4 Yoga poses to stay strong.

by Brian Koons

4 Yoga Poses to Stay Strong

Staying indoors for long periods of time isn't fun (We know), but it lends to the opportunity to do something new. So, why not try something new today? Here are 4 yoga poses that will help keep you strong and clear your mind.

Exercise and movement help to relieve stress and improve your health. Go ahead and give it a try, no one is looking. You can even do it in your underwear... just no Instagram photos, please ;) 

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Balasana or Child’s Pose:

A gentle resting pose that stretches the hips, thighs and legs while calming the mind and relieving tension. Start on your hands and knees and sink down keeping the tops of your feet on the floor and extend your arms forward. Allow your forehead to rest on the floor. With each exhale, try to sink down lower to flatten the curve from your back. Tip: To get a deeper stretch, just spread your knees wider.

Utkatasana or Chair Pose: 

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A standing asana that strengthens your legs and challenges your balance and posture.

Start in a standing position, raise your arms overhead as you inhale. Exhale as you bend your knees sitting into a low squat. Breathe deeply as you gaze ahead or slightly upwards. Hold the pose for as long as you are able then inhale as you straighten your legs and lift back up through your arms. Exhale and return to standing.

Tip: Do this pose with your tailbone just touching against a wall until you are comfortable balancing; keep all your weight in your heels instead of in the balls of your feet.   

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Virabhadrasana I or Warrior I Pose:

A strengthening and balancing pose that builds concentration and focus.

Start in a standing position then step or hop so your feet are about 4 feet apart. Lift your hands towards the sky. Keeping your left foot grounded, turn your right foot forward; imagine there is a line drawn from your right heel to the arch of your left foot to help keep you properly lined up. Turn your torso and pelvis to the right and bend your right leg into a 90 degree angle. As you bend your leg, continue to lift your arms upward to open the chest and create a slight bend in your back. You can keep your hands parallel to each other or you can press your palms together. Hold the pose while you sink lower into the lunge with each exhale.

To come out of the pose, straighten your right leg and turn your right foot back to center. Repeat the pose again on the other side!

Tip: Work on perfecting the foot/leg placements first by keeping your hands on your hips instead of raising them. Once you’ve mastered Warrior I, continue to Warrior II or III poses and have some fun with different variations!  

Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation:

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A vinyasa (flow) that combines multiple movements into a fluid sequence. Sun Salutation is one of the most common vinyasas and incorporates bends, planks, downward dog and upward facing dog to strengthen and align your entire body.

Start in Mountain pose, with your feet grounded and your hands by your side or at heart-center. Sweep your hands up and back then fold forward into a deep bend. On an inhale, lift your head up and step your feet back one at a time into a high plank.

(When you become more comfortable, you can also jump both feet back from the standing position into the high plank). From high plank, lower down like you are doing a pushup. From there, push up and slightly forward into upward facing dog. In up-dog, your back will be slightly arched and the tops of your feet will be resting on the mat. Your gaze should be forward or slightly upward.

From Up-dog, rock back on your feet while pushing down and back with your hands to move into Downward facing dog. In Down-dog, push your tailbone up and back while feeling the stretch through your hamstrings and shoulders and lengthening your spine. Keep yourself firmly grounded with the weight in your heels and your knees loose and/or slightly bent.

From Down-dog, step or jump your feet back forward then straighten your legs to fold into a deep bend again. On an inhale, straighten back to standing as you sweep your hands up and back. Lower your hands as your return back to the starting Mountain pose. Repeat again!

Tip: Each time you flow through this sequence, synchronize your breath with the movements of your body. Each inhale or exhale should have a corresponding movement associated with it.  

Namaste

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