In the first few posts, we’ve introduced you to the world of yoga and discussed the different yogic techniques. Whether you’re doing yoga at home or attending yoga classes in your locale, and whether you’re a beginner or a master yogi, it is important to determine and understand what’s best for your body. Now that you’re familiar with the different yogic postures, it would be surely worthwhile to talk about the most effective yoga poses to help you get the most out of your yoga experience!
- Downward Facing Dog
The downward-facing dog is commonly used in many yoga styles, and also considered as one of the most effective foundational poses utilized in many classes. So if you’ve attended a class or two, you might be familiar with this already. It is deemed effective by many because it helps strengthen the arms and shoulders, reinforce the back, and builds up leg and thigh muscles. This also improves the blood circulation of the body naturally.
To perform the downward-facing dog, just make your way to a tabletop position. Make sure that your shoulders and wrists are aligned as well as your hips and knees are lined up straight. Keep your spine flat, relax, and focus your attention to your feet.
- Yoga Squat or Garland Pose
The yoga squat or the garland pose is also called “Malasana”, which is done by simply doing a squat pose with the heels in and the toes pointing outward. While in this position, hands are clasped together and placed in front of the chest, similar to a praying position, while also focusing on your breathing. The yoga squat is considered effective by many yogis because it helps stimulate metabolism. It also stretches (and relaxes) muscles in your hips, thighs, calves, and alleviate spine and back pains. Aside from this, the yoga squat or malasana can also strengthen your core, your arms, quadriceps, and more!
- Seated Spinal Twist
The seated spinal twist is one of the most effective yoga poses if you want to relax your body after a long day at work! By doing this yoga pose, you stretch a lot of muscles in your body, including shoulders, neck, arms, calves, hips, thighs, back, glutes, obliques, among others. With its benefits to the body, it seems like a lot of work. But in fact, doing the seated spinal twist is very simple. While on your mat, extend your legs forward then place your right foot just on the left side of your left knee. Then, twist your body to the other direction, which is on your right, placing your right palm just behind your right backside. Do the same on the other side. Isn’t that relaxing?
- Child’s Pose
Child’s pose, or malasana, is often done as a ‘resting position’ in most yogic techniques and classes. It is also frequently utilized as a ‘breathing space’ before slowly moving to another posture. Although malasana is relatively an unchallenging posture, it actually has a lot of benefits to the body too! Aside from relaxing the mind and body, it also stretches a lot of muscles and gently relaxes the neck, shoulders, and spine.
To do the child’s pose, just kneel, and sit on your heels while touching your two big toes. While paying attention to your breathing, bend your torso forward while extending your arms as far as you can, with your forehead and palms touching the ground. Now, can you feel that satisfying stretch? I’m pretty sure you’re feeling so relaxed right now.
- Mountain Pose
Tadasana, or Mountain Pose, is commonly known as the foundation of all the standing poses. To do this, simply stand straight with your feet together, with arms at the sides of your body. While focusing on your breathing, just feel the energy moving from your feet to your calves, thighs, hips, stomach, chest, shoulders, and finally, to your head. Relax your mind, and feel the stretch in your whole body.
- Forward Bend
The forward bend is a very straightforward yoga pose that you can perform in the comfort of your own home — and yes, even without a yoga mat! However, don’t be deceived — it is not as easy as it sounds!
Uttanasana, which is another term for standing forward bend, is an effective stress-reliever as it is known to calm the nerves and relax the mind and body. On top of that, this pose also alleviates tension in the neck, shoulders, spine, and back.
So to do this, you have to stand straight with your feet only inches apart. Bend forward and try to reach your stomach to your thighs, with your hands touching your feet. If you couldn’t do it on your first try, that’s absolutely normal. Mastering the standing forward bend takes time and practice, and you can definitely try modifying this posture for your ease and comfort.
- Warrior I
Unlike the first few poses discussed, Warrior I necessitates proper training, focus, and physical strength. This dynamic posture soothes as well as strengthens the thighs, calves, back, as well as the shoulders and neck.
Do a mountain pose or tadasana as a starting position. Put your right foot forward on a 90-degree angle to your knee and calves, with the other foot 4-5 feet away at the back and pointing outwards (left side). Put your weight on the heel of your left foot, then gently lift your arms above your head, and feel the stretch in your abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms. Gently look up, and focus on your breathing. Hold up to a minute, and do the same on the other side.
Savasana may be ‘just’ a resting position, but it is actually one of the most important and critical yoga poses. After sweating over a series of movements and postures, this is where you completely relax your mind, your senses, and your muscles, and just feel the flow of good energy throughout your body. Just lie flat on your back, with your arms relaxed on your sides and palms facing upwards. Close your eyes, focus on your breathing, and welcome serenity and peace.