Even though I’ve been practicing yoga for almost three decades, I still find myself pulling back into “simple” poses over and over again. I’ve played with more advanced postures, but beginner-friendly, foundation postures and exercises seem to offer the greatest long-term benefits with the least risk. Without supernatural strength or flexibility, we can mobilize and lubricate our joints, improve our posture and balance, stimulate digestion, boost energy, calm the nervous system, and create mental focus and purity at any age or stage of life.
In my opinion, these 10 poses and practices can only be the best tool for a healthy and vibrant life offered by yoga, with huge benefits for body and mind.
1. Conscious breath
There is a Sanskrit proverb: “For breath is life; if you breathe well, you will live on earth for a long time. Western wisdom agrees. It doesn’t seem to matter whether you use diaphragmatic breathing (also called abdominal or abdominal breathing), deep ribbed breathing, or a special pranayama technique - research suggests that slow, deep breathing can trigger a “relaxation reaction,” slow breathing and heart rate, lowering blood pressure, calming digestion, improving energy, and reducing stress and perceived pain. Even better, this device is available to everyone regardless of injury, age, range of motion and physical strength.
2. Gentle flow
Circled wrists and ankles, bending and pointing fingers, windshield wipes your knees, Cat / Cow - these gentle movements may not look fashionable, but they can help connect us to the rhythm of breathing and the proprioceptive feelings of the body; gently stimulates blood and lymph flow; and warm and mobilize our joints. Flow like water can help relieve muscular and mental tension, removing us from stiffness and stagnation.
3. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Even the most committed yogis only practice for a few hours a day, which means that what we do on the mat (i.e., our posture) has a much greater impact on our health than what we do on it. Our posture affects our breathing, digestion, and mood; in the long run, it can even cause an asymmetrical load on our joints, leading to premature wear. Whenever we find our roots in Mountain Pose, they encourage us to notice and correct our posture habits. This will help you develop new posture habits that we can take off the mat and into our daily lives.
4. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
A downward facing dog is a hatha yoga for good reason. The pose creates harmony between the upper and lower body, opening the chest while lengthening the back of the legs. It balances the internal focus of the deflection with the upper body force of the balance of the arm and the energy momentum of the inversion. And, like most of my favorite yoga classes, it can be easily modified to suit the needs of each student.
5. Standing balance poses
Although some yogis are born with deep backs or open hips, we are all able to improve our balance. Questioning the stability of Tree Pose (Vrksasana), Eagle Pose (Garudasana), or Crescent Lunge increases body awareness and mental focus while teaching us how to use our seeds to functionally align the upper and lower body. By practicing one side of the body at a time, we also have the opportunity to notice small differences between the left and right sides before they become large. Balance work promotes a sense of resilience — both mentally and emotionally, as well as physically — and increases stability as you age.
6. Side board (Vasisthasana)
Permanent balance poses help maintain strength and stability in the lower body; Side Plank helps to achieve the same in the upper body. This is a key benefit for women because with aging we tend to lose upper body strength. Whether you use the standard version of the pose or a modification, the Side Plank activates the rotator cuff (the small muscles that correctly place the head of the humerus in the shoulder socket), toning the side’s waist and often neglected muscles on the outside. hip and forces us to recruit core, chest, back and leg muscles to maintain our balance.
7. Tendency to lean back
Over time, many of us tend to loosen u, letting our head and shoulders fall forward and our upper back round. This habit stops us, limits our breathing capacity and organ function, depresses our energy, and causes uneven wear on the joints in our necks, back, and shoulders. Simple backward bends such as Cobra (Bhujangasana) and Locust (Salabhasana) counterbalance this pattern, strengthening the muscles of the back shoulders, spine, buttocks and legs. As soon as we open our posture, we also open energetically.
Like shaking a snow globe, inversions change our relationship to gravity, shifting blood and lymph fluid from the legs and hips to the heart and head. It also takes the weight off our feet, ankles and knees, giving the hard-working joints some joyful rest. Legs-Up-the-Wall-Pose (Viparita Karani) is my favorite inversion because it also helps relieve neck and back tension. There is an element of giving that many of us are missing from our frantic lives.
Gentle twist is the equivalent of yoga by hitting the reset button on our posture habits, releasing the pattern of myofascial tension around the torso, and encouraging the intervertebral discs between the bones of the spine to swell by absorbing fluid from the surrounding tissues. Screws can also stimulate the circulation of our abdominal organs, which benefits our digestion and thus our vitality.
Regular meditation, regardless of style and duration, has been shown to enhance immunity, focus, and creativity while reducing anxiety, stress, and perceived pain. No matter what kind of yoga you can do or not, you can make these powerful and lasting benefits available to anyone who finds a comfortable session to take a break for a few minutes a day to reflect and observe without judgment.