after only eight weeks of yoga.
Yoga poses can also support your levels of strength and endurance. For instance, downward dog, upward dog and the plank pose all can help build upper-body strength, while standing poses can help build strength in hamstrings, quadriceps and abs. For strengthening the lower back, upward dog and the chair pose are good poses to strike.
Overall, any of the yoga poses, when performed correctly, can build core strength as well as deep abdominal muscles. Additionally, yoga poses can help support better posture and breathing techniques as well as helping to relax you and supporting healthy blood pressure and a healthy heart rate.
If you are familiar with yoga poses, then go ahead and strike those poses. If you aren’t sure where to begin, then here are a few poses you may want to try.
Start out on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders, and your knees under your hips. “Walk” your hands a few inches forward and then spread your fingers wide, pressing palms into mat. Curl your toes under and slowly press hips upwards toward the ceiling, bringing your body into an inverted V, and pressing your shoulders away from your ears. Your feet should be hip-width apart, with your knees slightly bent. Hold this position for three full breaths.
Stand up straight, with your arms at your sides. Shift your weight onto your left leg and place the sole of your right foot inside your left thigh, keeping your hips facing forward. Once balanced, bring your hands out in front of you with your palms together. Inhale and extend arms over shoulders, palms separated and facing each another. Stay for 30 seconds. Lower and repeat on opposite side.
Lie down on the floor with your knees bent and directly over your heels. Place your arms at your sides, with your palms down. Exhale. Then press your feet into the floor as you lift your hips. Clasp your hands under your lower back and press your arms down, lifting your hips until your thighs are parallel to floor—all while bringing your chest toward your chin. Hold for one minute.
Go ahead. Strike a pose!
In order to avoid risk of injury, please seek advice directly from your physician, especially if you have existing medical issues, before beginning any exercise or nutritional program. Also, be sure to stretch after exercise to avoid muscle and joint tightness.