Daily yoga has been proven to help increase both your physical and mental health. In fact, a 2012 study conducted by the University of California Los Angeles found that daily meditation and yoga, practiced for just 12 minutes a day, can reduce chronic stress and lower the body’s susceptibility to illness. Amazing, right?! If you haven’t tried yoga before, now is the time to start!
To help kick off your daily yoga practice, we’re sharing the top 10 yoga poses to practice daily. These poses are designed specifically to help you awaken, rejuvenate, and embrace your day with more awareness and energy. Ready to namaste, my friends? Check out the poses below.
10 Daily Yoga Poses to Improve Mind & Body
Just waking up?! A soft, gentle cat-cow is a great way to awaken the body and mind. To do a cat-cow, kneel on your hands and knees and slowly start arching your spine (a la a cat) holding for a few deep breaths, and then extending the spine to elongate the through the tailbone and head (a la a cow). Repeat 5-10 times to help awaken your body. p.s. This pose is also terrific for people with back or neck tension! (Image via yogaasanas)
2) Mountain Pose
After your cat-cow, a great pose to transition to is standing Mountain Pose. This pose simple pose is a great way to realign your spine and gather your thoughts before the day. To do mountain pose, simply stand with feet hip-width apart, roll your shoulders back, open the shoulders and chest, and elongate through the spine to the top of your head. Keep hands at either heart’s center or placed gently along your sides with palms raised. In this pose, feel free to extend your arms above your head and/or lean side to side to stretch through the side body. (Image via Girls Talkin’)
3) Down Dog
Down Dog is one of the most beloved poses for a reason; it’s equal parts rejuvenating, refreshing, lengthening, and calming. It’s also adds a great boost of circulation through the body. Think of it like a shot of espresso; it helps energize the body! The idea of down dog is to get your hips higher than your heart and press through the shoulders and legs. Start by pressing your arms into the ground and raising your hips into the air. Work to lengthen the spine and press your feet into the ground. (Image via Health)
4) Warrior One
Ready to up the intensity in your daily poses? Try moving into Warrior One for a challenging push. In warrior one, you will start in a lunge position with the back foot slightly turned out and tucked under. The back leg will extend straight while the front leg is in a deep lunge. Extend arms up to the sky, lengthening through the shoulders. Send energy through the ends of your fingertips for extra power and awareness. (Image via Youtube)
5) Extended Triangle Pose
Now that we’ve stepped up our intensity a bit, Extended Triangle Pose is a great way to increase flexibility. To move into extended triangle, keep both legs extended and straight, stretch the bottom arm down to touch the ankle (for those less flexible) or the mat (for those with more flexibility). Extend the second arm high towards the sky and rotate your chest open to look at the top arm. (Image via Active)
6) Tree Pose
Ahhh, tree pose, one of my personal favorites! Tree pose is a great way to connect through core balance with the lengthening of the spine. To begin, start in Mountain Pose with both feet placed squarely on the mat, hip-distance apart. Carefully place one foot as high up on the thigh as possible. Clasp hands at heart center or extend your ‘branches’ (i.e. your arms!) in any variation, much like a tree. Keep the spine long and the chest open. (Image via Everyday Health)
7) Chair Pose
Chair pose is the pose we all love to hate. It’s deep squatting position pushes your leg muscles to their limits. Start in standing Mountain Pose to begin the transition into Chair Pose. Bend your knees as if sitting into an imaginary chair, shoot your arms above your head, chest lifted and spine extended. Sit even deeper into your chair and hold this pose for 5-10 deep breathes. Your legs will feel this one! (Image via Yoga Doctors)
8) Garland Pose
As we start to wind down our practice, the next few poses are about recentering and loosening stiff muscles. Garland pose is a perfect post to begin this new phase; it’s purpose is to relax and slowly open the hip joints to relieve stress and pressure. To get into Garland, place feet on opposite edges of the mat, slowly tuck the tailbone under and transition into a squatting position. Place hands at heart center and raise the chest up and open. One key to note is that the spine is extending throughout the pose, it’s never curled or tucked under. (Image via yoga.about.com)
9) Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose
Have back pain? The legs-up-the-wall pose, quite literally named for its positioning, is a great pose to relieve pressure on the back. To do this pose, place your bottom as close to the edge of the wall as possible. Move your legs up the wall and extend your back straight. Be sure to keep your lower back pressed into the ground. (Image via Health and Fitness Travel)
10) Reclining Heart Opener with Blocks
Lastly, we recommend finishing your daily yoga poses with a heart opening pose. This pose is a bit intense to move into, but feels amazing on the back. To do this pose, you’ll need either a yoga block or just a pillow/cushion from around the house. Start sitting upright on your mat, place the block or cushion on the ground behind you, then slowly extend your legs straight and relax your upper body over the block. Move slowly and be aware of any sharp pains in your body. Slowly release tension and let the block/cushion push through your back to open your rib cage. Stay here for 5 breaths. (Image via Yoga Journal)
That’s it! These 10 daily yoga poses will help you feel awakened, energized and ready to tackle whatever challenges and adventures await! Go forth and conquer yogis!
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