One of the things I love about yoga is it doesn’t care what you look like. Unlike humans, it doesn’t judge us on our gender, age, race, looks or fitness level.
Everyone and anyone is welcome!
TV and movies often portray people doing yoga (or fitness for that matter) as thin, slim and sexy.
As a result, many people turn away even before giving it a try.
But in reality, there’s really no “right” or “wrong” body type, especially when doing yoga.
Like all things, some people may just need to work more to get where they wanted to be.
We’ve all been there, be it school, work or relationships.
Sure, those who have good coordination, flexibility and balance may have an advantage. But, it doesn’t mean you can’t do it.
In fact, it’s the opposite.
Because ultimately, that’s what yoga’s all about: YOUR JOURNEY.
It helps you to grow and change to becoming a better person overall.
1. Cat Pose
The cat pose is incredible for soothing back pain and tightness without putting a lot of stress on it. It involves gentle, deliberate movement that helps lengthen your spine to relieve tension.
The cat pose is often done at the beginning of a yoga sequence to help get the body warmed up for the more challenging poses.
You’ll often see it combined with the cow pose. Together, the cat and cow poses give your spine a soothing, gentle stretch.
With this pose, you’ll be getting down on all fours. When doing so, it’s essential to keep your knees aligned while maintaining your shoulders right above your wrists.
This way, there’s no unnecessary strain on your hips, shoulders or wrists.
2. Cow Pose
The cow pose compliments the cat pose. You’ll be in the same position as you were in that pose.
But this time, your back will stretch towards the opposite direction.
This provides your spine with a mild, yet relaxing backbend. It also feels wonderful for the upper back, neck and shoulders as they get to open up.
Because of the way it stretches your back, it’s very effective in soothing tired backs. This makes it very useful when you find yourself seated down for long periods of time.
3. Cobra Pose
The cobra pose extends the movement of the cow pose. But this time, you’ll be lying face down on the floor.
Because you’ll be using your arms to lift your shoulders from the ground, this backbend gives you a much deeper stretch compared to the cow pose.
If you’ve seen or done yoga before, you’ll notice that the cobra is very much like the upward facing dog. The difference between the two is that the cobra focuses more on the mid to upper back. The reason being that with the cobra pose, your hips and legs remain on the ground.
In addition to your back, it also helps open up your chest while loosening up your shoulders.
4. Half Lord of the Fishes
From backbends, we now transition to spinal twists.
The half lord of the fishes is a seated spinal twist. This pretzel-like pose looks a lot harder than it actually is.
Though, it may require some practice to get the twist down depending on your spine’s current range of motion.
Spinal twists are great for loosening up your back. It lets you easily turn to your right and left without using your hips or neck.
In addition to its postural benefits, it helps with your digestive tract’s functioning. Twisting your body massages the internal organs in your abdominal cavity. This aids in bloating, digestion and constipation.
With any type of spinal twist, it’s important not to force your body to turn too far. Gentle twisting works well and in time will allow your spine and muscles to gain more mobility and range of motion.
Unlike the poses above, the bridge requires a bit more muscle action.
It’s great for toning your booty and strengthening your core. If you do this pose regularly, you’ll quickly notice your butt getting firmer and shapelier.
With this asana, you’ll begin by lying on the floor and pushing your hips up to the ceiling using your legs. When doing so, it’s imperative to keep your core engaged, so your butt doesn’t drop.
Aim to keep your lower back, hips and thighs in a straight line. This reduces your risk of tweaking or straining your lower back.
6. Downward Facing Dog
The downward facing dog looks deceptively easy. It requires a good amount of core strength, hamstring flexibility and upper back/shoulder mobility.
It’s both calming and energizing which makes it an excellent pose to do in the morning or early in the yoga sequence. It helps clear your mind of stresses and troubles. At the same time, filling your body with more energy for the rest of the day.
I love the downward dog strengthens your entire body. Your arms and legs get the brunt of the work. But, your core and upper back also engaged throughout the movement.
With this pose, it’s vital to have solid footing and palm grip on the mat to avoid slips.
7. Tree Pose
The tree pose is a balancing posse. It also helps you be more aware of proper body alignment.
Because a few things are happening at the same time, it requires some coordination on your part.
So, take your time in figuring out each element first.
When starting out, you can stand in front of a wall or beside a table. This gives you some extra security, and things to grab onto if you get unbalanced.
You can likewise keep your arms on your chest instead of bringing up over your head initially. Doing so makes it easier to balance on one leg. Once you’ve mastered that, you can slowly lift your arms up overhead to complete the pose.
8. Warrior II
The warrior II is part of a number of warrior poses. It’s great for building balance and stability even when your legs are split apart.
And, it does wonders in terms of toning your legs and butt.
As with all yoga asanas, there are a lot of details involved with this posture. One of which is making sure your hips and back foot face towards the sides.
Keeping your front knee bent at a right angle is also important. This helps keep unnecessary pressure off the joint.
Like the other warrior poses, you’ll be holding the pose for time. This means you’re not only building strength but also endurance and concentration.
9. Pigeon Pose
Finally, the pigeon is an incredible pose for opening your hips.
It works wonders for most of us because we spend a good part of our days sitting on our desks. This causes our hips to become tight.
The pigeon pose helps counteract that by improving hip mobility and flexibility.
You’ll also notice that as your hips open up, you’ll be able to do things like walking, running and other yoga poses much better.