When it comes to fitness, most of us envision morning runs out in the cold, lifting weights in the gym, or collapsing at the mere thought of doing pushups. While some people may enjoy these types of exercises, for most of us it turns fitness into a chore – it’s something that you have to get through, not something that you enjoy. With this in mind, let’s take a look at a very popular alternative exercise – yoga. A lot of people scoff at yoga and attempt to diminish the ancient practice of yoga (the practice of yoga has been around since around the mid 3rd millennium BC) by claiming that it’s not real exercise. In reality, yoga is not only a legitimate exercise, but also a proven way to improve back and muscle pain, alleviate stress, and treat depression. Now, I realize that most of you Rockheads out there don’t have quite as many years of yoga experience under your belts (yours truly has been downward dogging it since around the dawn of time), so I’ll start things off easy with you guys. Here are a five basic yoga poses and their benefits that you can do from the comfort of your own home! No awkward public displays of inflexibility required.
- Tree Pose
- Cobra Pose
- The Child Pose
- Downward Facing Dog
- The Corpse Pose
For the Tree Pose you simply stand on one leg and brace your other foot against your knee so that your bent leg forms a 90-degree angle against your extended one. This pose is excellent for improving balance – an important element of yoga.
The Cobra Pose is also very simple. To get into position for the Cobra Pose, lay down on your mat face-down. Then slowly raise up your torso with your arms, keeping your legs still on the yoga mat, until your arms are fully extended. This pose is great for stretching and expanding your chest and shoulders and even improves your breathing.
The Child Pose is essentially a fetal position pose. Start on your belly and slowly pull your knees into your chest. This is great for stretching your lower back.
Perhaps one of the most well-known poses of yoga, Downward Facing Dog is also one of the easiest. This pose stretches your legs, particularly your calves and hip area. If you’re having problems reaching the floor, try using a yoga block until you develop more flexibility.
Even if you struggled with the other poses on this list, everyone (and I mean everyone) can handle the Corpse Pose. This pose is designed to make you focus on your breathing and relaxation. This is an ideal pose to help people cope with stress.
If these poses are a little too basic for you, kick things up a notch with more challenging poses or even yoga conditioning exercises. Have a favorite pose of your own you’d like to recommend? Leave it in the comment section!