Yoga can be the perfect way to escape the daily grind and take some time for ourselves. It’s no surprise that over 30 million Americans practice yoga. There are so many different poses that can be used when practicing yoga – each benefiting the body and mind in different ways. Whether you’re a beginner or a yoga master, it’s essential to practice the poses safely and correctly! Here’s a look at a few of the most common yoga poses.
The Three-Legged Downward-Facing Dog
The three-legged downward-facing dog pose starts on your hands and knees, with your wrists underneath your shoulders and your knees below your hips. Take a deep breath and, as you exhale, lift your knees off the ground. Straighten your legs, bringing your feet behind you. Move your weight into the balls of your feet and reach your heels down. Place your palms flat on the ground, keep your neck long, and look straight ahead. Slowly extend one leg up towards the sky, keeping your hips level with the ground.
The Tree Pose
The Tree Pose requires focused attention, balance, and poise. Start in a standing position, with your feet firmly planted on the ground shoulder-width apart. As you draw your attention inward, begin to bend your right knee and place the sole of the right foot against your inner left thigh, your calf against your inner thigh, or higher onto your left hip flexor (only if you’re comfortable). Rest your hands on your hips, then bring your palms together in front of your chest. Keep your spine long and straight as you lift through your crown and slightly press your foot into the left leg.
The Bridge Pose
This pose is great for strengthening your legs, glutes, and back, while also stimulating your core. To get in the pose, lay on your back and bend your knees so that your feet are flat on the ground. Place your arms at your sides, palms facing down. With your feet hip-width apart and your toes pointing backward, press your feet firmly into the ground. As you inhale, press your feet into the floor and lift your hips up. Interlace your fingers underneath your body, and open your chest. Extend your arms towards the sky, pushing into the floor with your feet and your hands.
The Standing Forward Fold
This pose calms the brain, helps with digestion, and strengthens your legs. Start with your feet together and your legs straight. As you inhale, lift your arms up, relaxing your shoulders as you do so. On your exhale, fold forward from your hips, with the crown of your head leading the movement. Keep your legs straight, and place your hands on the floor or onto your shins, whatever’s comfortable for you. Release your neck and spine by drawing your shoulder blades away from your ears. Take a few breaths, then inhale as you roll up to standing.