7 Amazing Yoga Poses For Physical & Mental Health
You know that yoga can benefit both your physical and mental health, but there are some that just really stand out to me. (See the video link at the bottom of the page)
1. Easy Pose
Easy pose kind of is what it says it is. It’s simple and relaxing. Just sit in a criss-cross position with a straight back and your hands on your knees. A lot of practices combine easy pose with breathing exercises to add even more benefit. Some of the breathing exercises that you can do in easy pose are:
-alternate nostril breathing
2. Mountain Pose
Better posture, better balance, improved concentration and an overall sense of tranquility.
Mountain pose is almost like the standing version of easy pose. Just stand up straight, with your shoulders rolled down and back and gaze ahead. Bring your hands into prayer position, and breathe. Mountain pose is the starting point for many standing postures, but it’s also very beneficial on its own.
3. Tree Stand
Balancing postures like tree stand help stabilize your body and focus your minds. What I love about tree stand in particular is that it’s a great beginner balancing pose, but it’s still beneficial for advanced yoginis.
To get into tree stand, begin in mountain pose, then lift your right leg and grab hold of the knee. If you’re comfortable there, you can move on by placing your right foot onto the inside of your left thigh, then bring your hands into prayer position. Once you feel good here, you can complete the posture by raising your arms above your head, like in the photo above. Stay here and breathe, then repeat on the left side.
The great thing about tree stand is that no matter how far into the pose you get, your mind and body benefits.
4. Standing Forward Bend
Forward bending is about facing fears by literally turning you on your head. It’s also a great stretch for your legs, neck, and spine.
Begin in mountain pose, and raise your arms over your head. Look up, then swan dive forward, bringing your upper body downward with a flat back. Release into the pose. There are a few variations that you can do in this posture:
Grip your elbows with the opposite hands, and hang out, letting gravity do the work.
Grab hold of the backs of your legs or your heels-whatever you can reach – and gently pull yourself deeper into the stretch
Let your arms hang loose, with your hands on the floor, if you can reach, or just hanging out, if you can’t.
5. Downward Dog
Downward dog stretches and strengthens the legs and spine while strengthening your arms.
Start off on your hands and knees, then curl your toes under, and straighten your legs. Make sure you pull your shoulder blades together. You may want to walk your feet back a bit to get comfortable in this posture. Once you’re situated, just focus on pushing down on the floor with your hands and keeping your back straight. Don’t worry if your feet don’t touch the floor – in time, you’ll get there
6. Cat and Cow Pose
Technically, this is two poses, but practiced together they are great for your back, neck, and for reducing anxiety and improving concentration.
Begin on hands and knees, with your hands right under your shoulders and knees right under your hips. From that neutral position, inhale and arch your back downward, tilting your head back. On the next exhale, scoop in your belly and push with your hands to arch the spine upward, and curl your chin toward your chest. Flow between these two postures, following your breath – for 10-15 repetitions.
7. Pigeon Pose
This posture stretches the hips and the front of the body while focusing your mind.
Begin on hands and knees, just like in cat/cow pose, and swing your right foot through your hands, placing the knee on the floor in front of you. Slide the left foot back, until the thigh is resting on the floor. Push up with your hands, and arch your back, lifting your chin and gazing at the ceiling. After 10 deep breaths, release your upper body forward, and rest your head on your folded arms in front of you. If you’re not flexible enough to rest this way, you can stack your fists on top of each other, and rest your forehead on your fists. Take another 10 deep breaths, then switch sides and repeat on the left.