The ancient tradition of yoga describes thousands of essential yoga postures and according to some accounts, tens of thousands more positions, but the possibilities to practice them all are limited with your schedule probably full, trying to find enough time to practice even a fraction of all those postures is almost impossible.
Most of us, however, can find 10 minutes a day in a quiet place to practice some of them, in fact even 10 minutes a day can help you reap the benefits of yoga, including increased strength and flexibility, more energy, improved breathing, greater cardiovascular and circulatory health, better sports performance, injury prevention, and lower stress levels.
You can always progress to include more and different poses in your practice, but start by doing these 5 essential yoga postures and then add to your asana arsenal when time and your body allow.
Downward Dog Posture or Adho Mukha Svanasana
A fundamental posture in many yoga styles, the downward dog is one of the most complete.
It helps strengthen the shoulders, arms, and legs, lengthens the spine, and helps relieve pain in the upper, middle, and lower back, according to many yoga teachers around the world.
It is also a gentle inversion, reversing the flow of blood in the body, benefiting the circulatory and lymphatic systems and fighting the effects of gravity on the body.
To do it you must start from a position on the floor with your shoulders directly on your wrists and your hips on your knees, bend your toes and lift your hips up to the sky.
Keep your spine straight and extend the back of your legs only as far as the hamstrings allow it, extend your toes wide and look at your feet; for a more advanced practitioner, you can move downwards from a plank position.
Garland or Malasana Posture
Many people spend too much time sitting with their hips at 90 degrees, over time this can create a number of problems, including limited mobility in their joints, many yoga teachers say.
This pose helps open up the hips and inner thighs and lengthen the spine, helps keep the pelvic and hip joints healthy, to do this start with your feet wider than hip width and open your toes slightly.
Keep your eyes forward and your spine straight while pushing your hips back and down like you would in a chair, the goal is to bring your hips as low as possible without rounding the spine.
If you can’t get down without your heels on the mat, roll up a towel or blanket and place it under your heels. Bring your hands to the prayer position on the middle chest and push inward on your knees with your elbows, opening even more the hips.
Tree essential yoga postures
The tree pose is one of the best ways to build leg and base strength, as well as strength and stability in the wrists, arms, shoulders and quadriceps.
To do it correctly you should start with the descending dog pose, then roll forward on your knees and feet and lower your hips so that your shoulders come directly over your wrists and so that your hips are in line with the top of your head and shoulders.
Keeping the abdominal muscles contracted and the leg muscles engaged, beginners can modify the pose by lowering their knees to the ground while maintaining a straight, solid line through the knees, hips and head.
Standing Clamp or Uttanasana Position
The standing tweezers position is a great counterbalance to the positions of being in front of a computer all day, this is said by expert yoga teachers and they are ideal for when you don’t have a carpet or much space.
This position is ideal for calming the nervous system, the forward curves also stretch the spine, buttocks and hamstrings and strengthen the quadriceps and knees.
To do this pose, stand with your feet separated at the width of the hip, bend forward at the hips, only go as far as your hamstrings allow, keep your knees bent a little, and rest your stomach on your thighs.
Advanced practitioners can straighten their legs and recommend bringing their hands behind their backs and carrying them over to increase mobility in their shoulders.
Marichi or Marichyasana essential yoga postures
This pose is a great way to rejuvenate your body and realign your spine, especially when you’ve been sitting in front of your computer all day.
In a sitting spin, your hips are anchored, so you have less chance of rotation in the hips, say the yoga masters, but by keeping the spin in the thoracic spine and up you will get the most benefit.
To do this pose sit on your mat with your legs extended in front of you, bend your right knee and place your right foot on the mat a few inches from your left leg on the outside of your left knee.
Bring your right palm to the mat just behind your right buttock, a mistake that you see many students make is that they will place their palm at an angle, which gives their body a chance to lean back, instead of keeping their spine straight.
Hug your right knee with your right arm or place your left elbow outside your right knee. With each inhalation, extend the control of your head upward, with each exhalation movement making it a little deeper, then switch sides.
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