Is Your Local Gym Closed Due To Covid-19? Try These 11 Great Yoga Poses At Home
The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic is having a far greater impact on our lives than we ever thought possible. Not to mention, with most countries going in a lock-down, and most people working from home, it also means that we are bereaved of a lot of facilities; including fitness centers!
If you’re currently stuck at home, you may be feeling demoralized about what this will mean for your fitness. Even if you are not a health buff, exercise is vital for our physical and mental health, and is arguably more important than ever during periods of self-isolation. If you are a fitness aficionado, chances are that you are continuing your fitness regime from home. But those of you who lack the necessary equipment, should look towards Yoga!
However, if you are just stepping in to the realm of yoga, you must be sitting in utter bewilderment, listening to those awe-inspiring videos, trying to create some remote semblance of those crazy shapes with your overwrought body. However, if you are a novice, it pays off to start with poses that help you cultivate the core foundation of various yoga postures. This will help you feel more confident and successful early on and hone in on your skills to get flexible and stronger faster.
Here are 11 great yoga poses that would make you feel confident in your own skin and are a breeze to ace, while still imparting all the goodness that yoga has to offer:
Best Yoga Poses At Home:
1) Downward Facing Dog
As a yoga staple, the pose stretches out your calves, back, and backs of the thighs, releases tension in your spine, and strengthens your upper body.
- Start by positioning your body on your hands and knees, with your fingers pointing away from you and spread open, and your hands slightly placed forward from your shoulder line.
- You need to shift your body weight from your wrists and distribute it throughout your hands. Spread your fingers wide and press through your thumb and the base of the index finger.
- Try to lift your knees off the floor, elevating your buttocks and tailbone towards the ceiling, and draw your abs in and up.
- Keep your heels off the ground and your knees slightly bent.
- Keeping your head in line with arms, as you lengthen through your legs and arms, gently press your tailbone upward.
- Hold the position for 5 breaths, and return to the starting position.
2) Two Knee Spinal Twist
This beginner yoga pose serves to alleviate tightness in your spine, hips, lower and upper back, shoulders, and chest muscles, and is highly rejuvenating.
•Lie straight on your back, with your knees and feet together, feet on floor, and knees bent.
• Extend your arms to your sides, with your palms touching the floor, and arms aligning with your shoulders.
- Tighten your abs in and up as you lift your feet off the floor, resting the bottom leg on floor, and lowering the bent legs to your right side. If you feel uncomfortable in this pose, you can always use a folded blanket, yoga bolster, or a pillow under your bottom bent knee.
- Press both shoulders toward the floor as you turn your head to face right.
- Hold this position for 5 breaths.
- Return to the starting position while keeping your abs tight. Switch sides and repeat.
3) Warrior 2
This beginner yoga pose is imperative for improving your balance, as you tone muscles in your shoulders, buttocks, thighs, and hips.
- Begin by standing with your feet wider apart than the hip width, or as far as your body allows.
- Keeping your body facing forward and your heels in line, turn your right foot to point towards the right. Try to keep your left foot slightly inward or pointed forward, but it should be perpendicular to your right foot.
- Extend your arms at shoulder height to your sides, palms down. Keeping your abs tight, bend your right leg, keeping the torso upright and lowering the pelvis towards the floor, until your right ankle is directly beneath your right knee. To adjust the stretch, you can fiddle with the distance between your feet. The key is to relax your shoulders and keep your ankle directly beneath the bent knee.
- Turn your head towards the right, and hold this position for up to five breaths.
- Return to starting position, switch sides and repeat.
This yoga pose helps to alleviate backache, stretch the entire body, and strengthen ankles, knees, and thighs.
- Begin with your feet placed wider than your hip-width. Turn your left toes inward and your right toes out at a 45 degree angle. Turn your hips towards the right leg, while keeping your legs as straight as possible. Try to maintain length through your spine as you draw your torso to the right, as far as your flexibility affords.
- Extend your left arm above the shoulder in a straight line, and keep your right hand below the knee. Spin your left hip back and your right hip forward. To stretch your neck, try to gaze towards the floor.
- Hold this position for 10 yoga breaths. Return to starting position, switch sides, and repeat.
Benefits: This yoga position can open up your chest and shoulders, and is an excellent quad stretch.
- Begin by starting in the downward dog position, mentioned in the first pose, with your hands pressing towards the floor and tailbone pointing towards the ceiling.
- Lift your right leg up to hip level and swing it forward. Bend right knee and lower leg onto the mat.
- While keeping your feet flexed, try to get your shin as close to the front of the mat as you can. Keep your left leg straight. While falling over the right shin, rest forehead or hands on the mat.
- Hold the position for 10 breaths, switch sides, and repeat.
- Start with a straight-arm plank position, with your legs extended straight back and wrists under shoulders. Shift your hips up and back while keeping your hands in place.
- Draw your shoulders away from the ears, relax your head, and Point tailbone straight up to the ceiling. Press your chest towards your thighs and engage your core. Keep your hands spread apart.
- Hold this position for 10 yoga breaths, switch sides, and repeat.
Benefits: This yoga position releases muscles along the length of the spine.
- Arch your back, using your hands and knees, so that your chest opens in front of you and your belly drops towards the floor.
- To enhance the opening in your upper spine and chest, pull your shoulders gently back and inhale as you arch. In addition, to enhance the release in the muscles of your lower back, exhale while letting your back curve downward.
8) Cat Cow Stretch
This beginner yoga position boosts abdominal strength and enhances spinal flexibility.
- Start this pose on your knees and hands, aligning your knees underneath your hips and your wrists underneath your wrists.
- Your spine should be line an uninterrupted, straight line, connecting your hips with the shoulders. Try imagining a line materializing forward from the crown of your head, and joining with the line extending backward from your tail bone. This is the position of a neutral spine. Keep your neck stretched, as an extension of the spine.
- Curl your toes inward and tilt your pelvis back, making your tail bone stick up.
- While in this position, let a movement ripple, originating from your tailbone and travelling up your spine, so that your neck moves last.
- Draw your naval in and keep your abdominal muscles hugging your spine, when your belly drops towards the floor. Try to take your gaze up to the roof as far as possible without cranking your neck.
- Let the top of your feet rest on the floor. Tuck your tail bone back in by tipping your pelvis forward. This action moves your spine up and makes it naturally round. Let your head drop and draw in your naval towards the spine.
- Lower your gaze to your naval, while exhaling.
- Repeat the cat-cow stretch for each inhale and exhale, synchronizing the steps to the pace of your breath.
Continue this position for 5-10 breaths, and return to the neutral spine position.
9) Child’s Pose
This yoga position allows you to breathe in to your back and relax. This pose serves to stretch the ankles, thighs, and hips, and alleviate the neck and back pain.
- Sit upright on your heels. Bring your forehead to rest on the ground by rolling your torso forward.
- Extend your arms forward, in line with your shoulders, and try to bring your chest as close to the knees as possible. Hold this pose for 5-10 yoga breaths and breathe in to your torso. Exhale and release pose to get deeper into your fold.
10) Cobra Pose
This yoga pose opens up your spine and chest, and builds arm strength.
- Lie face down, with the tops of your feet on the ground and your legs expended almost 6 inches apart. Placing your palms under your shoulders, press down your hands, and try to life your upper and middle chest off the floor.
- Your arms should remain bent and your belly should stay to the ground. Squeeze your shoulder blades tightly together behind you and drop your shoulders away from the ears. Keep your lower back relaxed and your tailbone tucked in.
- For maximum efficiency, keep the back of your neck relaxed and long. As you open your chest forward with each inhale movement, gently pull your hands back toward you, and try to relax on each exhale.
11) Warrior 3
- Start in a lunge position, with your left foot back and leg straight, and your right foot forward with the knee bent. Try to put your torso in parallel with the ground by hinging forward at your hips and bring your torso close to parallel with the floor.
- Simultaneously, kick your left leg up to hip level, so that your body forms a straight line from the crown of the head to your toes.
- Place both hands at heart center, gaze a few inches in front of you, and draw belly button toward the spine.
- Hold this position for 10 yoga breaths, return to starting position, switch sides, and repeat.