Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years, and even though it has surged in popularity again in recent decades, it can still be difficult to know exactly which postures give you the best results for your time. Essentially, what should we do if we’re only going to practice ten poses?
1. Mountain Pose
Yoga isn’t all about being bendy and getting a “yoga booty” with zero effort. It’s a long-practiced set of asanas, or poses, that help facilitate a healthy mind and a healthy body. Each yoga session usually begins with a several grounding breaths in a neutral position such as Mountain. This gives the practitioner a chance to clear their mind of any outside distractions before embarking on the series of postures, as well as set up with correct posture at the start.
2. Chair Pose
Chair Pose is one of the most all-around strengthening postures you can practice. It is revitalizing for your feet, ankles and legs, as well as your core and your arms. It’s a complete experience and, when paired with breath, is a wonderful overall body toner.
3. Warrior II Pose
All three Warrior postures are good for the entire body, but Warrior II is the most popular. Be sure to practice on both sides to stay balanced. Also, the mental aspect of portraying an actual warrior can be very empowering and can lead to a longer duration.
4. Cat/Cow Poses
Cat and Cow Poses are an amazing way to begin any day! These complementary postures wake up the spine and help shake off the stiff feeling our bodies have right after waking up and being still for so long. Let your breath be your guide and move along with it: inhales during Cow and exhales during Cat.
5. Boat Pose
Boat Pose is a core booster if there ever was one! By keeping both your upper body and your feet off the ground, you are getting a double workout in a single posture. If the full expression of the pose is too much for you at first, feel free to bend your knees or lower your arms to make it a little more accessible.
6. Downward-Facing Dog
Down Dog is a marvelous, revitalizing posture that refreshes both your brain and body. In this inversion, blood flow to the head is increased, which is beneficial for our brains. You are also gently toning your entire body from your literal fingertips to your actual toes. Core, arms and legs are all engaged throughout the pose!
7. Plank Pose
If you are only going to practice one yoga pose, make it Plank. As you can see from this list, many yoga poses are good for several parts of the body simultaneously, and Plank is no exception. One special boost that Plank Pose boasts is that it is a real core burner. Since you are holding your body off the ground in a straight line, you need to stoke your internal engine to power this pose along. Go for it, and don’t forget to try some variations like “Spiderman Plank” or “Forearm Plank” for an added challenge.
8. Bridge Pose
Bridge Pose is a bit of a backbend and a bit of an inversion rolled into one. By lifting your heart above your head, you are letting blood flow to your brain in a much needed manner. Also, by moving your arms down the mat, you can achieve an open chest with this gentle backbend, reversing all the hunching done throughout the day. Take care to move slowly in and out of Bridge Pose.
9. Cobra Pose
A beautiful heart opener in itself, Cobra Pose is a lovely way to tone the back up as well. Press into those hands to raise your body up, but also experiment with lifting your hands up while in the full expression of the posture so that you can ensure that your back is getting a workout.
10. Child’s Pose
Just as a thorough yoga session begins with a contemplative portion, it also always ends with one. Child’s Pose is a chance to rest and recover in between challenging postures, as well as at the end of the entire sequence. Placing your forehead (or third eye) onto the earth is an especially effective way of centering your thoughts and wrapping up a lovely segment of your day.
Yoga is all-inclusive. It’s not only for certain “types” of people, or for folks who can afford to go to a fancy studio several times a week. It is accessible, shareable, and designed to be usable for a single person in the privacy of their own home. This list is meant to be an easy way to dive right in and know that you are getting a total body workout with just ten straightforward postures. Don’t be daunted by yoga’s trendiness because these poses have been around for centuries for a good reason! Find a quiet corner in your home and try it out today. Your body (and mind) will thank you!