One of the great things about yoga is that there are lots of different poses. There are poses for every part of the body, for relaxation and for energizing yourself, to stretch and to promote healing. I’ve heard that there are thousands of poses if you count variations. That’s a lot! Like most other yoga students, I have poses that I am better at than others and I have poses that I really like to do. Here are a couple of my favorites.
I like Warrior II. It makes me feel strong and confident. It just feels good, too. If you know how to do a lunge, you can do this pose – it is basically a standing lunge that includes your arms. To do Warrior II, you start with your feet together while standing upright. Then you take a big step forward with one foot so that your feet are about 4 – 6 feet apart, with your heels aligned. Once you are stable in that position, turn your back foot sideways and be sure your front foot has your toes pointed toward the top of your mat. Bring your arms up and out to the sides at shoulder length. Bend your front knee like you are doing a lunge, careful to align your knee over your ankle. Sink your hips toward the floor while keeping your front shin parallel to the ground. Turn your head so that you are facing the hand over your bent leg so you are looking forward. There you go, you’re a powerful warrior!
If I am really tired or I am looking for a good back stretch, I like a variation on Crocodile Pose. You lay on the floor on your belly, hands folded under your head. You stretch your legs out behind you and point your toes so you are as long as possible. Put your elbows on the ground and raise up your head and shoulders. You hold your head in your hands and just relax there with your eyes closed. Really, you read that right, you’re basically laying on the ground with your head in your hands, kind of the way you probably watched tv as a kid. You’ll feel a really good stretch for your back, and it opens up your chest so it always feels easier to breathe afterward.
Some seated poses are really easy. They can help loosen your hips and make your body more comfortable after being stuck in an office all day. I have found Cobbler’s Pose (also known as Butterfly Pose) is especially good at opening my hip joints and making me feel less stiff. It’s super easy, too! You sit on the floor. Bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together. Keeping your spine straight, straighten your arms and hold onto your feet. If you can’t get your knees to stay down, you can put yoga blocks between the mat and your knees so you have somewhere to rest your legs. There’s a great variation on this where once your legs are in position, you just lean back and lay down. Ahhhh!
I hope this post has inspired you to think about the poses you like best or to try them on your own. Namaste!