Ready to get started with yoga at home? In this post, I’ll break down how to do 10 basic yoga poses for better health - and the benefits of each pose!
More and more doctors are recommending yoga as a way to support the healing process and work towards optimal health. A growing body of research shows that yoga offers many health benefits (mental and physical). It can help with help with back pain, posture, flexibility, balance, stress reduction, mood, sleep, and more.
The best thing is, you don’t have to do hours and hours of yoga every day to get these benefits. Just a few minutes of yoga at home can go a long way in improving your health.
There are hundreds and hundreds of poses in contemporary yoga, but when I'm teaching my yoga classes I find myself repeatedly coming back to the same ones. These 10 poses are beginner-friendly and provide incredible benefits for our health and well-being without much risk.
Ready to try them out? In this post, I’ll break down how to do these 10 yoga poses for better health - and the benefits of each!
*Important note: To be clear, individual yoga poses on their own are not magic. The yoga poses work together as a part of the entire system of yoga. That said, this is a great place to start. Notice how each pose feels in your body and take 5-8 deep, intentional breaths in each pose.
These are technically two poses, but they are so frequently linked together that we'll count them as one.
This pose is helps to articulate the spine, move almost every joint in the body in a non-invasive way, and to alternately contract and stretch the upper back, lower back and neck to increase circulation and relieve tension. It's also a great way to connect movement to breath and get in the flow at the beginning of your practice.
Cobra pose counteracts all of our typical bad postural habits (like slouching). It's great for strengthening the upper and lower back, stabilizing the sacrum, and stretching the front of the body. It can also be used to work with the neck and shoulders, depending on the pose variation.
I like to argue that rest and stillness is just as important (if not MORE important) than the movement in yoga. Taking child's pose for a few breaths can help you explore the power of the pause, tune in to what you're feeling, and notice any shifts in your energy as you go through your practice. Child's pose also stretches your lower back, upper back, and neck. I like to invite exploration of my breath in this pose, directing the flow of the breath to my back ribs.
Low lunge is great for strengthening the legs and core while stretching the hip flexors and calves. Different arm variations engage specific areas of the back, neck, and shoulders. It requires grounding and control while also inviting expansion and length.
Chair pose strengthens your lower body, your back, and your core. It's an excellent pose for improving your balance and focus, and it increases your heart rate and improves blood flow and circulation. I like to encourage my students to slow their breath down and find ease in this posture. This is a wonderful way to explore self-regulation during times of challenge.
Tree pose can be used to train balance AND strengthen the muscles that are directly involved in maintaining balance, especially the gluteus medius. Practicing tree pose can also develop presence, teaching us how to breathe and find ease in a pose that requires a lot of effort and focus.
Wide-legged forward bend is mainly used for stretching the lower back, inner thighs, and hamstrings. Different adaptations strengthen upper and lower back and stretch the shoulders.
Seated twist rotates the spine and realigns the relationship between the shoulder girdle and the spine, as well as pelvic girdle and the spine. It stretches the neck and outer hip. Extending the bottom leg makes the pose easier for most people and different arm adaptations change the intensity of the twist.
Bridge pose is a backbend that's great building lower body strength (hamstrings, quadriceps, hips, glutes) and therefore supporting the knee joints and potentially easing back pain. It's also great for improving posture because it actively stretches the chest and the back of the neck while contracting the upper and mid back muscles. This pose is accessible to most students, so it's a wonderful pose to hold and explore drawing inward, tuning in to sensation and the breath.
I would argue that this is the most important and beneficial pose of all! Savasana allows your nervous system to calm and shift into the "rest and digest" mode. Most of us live our day to day lives in sympathetic overdrive, sometimes known as the "fight or flight" mode. Giving yourself a few minutes of complete rest is essential for balanced health and well-being. No matter how busy you are, please don't skip savasana!
Enter your info below and I'll share my Yoga at Home Toolkit with you for FREE!
The Yoga at Home Toolkit Includes: