Beneficial Yoga Poses to Try at Home
Yoga has been around for centuries. As an ancient form of exercise, yoga is used by many around the world to focus the breath, relieve stress, and move the body daily to boost health.
If you've never tried yoga, you may be a little intimidated by the complicated looking poses and the long Sanskrit words, but have no fear, we've rounded up a few really beneficial poses you can try at home to begin your own yoga journey.
Benefits of practising yoga
Yoga can be traced back 5,000 years to northern India and the Indus-Sarasvati civilization. Through many years of development and movement, yoga is now classified into a few different schools, including Hatha yoga, Ashtanga yoga and Yin yoga. While each is a different way of teaching and performing yoga and comes with its own benefits, yoga practice overall has many health benefits.
Daily yoga practice can benefit your body in a multitude of ways, including:
- Improving strength, balance and flexibility
- Can improve back pain and symptoms of arthritis
- Improves sleep, helping those with sleep disorders
- Reduces inflammation, contributing to good heart health and overall health
- Can help to soothe anxiety and relieve stress
- Promotes overall better self-care
How to begin a regular yoga practice
Now you know how great daily yoga practice is, you may be wondering how you can practice it yourself. Beginning daily yoga practice doesn't need to feel intimidating. You can sign up for a yoga class at your local gym or leisure centre, or you can look up tutorials online, on Youtube, and on social media. Some yoga teachers even do online classes that you can follow along with.
If you've decided to practice at home, you can research beneficial yoga poses that will suit your needs online, or take a look at some quick yoga routines online and copy the actions you see.
Yoga poses to try at home
So, you've decided to start a daily yoga practice and you're looking for some quick and simple, but also beneficial, poses to incorporate into your routine. Well, step onto your yoga mat and get ready to reduce stress, move your body, and feel energised by your practice.
Child's Pose, or balasana in the original Sanskrit, is a wonderfully soothing yoga pose. Known to relieve anxiety, reduce stress, and encourage digestion, as well as stretch the spine, thighs, and hips and increase blood flow, this is a pretty fantastic yoga pose to learn.
- Kneel on your yoga mat and rest your buttocks on your heels.
- Bow your body forwards into a forward fold, lowering your upper body onto your thighs.
- Stretch your arms out in front of you and rest your forehead on the mat.
- Remember to breathe properly as you hold the pose.
This pose is good to end a yoga routine with and helps to reduce the stress hormone, cortisol, for a soothing and relaxing practice. To make it even more relaxing, try diffusing some lavender oil into your space using this Oil Garden diffuser and lavender oil.
Aromatherapy oils are a really great way to energise your yoga practice, helping you to remain focused and healing your mind as you heal your body.
Downward facing dog
Downward facing dog, or Adho mukha svanasana is a restorative yoga pose used throughout nearly all yoga teachings and yoga classes. As part of the Sun Salutation, downward dog is an extremely beneficial pose. Its benefits include:
- Stretching the lower and upper body
- Stimulating blood flow
- Improving posture
- Start on all fours, aligning your inner shoulders with your index fingers. Your hips should be above your knees.
- Tuck your toes and then lift your knees until your body is in an upside-down V shape.
- Lengthen your spine, push your palms into the floor and pull your pelvis towards the ceiling.
You should feel a stretch in your legs, spine and shoulders as you perform this pose. Variations also exist, including lifting one leg at a time off the floor.
Upward facing dog
Upward facing dog or Urdvha mukha svanasana is another pose that is found in the Sun Salutation. It has a few modifications for beginners and comes with many benefits. Benefits include; opening the chest, stimulating the abdominal muscles, strengthening back muscles, stretching wrists and toning arms, and lengthening the spine.
- Begin lying face down and plant your palms alongside your abdomen.
- Push up, lift your head and upper chest and lengthen your arms.
- Push through the floor and lift kneecaps.
- Engage legs and calves as you lift the pelvis and the rest of the body off the floor.
- Roll shoulders back and engage arms.
This is a great pose to get into a regular yoga practice and can help the whole body. As it is an engaging and strengthening yoga exercise, you may want to cool down and relax after practising your downward-facing dog. You can do this with a cup of Yogi Tea Breathe Deep tea while practising relaxing breathing exercises.
Cat/cow stretches or marjaryasana/bitilasana are wonderfully restorative movements between two yoga poses that get the blood flowing and encourage deep breathing and focus. Perfect to relieve stress, cramps, and lower back pain, the cat-cow stretches also stretch the hips, back, abdomen, and chest.
- Begin in a tabletop position.
- Inhale and tilt the pelvis back, bending the back a little for the cow pose.
- Then exhale, and tuck the tailbone under for the cat pose.
The focus should be on breathing properly during these movements and you should move through as many as you can in one minute, while keeping focus.
As a restorative and soothing movement, the cat/cow is perfect for soothing aches. After practising this movement, you may want to relax in a restoring and soothing bath using salts, like these Byron Restore Bath Salts, with lavender, clary sage, and chamomile.
Warrior II or virabhadra is an engaging and opening yoga pose, perfect for beginners. Opening the hips and shoulders, strengthening the legs, abs, and arms, and stretching the inner thighs, groin and chest, Warrior II is a great, balancing pose to learn.
- Start in mountain pose with feet flat on the mat and gaze forward.
- Step back with the right foot while keeping the left foot in place. Turn the right foot slightly inward.
- Slowly bend the left knee while keeping the right knee straight. Your front knee should be above your front foot.
- Make sure to engage your back leg and raise your arms so that they are parallel to the floor.
- Keep arms, shoulders, chest, and neck in a line.
This pose helps you to find balance and stability. More advanced poses include Warrior III which can be worked up to by practising other poses, including Warrior II.
Other yoga poses to try out
The poses we have listed here are all easily learned at home. If you're struggling practising yoga alone then try out yoga classes in your area and find one that suits you. For a soothing and relaxing class, try a Yin or Hatha yoga class, and for a more advanced and rigorous workout, try Ashtanga classes.
If you're sticking with at-home workouts and you've mastered our first five poses, why not try out these incredible poses next.
- Tree Pose. Strengthening the legs and core muscles, and improving balance, the tree pose is a great pose to master.
- Triangle pose. For a pose that increases stability, reduces stress and stimulates your organs, look no further than the triangle pose.
- Bridge pose. For an all-around strengthening pose, the bridge pose is perfect. Engaging leg and core muscles and helping to calm stress, we thoroughly recommended learning this yoga pose.
- Plank pose. To improve the upper body and core strength, working the plank pose into your daily yoga practice is a must.
- Corpse pose. Usually performed at the end of a routine, the corpse pose is calming and relaxing and should end every yoga session.
The ancient practice of yoga is a hugely restorative practice and can improve your overall health and wellbeing exponentially. The few poses we have discussed in this blog are just the beginning. The world of yoga is far-reaching and comes with many health benefits.
Learning different poses, or attending classes, can help build your knowledge and your practice until you have found a daily routine that works for you. Find classes online and tutorials on social media and books full of knowledge and get moving your body!
Frequently asked questions
Which yoga poses should be done daily?
A daily yoga practice can really help to boost your health and focus your mind. Even a short session can help you to feel more relaxed and focused. There are a few poses that can really help to practice every day. These include:
- Warrior I, for stability
- Warrior II, for strength, balance, and openness
- Tree pose, for balance and strength
- Cat/cow stretches, for movement and energy
- Child's pose, for relaxation and reduction of stress
What are the top 5 yoga poses?
While there aren't any specific poses that suit everyone, there are some yoga poses that are beneficial to be incorporated into everyday practice, provided you don't have any physical limitations that stop you from being able to perform them.
- Child's pose. Wonderfully restorative and soothing and the perfect way to wind down a practice.
- Corpse pose. As above, this pose is a soothing and relaxing end to a yoga routine.
- Cat/cow stretches. Perfect to awaken the body and energise muscles.
- Warrior II. To engage muscles, focus, and balance.
- Downward-facing dog. To stretch the body and awaken your senses.
How do beginners do yoga at home?
Starting to practice yoga at home can be daunting but there are actually many ways you can begin. YouTube and social media are ripe with yoga teachers uploading routines, pose breakdowns, and other really helpful content to help you begin your own practice. You can also find many books which explain how to perform poses and how to include breathwork in your practice. If you find you cannot do yoga at home, you could always attend a class to learn the basics.
Which yoga should I do daily?
While there isn't a set rule on how much or which kind of yoga you should do daily, any form of movement is good for the body. Try a simple Sun Salutation in the morning to awaken the body, or opt for a deeper and more rigorous routine if you want to get your heart rate up and your blood pumping.