A dedicated “yogi” will be quick to share with you the benefits of the ancient Eastern practice known as yoga. They will explain how it helps them with staying in shape, relief from stress, and reducing tension. Since more than 20 million of us practice yoga in some form, and we spend billions of dollars each year on yoga products and classes, there must be something good about this art of folding yourself into a pretzel shape (on purpose).
Why Yoga is Good for You
Almost anyone can participate in some type of yoga. Different yoga will focus on different areas; some zero in on movement, others on relaxation, and many on learning the poses and proper breathing. Yoga works to stretch your muscles, increase flexibility, improve strength, and tone the body. It is a natural way for your body to calm itself while it acts to improve posture, and encourages relaxation. Yoga slows down the heart rate and may even help with cholesterol levels and give a boost to your immune system.
Yoga is even arranged into different types, from the gentle (Hatha and Iyengar Yoga) to the more challenging “power yoga” (Ashtanga and Bikram yoga). There is yoga for kids, hot yoga, yoga for pregnancy, yoga for men, yoga for seniors, even nude yoga.
Different yoga poses can have a positive impact on your body and overall health. If you are looking for some relief from fatigue, back pain, or want to boost your energy, here are 10 yoga poses you need to know:
Dolphin Pose (Headaches): Strengthen legs, arms, and open shoulders
Child’s Pose (Stress Relief): Ease anxiety and quiet the mind
Bound Angle Pose (Flexibility): Your hips are center to your body, and strengthening that stability makes for a more flexible you.
Cobra Pose (Energy): Open the chest, heart, and lungs
Half Pigeon (Anxiety): Release what weighs you down with this super calm pose
Downward Dog (Back Pain): Target those lower back muscles with a total body stretch
Cat Pose (Neck Tension): Relieve tension in the shoulders and neck
Big Toe Pose (Fatigue): Lengthen hamstrings and increase energy
Tree Pose (Sad Days): For days when the sun refuses to shine, try this pose to bring yourself back to a happy place.
Warrior II Pose (Pregnancy): Help ease indigestion and back pain
Finding your center is not all about complicated movements and unachievable feats. Yoga is a natural way to help your body with relieving stress, relaxing the mind, and breathing better. If you are a beginner, don’t try to do all the poses right away. Start with the very basic movements and work your way up to a more advanced style. When you feel strong enough to move ahead, try a new pose. Now grab your mat, find a class or pop in a DVD, and get to posing.
(All pose examples can be found at Yoga Journal)