Whether you are new to yoga, or out of practice, these are simple and effective poses to build your foundation. If you have been intimidated to start, give these a try today to work flexibility, strength and balance.
If you need more guidance, find the 10 minute video practice these moves come from at the bottom of this post.
1. Cat/Cow – Start on all fours, with hands under the shoulders and knees aligned under hips. Spread the fingers wide, and claw down with the fingertips and knuckles. Inhale to drop the belly down, squeeze the shoulder blades behind you and lift tailbone and gaze to the sky. Exhale to reverse, keeping the elbows straight as you lengthen spine. Dropping the tailbone and the head, spreading the shoulder blades. Repeat several times through.
2. Low Lunge – Step the right foot between the hands at the top of the mat. Align right knee over right ankle. Push the feet into the floor to lift the upper body and arms up. Lengthen tailbone down. Pull up and engage abdominals. Maybe lifting the heart and gaze for a gentle back bend.
3. Gentle Twist – Bring the hands together at the heart. Push the hands together. Rotate the chest to the right (towards the front leg). Keep the chest lifted, staying up tall.
4. Hamstring Stretch – Bend into the front knee, as you bring hands to the floor framing the right foot. Straighten the right leg, any amount. Flex the foot, curling the toes up.
5. Downward Dog – Bend the knee again, plant the palms, tuck the back toes and lift the left knee. Then step the right foot back. Hands shoulder width apart, and feet hip width distance. Bend the knees as much as you want. Think of lifting the seat up. Press the chest towards the thighs. No need for heels to touch the floor.
Repeat 2 through 4 on other side.
6. Leg Stretch – Lower down onto your back, with knees bent and feet on the floor. Pull the right knee in towards the chest. Then straighten the right leg any amount while holding on to the back of the thigh, the shin or the foot. Relax the head and shoulders to the mat.
7. Reclined Pigeon – Cross the right ankle over the left knee. Flex the foot. Pull the left thigh in towards your belly. Head and shoulders stay down, using minimal arm strength.
Repeat 6 + 7 on other side.