Yoga Moves You Can Do at Home
Don’t be intimidated by the svelte men and women bending their bodies into complicated yoga poses. Everyone has to begin somewhere — and there’s no better time than now to start this 5,000-year-old practice. Dedicated yoga practitioners say regular yoga helps with strength, flexibility and posture, all while reducing stress through relaxation. So grab a mat and some water, and stretch out with some of these basic poses that provide a foundation for the practice of yoga.
Mountain Pose, Arms Overhead – Urdhva Hastasana
Most standing poses start with the basic mountain pose, so it’s important that you learn how to correctly get into this position. The version shown in this image is the mountain pose with arms overhead.
Start in a standing position with head aligned over spine with your shoulders rolled back. Engage your thighs and extend your arms downward at your side with your palms facing forward. For arms overhead, extend your arms over your head, relax and roll your shoulders down, and hold your palms together.
Chair – Utkatasana
Start from the mountain pose (with arms by the side). Bend at the knee like you’re sitting in a chair. Tuck your bottom in, and lean forward about 30 degrees. Lift your arms overhead so the diagonal angle matches your back. As with mountain pose, make sure your shoulders are rolled back and down.
Seated Forward Bend – Paschimottanasana
Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you, with your feet flexed and your toes pointed toward the ceiling. Straighten your back, then lean forward to grab your toes. Keep your back straight and your neck in alignment with your spine as you fold forward. When you’re as far forward as you’re comfortable stretching, let your head gently hang.
Upward Facing Dog – Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
Start in mountain pose, arms extended. Lean forward, as if you’re doing a swan dive. Plant your hands on the ground and move your feet back so you’re in the push-up position. Lean forward on your tip-toes and slowly bend your elbows. Turn the toes under so you’re resting on the tops of your feet, then pull your chest forward until your hips are between your hands. Arch your back and lift your chin up. Your arms should be straight and only your feet should touch the ground.
Downward Facing Dog – Adho Mukha Svanasana
From upward facing dog, pull your belly back, turn the toes back over so you’re on the balls of your feet then push your heels toward the ground. Lift your bottom so your body forms an upside down “V.”
These are very simplified descriptions of yoga poses, and it’s important to pose correctly in order to prevent injuries and get the full benefit of the practice.
Fitness centers at Texas Health Resources offer a healthy approach to wellness and exercise. Learn more about yoga classes near you!