One of the greatest things about yoga is that you can do it with virtually no equipment (although a mat is helpful) and just about anywhere — including at home, at a studio or gym, or in a park, beach, or hotel room.
There are countless reasons to begin a yoga practice if you don’t already have one, such as improving strength, flexibility, range of motion, and building mind and body awareness. You can see why yoga is one of the oldest and most versatile forms of exercise there is.
5 Yoga Poses To Do Everyday At Home
When performing the yoga poses below, keep in mind that yoga is all about linking movement with breath. Focus on taking steady controlled breaths even when holding difficult poses or “flowing” from one pose to another. Purposefully breathe in through your nose, filling your lungs, and then exhale slowly through your nose.
1. Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
If you’ve ever taken a vinyasa-style yoga class, you’re probably familiar with “sun salutations,” which describes a series of postures that together are intended to warm up, strengthen, and align the entire body.
“Downdog” is often the position in which you’ll start and finish sun salutations. It’s a forward-bending pose in which your body creates an upside-down “V” shape while your hands and feet stay touching the floor.
Downdog is beneficial because it stretches your back and leg muscles, relieves tension in your neck and head and helps make your shoulders and core stronger. While it engages many different parts of your body and isn't necessarily easy, it also releases stress and can be relaxing to hold and breathe into.
To do down dog pose:
Start in a plank pose and then push into your hands and lift your hips up and back to form a V shape.
Relax your neck and head and keep spreading your hands as you push away the floor, keeping your shoulders engaged, back bending
Your legs should be as straight as you can make them, with your heels working toward the floor (even though they won't touch).
Try alternating bending your knees and "pedaling" your foot to loosen up your hamstrings.
Try holding for 5 to 10 breaths.
2. Cobra (or Bhujangasana)
Cobra (or the more difficult version called Upward Facing Dog) is another pose that's included in sun salutations. As a beginner "back bending" pose, this pose is all about stretching your chest, engaging your shoulders, and strengthening your lower back.
To do cobra pose:
You can either start in a plank pose and then lower yourself onto the ground or start by laying on your stomach.
With your chin lifted and chest open, place your hands right below your shoulders, with elbows pointing straight back. Press your hands into the floor to engage your arms and lift your chest away from the ground.
Keep your legs close together and press the tops of your feet into the ground. Keep reaching your chest and torso forward as you gently bend your lower back. If possible, lift your belly off of the floor.
Try holding for 1 to 3 breaths.
3. Warrior 2 (or Virabhadrasana II)
This standing pose engages just about every part of your body — including your legs, arms, shoulders, core, and back. It's a great pose to hold for an increasing length of time as you work on building more strength in your thighs.
It also helps to stretch your groin and targets your obliques, the muscles along the sides of your core.
To do warrior 2 pose:
Your front leg will be in a lunge position. Start by facing the side of your mat and stepping your front foot forward, then bending your front knee so it's directly over your front foot.
Spin your back heel so your toes point out diagonally at a 45-degree angle. Keep your heels down on the ground. Your pelvis should be pointing to the side.
Open your arms straight out at shoulder height, parallel to the floor. Try holding for 5 to 10 breaths.
4. Boat (or Navasana)
Boat pose is one of the best for building core strength and targeting your abdominal muscles.
Additionally, boat pose helps improve flexibility in your hip flexors and even assists in improving balance, since it gets your core accustomed to stabilizing you as you balance on your sitting bones.
To do boat pose:
Start by sitting on the ground with your knees bent. Keep your legs close together and lean back slightly as you lift your feet off the floor and engage your abs.
Sitting on your two sitting bones and tailbone, keep your legs and feet lifted.
Try to keep your back from rounding, working on lengthening your spine.
You can either keep your legs bent or straighten them to make the pose more challenging. You can also lift your arms and reach for your knees or toes.
Keep breathing for about 5 to 10 breaths with your legs held in the air.
5. Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
Bridge pose is a beginner backbend that strengthens the back, glutes, and hips. It also engages the shoulders and chest and is great for stretching the back and strengthening the muscles around the spine.
Backbends such as bridges are excellent for counteracting the effects of prolonged sitting, in which the back is rounded forward. Something else unique about this pose is that it's considered to be both energizing and relaxing at the same time, which is why it's typically done towards the end of a yoga class.
To do bridge pose:
Lay on the floor and bend your knees with your feet on the floor. Place a blanket under your hips if this is uncomfortable.
Press your feet and arms into the floor as you push your tailbone upward, lifting the buttocks off the floor while you squeeze your core muscles.
Keep your thighs and feet parallel, with feet below your knees.
If possible, clasp your hands below your pelvis to stretch your shoulders.
Most yoga classes end with savasana pose (also called the corpse pose), in which you lay flat on your back and breathe while relaxing your entire body for about 5 to 15 minutes. Savasana is essentially a meditation that concludes your practice and helps you absorb the calmness that yoga can help you feel.