by: Victoria Simpson
Looking to re-decorate? Have you ever thought that you could probably re-carpet your house with the number of yoga mats that pass through the subway each day?
Yoga workouts abound by the thousands-and so do practitioners. From Madonna, to Gwyneth Paltrow to Matthew McConaughey.
If you find yourself a regular follower you may already have your favourite daily poses and know what works best for you. The beauty of the practice of yoga is that almost anyone can learn and re-learn it, even, according to legend, creatures of the sea.
What? Your local studio never mentioned fish?
Well, fine. Probably not everyone cares to know about how some gods were talking on some lonely island and how they started the whole downward dog frenzy into eternity.
Anyways, what follows are poses that are here to inspire you to try moves for the first time.
If you’ve already mastered all the basics, feel free to take some motivation and push through to that next level by trying something harder.
Sometimes it’s easy to get into a pattern and do the same few exercises over and over, but today’s the day to take some risk. Too hard? No way- even a limbless man can do it.
1) Crane Pose
This pose is great for strengthening the neck, wrists, and arms and increasing balance.
Kneel down and place the top of your head on the floor. Place your hands on the floor in front of your face, forming a triangle base with your head, arms bent. Lift your feet off the floor, and balance your knees on your arms above the elbows. Hold.
Crane Pose with Half Bent Legs Up
Do the pose above, and then try to lift both of your knees into the air. Balance on your head helping with your hands.
2) Supported Shoulder Stand
This pose strengthens your shoulders and abdominal area.
Lie on your back with your arms down at your sides. Lift your legs up in the air. Pushing your arms into the floor, raise your hips in the air, and your feet up and over your head, behind you. Bend your arms at the elbow and place your hands under you butt for support. Raise your feet to towards the ceiling.
Unsupported Shoulder Stand 1
To go to the next level, gain your balance holding this pose and raise one arm at a time to lie flat on the floor, extended above your head, next to each ear.
3) Downward Facing Dog
Sit on your heels on the floor and lower your head on to the mat. Stretch your arms in front of you and straighten your legs, pushing your butt into the air. Raise your hip bones and push your heels down.
Downward Facing Dog Leg Up
To go to the next step, lift your right leg into the air behind and above you.
4) Half Side Plank Pose on Right Hand
Lie face down on the floor and lift yourself off as if to do a push-up. Lower your right knee onto the mat. Rotate your torso, lifting your left hand up from the floor.
To go to the next level, straighten your knee, and push into the floor.
5) Upward Facing Dog
Lie face down on the floor. Stretch your legs back, with the tops of your feet on the floor. Bend your elbows and spread your palms on the floor beside your hips and push up.
Pigeon Pose On Left Foot Head Up
Do downward facing dog. Then, take your left leg and swing it forward and bend the knee. Sit down on the floor with the bent leg in front of you, the other leg stretched back. Sit tall.
6) Tree Pose Left Foot on Thigh
Stand tall. Bend your knee and grab your foot with the opposite hand. Lay your foot on the opposite leg. Join your hands at the chest level.
Twist yourself all over the place and call it done. JK.
Stand straight with your knees slightly bent. Lift your left foot and cross your left thigh over the right, hooking the top of the left foot behind the right leg. Stretch your arms out parallel to the floor. Bend your elbows. Put your right elbow over your left elbow and press your hands together.
7) Upward Plank Pose
Sit with your legs straight in front of you. Place your hands behind your back and press your palms down to the floor. Lift your pelvis to the ceiling opening your chest, looking upwards.
Upward Plank Pose with Left Leg Up
Do the pose above and raise your left leg in the air.
8) Bridge Pose
Lie on your back and bend your legs with your feet hip distance apart. Lift your hips into the air and grab your ankles or fold your hands together under your body.
Upward Bow Pose
Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor. Press your palms against the floor by your ears. Lift your pelvis into the air, putting the crown of your head on the mat. Move some of the weight onto your hands. Push up.
9) Half Boat Pose
Sit with your legs extended, on the floor. Lean back on your pelvic bones, lifting your feet off the ground. Bend your legs parallel to the floor, and extend your arms in front of you.
Both Big Toes Pose
Do # 9 and then extend your legs, and grab your toes.
10) Perfect Pose
Sit with your legs in front of you. Bend your left knee with your heel placed into your crotch. Bend your right knee and place it over your left heel. Sit tall and place your hands facing up on your knees.
Scale Pose Lotus Variation
Sit cross-legged on the floor. Place your palms next to your hips and contract your abdominal muscles, lifting your legs and butt off the floor.
Enjoy the workout!