The dawn of a new year often leaves many people feeling the need to commit to a healthy lifestyle. New resolutions often involve better eating, more exercise, and a better outlook on life.
1. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana):
This pose is great for building core strength, flexibility and muscle endurance. While in the pose, you should keep your arms and legs straight, with your body weight supported on your hands and toes. Make sure to keep your head level throughout the pose as well.
2. Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
This pose is basically the same as downward facing dog, but bring one leg up behind you. Do not lean forward or let your chin hit the floor as this can increase back pain over time. The upward facing dog pose is another great pose for building flexibility and core strength, but is also a very calming pose. Make sure to stay calm and relaxed during the pose.
3. Warrior 1 (Virabhadrasana I)
This basic warrior variation is a great way to improve your eye-hand coordination, balance, and core strength. The warrior poses can also be used as a more advanced version of the runner’s stretch due to their deep hip opening nature.
The warrior poses can also be modified by bringing your leg straight out in front of you instead of keeping it bent or using both legs at once for a double twist variation. Try this pose next time you need to relax!
4. Warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana II)
This is a more challenging variation of the warrior pose that is great for increasing your strength and flexibility. While still keeping your arms straight out and legs bent, bring one knee up to your chest. Then, place the other heel on the floor behind you with one foot and knee bent. Repeat with the other leg and foot as well.
5. Shoulderstand (Sirsasana)
This pose is more challenging than it may seem. It requires a great deal of balance and core strength to hold the pose for even five seconds.
The shoulderstand can be done either on the floor, or against a wall with your hands on the floor as well for extra support. Try this pose first on a soft surface such as a yoga mat or carpet, then move to hard floors such as tile, cement or hardwood.
6. Child’s Pose (Balasana)
Child’s Pose is one of the most relaxing poses in yoga. In this pose, you will sit on your heels with your body curled over and down towards the floor. It is essential to be in this pose with a straight spine and neck. The child’s pose can be done either on your back or on your side, but the latter is often recommended for more support.
7. Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
The standing forward fold is a great way to build strength and flexibility in your entire upper body. It also helps you to improve balance and stability as you work on your shoulder and core strength in this move.
8. Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand)
The shoulder stand is an advanced yoga pose that requires balance and flexibility, but it can be done by anyone. The only real challenge for beginners is learning how to transfer the weight from your hands to your feet without using your arms. Salamba Sarvangasana is an intermediate version of the shoulder stand that puts these two skills together.
The proper way to do this pose is to start on all fours and then bend at the waist so that you are in a downward facing dog position. Next, bring both legs over each other so that they rest on your shoulders while keeping your back straight and straight legs extended in front of you.
9. Crab (Komitthasana)
The crab pose is a great way to relieve stress and fight pain. In this pose, you should bring your knees and feet together while sitting on the floor with your back straight, hips held high in the air, and knees open towards the ceiling. To make this pose more challenging you can use a block under your back leg to further challenge your balance and core strength.
10. Corpse Pose (Savasana)
This is the ultimate rest pose for yoga. In this pose, you should lie on your back with your arms and legs fully extended, and all tension drained from your body. If you need to, use a rolled up blanket or two under your head for support.
This resting position will help the blood flow back into your arms and legs as well as working to calm both the mind and body down at the same time.