I’ve fallen in love with yoga. It helps me relax my mind and body both day and night. It allows me to breathe and focus, to release any negative energy, and to start my day on a positive note. It also relaxes me and helps me fall sleep at night. Yoga is fantastic way to become more flexible and to prevent injuries.
I’m not a yoga expert, but I have found what works for me, and I want to share it with you. These are six of my favorite yoga poses that I incorporate into my daily routine. I encourage you to try them, too. Take some time each day to rejuvenate and reset your mind.
I like to hold these poses for 30-60 seconds, and perform them each a few times. I invite you to play around with them until you find what works for you. Remember to breathe!
1. Forward Bend: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with a slight bend in your knees. Reach your arms above your head as high as you can. Feel the stretch starting from your torso. Take some deep breaths and bend forward slowly, trying to touch your toes if you can. Go as far as you can go and just hang there for a few seconds. Continue with deep breaths. Relax there. Shake your arms and shoulders lightly, then slowly roll back up and reach as high as you can towards the sky. Do this as many times as you would like.
2. Downward Dog: Get into a plank position and slowly shift your hips upward, pulling your butt towards the sky. The goal is to try to get your heels firmly on the ground to get a nice stretch in the calves. You can also work your way into it by going up onto your toes and then coming back down, or bringing one heel up while the other is down, and then switching sides. Take some deep breaths and hold for a few seconds. Go back into a plank and repeat a few times.
3. Spiderman Lunge: From a standing position, lunge your right leg out in front of you, making sure that knee doesn’t go past your toes. Place both of your hands on the ground inside of your right leg. You can keep your left leg bent or try to straighten it out for more of a stretch. Take your right elbow and push into your knee so you feel that great stretch throughout the lower body, especially in the hips and groin. Repeat with the other leg.
4. Cat Cow Pose: While on your hands and knees, exhale and reach for the sky with your spine. Keep your core engaged. Relax your head to stretch your neck, then reverse. Inhale as you bring your head up towards the sky, arching your back. As you do this, your hips/butt will shift back and you can feel a nice stretch throughout those areas.
5. Child’s Pose: Sit on your knees then lower your hips and chest so you can give yourself a nice little hug. Then outstretch your arms on the ground in front of you, shoulder-width apart over your head. Reach as far as you can, and feel the stretch throughout your back/arms and shoulders.
6. T-spine rotation: I love this for a great back stretch. This exercise can be performed two ways. The first way: Face the ground with your knees tucked into your chest and your arms outstretched above your head. Take your right arm and place it underneath your left arm and reach as far as you can or until you get a nice stretch in the back and obliques. Then switch sides.
The second way, which is best for those with knee pain or other lower-body problems: From a standing position, place your right leg on a chair or step. Take your left hand and place it on the outside of your right knee with the palm facing up. Place your right hand palm to palm with your left. Reach out and up with your right hand and hold the stretch for a few seconds, then bring your hands back together. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.