Yoga has been linked to improved overall mental and physical wellbeing. It’s been shown to combat menopause symptoms and even help people stop smoking.
It can also be done anywhere, so long as you can practice steadily. You can use a mat, blanket, or even towel to roll out on, but where do you go from there?
If you’re new to the practice, discovering types of yoga poses you can perform comfortably may seem daunting. If you’ve been practicing for a long time, it may feel like you’ve got every yoga pose down, but do you know what they do for your body?
This guide is here to tell you exactly that. Read on to find out the best types of yoga poses.
Begin With the Basics
Before you start trying to twist yourself into a pretzel, you should understand the two basic principles that are the foundations of your yoga poses:
- Pranayama (breathing
- Asana (movement)
When practicing yoga, it’s easy to get caught up in the doing of everything. At some point, you have to slow down and focus on your body, breath, and state of presence so you can reap the full benefits of yoga.
Practicing your breath work (Pranayama) and working to connect it with your movements is the best thing you can do to develop your practice.
Starting with this private yoga instructor can help you make the connection, and put you on the path toward building strength and focus, and pushing your body toward all the poses you want to strive towards.
Warriors 1, 2, and 3 are possibly the most synonymous with yoga in American culture. You start out in a high lunge with the majority of your weight on the back foot. Your hips face forward and so does your front foot.
Warrior 1 is a great place to start if you’re learning to take up space on your yoga mat. It’s a power pose and works to strengthen not only your confidence, but also your legs, arms, and spine.
Your arms stretch high above your head.
Warrior 2 invokes a similar feeling to Warrior 1. The stances are similar, but instead of having your arms placed right over your head, they’re stretched out front to back.
Warrior 3 is the most advanced of the warrior poses, and where your core strength is tested. One foot is lifted off the ground. Your hands, arms, spine, and legs are all in one straight line as you work to balance on one foot.
All three are mentally challenging poses, but Warrior 3 tests your strength the most. You may want to come out of it or tense up while it’s happening, but it’s important to remember that that is the basis for a lot of yoga poses.
It’s up to you to focus and breathe through it.
2. Mountain Pose
Also known as tadasana, this pose is done by standing tall with your arms at your side. Like a mountain, you should do your best to relax into the pose, even if you feel weird.
This pose is the base for many others and is a useful one to know.
The benefits of this pose include improving posture and strengthening your glutes, legs, and feet.
3. Tree Pose
Mountain pose is the base of Tree pose.
To get into Tree pose, inhale. Feel one foot flat on the earth and shift your weight onto it. Exhale and lift the other foot towards your knee or inner thigh.
Like Mountain pose, Tree pose is a great place to stand and breathe for as long as you can. It’s great for your feet, improving balance, and it assists you in establishing pelvic stability.
4. Downward Facing Dog
Downward Facing Dog is also the foundation for many other poses and is likely one you would know before you even started yoga.
Your hands are placed wide at the front of your mat (weight should be placed in your fingers, not wrists), and your feet are in the same position at the bottom of your mat.
Not only is this an easy pose to breathe in, but it also provides a great stretch for the back of your legs. It works to build strength in your hands, arms, shoulders, and even core.
Mentally, it encourages a calm and supported mindset.
5. Star Pose
To perform Star pose, stand with your feet and hands spread wide. The idea is to take up as much space as possible in order to achieve the best stretch.
Star pose utilizes every muscle in the body. From your neck, all the way down your spine, into your feet.
Cobra pose is done as you lie flat on your stomach. Inhale, and then exhale as you push the upper half of your body up, leaving your hips and legs on the earth.
Cobra pose provides a great backstretch, and aids in building shoulder and arm strength.
Mentally, it’s meant to help you overcome fear and rise to understand your true nature.
7. Child’s Pose
Child’s pose (and Extended Child’s pose) represents surrendering to the earth and yourself. It is usually done as a resting pose but is also great to meditate in.
It provides a gentle stretch for your back, shoulders, hips, thighs, and ankles.
These Types of Yoga Poses Will Help You Advance
As you move through your yoga practice, these types of yoga poses will continue to show themselves. After a while, you may find yourself breathing as you stand up from a chair, or when you find yourself in the middle of a chaotic moment.
In practice, these poses will become second nature. You may not have to think about doing them, but it’s important to always remember to be fully aware of your body when practicing yoga, especially as you advance to more challenging poses.
If you’d like to learn more about yoga, spirituality, self-development, and mental health, check out the rest of our blog today.