I’ve regularly been talking about yoga and how I’m using it to stretch my body and keep it a minimum active. There are many different ways to practice yoga, and even more different types of yoga. Even if I’m not a certified Yogi teacher, I can show you the poses I use for regular practices as they are efficient enough to be visibly beneficial.
None of these poses require a yoga background. Yoga aficionados may find them basic, but my post is mostly dedicated to full beginners or the ones who already practiced a couple of times and couldn’t stick to it.
What you’ll need
Basically nothing fancy, as long as you have a mat and a comfortable outfit. By comfortable, I mean one that can reasonably stretch as it’s the purpose here. It also needs to stay in place as you don’t want to readjust your outfit every 10 seconds during your session.
I would recommend being in a quiet environment as part of the exercise is to relax your mind as you relax your body. Usually, I am using the gym in my building to do a guided yoga session. I like to have some Bluetooth headphones, so I’m disturbing no-one when I’m not alone. It also gives me a kind of quiet headspace.
Now, let’s start with my favourite poses. When I’m doing yoga with a stretching purpose, I like to stay on the floor. I am stretching both my upper body and my lower body.
As I mentioned earlier, I am not a yoga teacher, but I will give you the name of the poses, the benefits and the interests I find in them, but I don’t want to explain fully how to perform them. I will add some links to a professional website (no sponsorship involved) which will guide you adequately.
The Seated position: you start in a seating cross legs poses
1- The Fire Log
The Fire Log has two versions: right and left. It’s a hip opener and, for myself, I’m adding a forward bend to this pose. This option helps me work better on relaxing my hips, back, and shoulders at the same time.
2- The Cobbler
Even if the Cobbler is a beginner pose, I find it very difficult. However, this pose has one advantage: you can execute it whatever your level is. Just be patient and your hips will unwind day after day. Don’t push it by all means! The purpose is not to go fast but to go as far as you can. Otherwise, you could hurt yourself by putting too much pressure, this is true for every poses, but especially for this one. Feeling your hips opening through your weeks of regular practice is the result you are looking for.
3- The Cow Face
The Cow Face is a very efficient chest opener. Opening your chest helps nourish your brain.
However, I was not doing the cow face preparation at first as I had very weak knees. I was simply executing the upper exercise, seating crossed legs. I came to the complete pose after a few weeks of practice.
The Caterpillar is a very gentle forward bend. It’s perfect for the back and the belly. Any pose which implies that you are curled up is good to refocus and calm yourself.
5- Seated Forward Bend
The Seated Forward Bend is more efficient after the caterpillar; this one helps stretch the back of your legs, preventing knees injuries and sensitivity. It’s also a good exercise for the spine.
6- One-Legged King Pigeon / Bridge
Each of them is good chest openers and I love them both. However, even though the Bridge is an intermediate pose, I find it easier to execute than the One-Legged King Pigeon. I place this pose here because the One-Legged Pigeon is a seated pose, where the Bridge is a supine pose that really belongs to the next session.
The Supine Poses
You’ll have to lie on your back for the followings
7- One-Legged Wind Removing
The One-Legged Wind Removing pose is also a hip opener. However, you’ll feel that the pressure is completely different compared to the seated positions. I find them both useful and this one has a very soothing effect.
8- The Spinal Twist
I do find this version of the Spinal Twist quite painful, so I practice a slightly different one. I can’t keep one leg straight; otherwise, it feels like I’m dislocating my hip. To prevent that, I bend and twist both legs at the same time.
I’m also positioning my arms to align with my shoulders, in a horizontal position. It is also stretching the shoulders. If you have some tension in the neck and shoulder, this can definitely help.
9- Happy Baby
Apart from all the stretching benefits, the Happy Baby happens to be very calming for the brain. A must try when comes the end of our session.
I like even better the Supine Pigeon, but it’s quoted as an Intermediate pose. However, depending on your natural abilities, you may find one or the other easier.
10- Wide Child Pose
The Wide Child Pose is perfect to end your session. If you had enough so far, do the basic Child Pose. But if you want more hip opening exercise, try the Wild Child Pose. After a few days, I found the Wide Child far more relaxing than the Child Pose.
Keep in mind that, what’s important regarding the practice of yoga, is to be consistent. Don’t try to go faster than your body allows you to. You will just hurt yourself or block your muscles. Then, it could become even more difficult to stretch further even with months of practice.
All the poses I chose have this advantage to be gentle. You won’t push too hard if you just let your weight work on stretching your muscles.
I want to be clear, you won’t lose weight, work on your strength or your balance with these poses. There is another purpose here. Let me remind you all the benefit of a regular gentle yoga practice. You will relax your mind, unwind your neck, shoulder and back muscles. You will also open your hips and stretch your leg muscles.
I hope you’ll enjoy this introduction to my way of using yoga. If you do, write a comment below and tell me about it! If you experienced some real difficulties, write all the same. I’m always interested in knowing about your struggles!
(This blog post is not sponsored by Pocket Yoga. I’m using it as it offers a good panel of poses clearly explained and it is open to everyone online, not only subscribers. I appreciate that for beginners)
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