Pose #1 – Bridge Pose
Bridge Pose – Lie flat on your back and bend your knees so that your feet are hip-distance apart and about 10 inches from your pelvis. Keep your arms and bent legs in a straight line, palms facing down. Using your abs and legs, slowly lift your back off the floor. Lightly roll your shoulder blades to the floor. Move your chin up and away from your chest and try to move your sternum toward your chin. Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Benefits: Builds core and lower body strength, energizes the body and lengthens the spine. Bridge Pose improves digestion, calms the brain and alleviates stress, anxiety and fatigue. Tips: To deepen the stretch, ease your heels off the floor and push your tailbone closer to the pelvis.
Pose #2 – Bow Pose
Bow Pose – Lie on your stomach with your arms along your torso, palms up. Keeping your legs in line with your hips, bend your knees and hold your ankles. Inhale and lift your stomach and chest while stretching your legs up and back. Focus on your breathe and body position, you should look like a bow. Hold for 15-30 seconds. Benefits: Tones the back, abs, arms and legs as well as stimulates digestive and reproductive muscles. Your chest, shoulders and back will open up and become more flexible. Tips: To makes this pose harder, do it while your knees, thighs and feet are touching.
Pose #3 – Wind Releasing Pose
Wind Releasing Pose – Start by lying on your back, feet and arms together. Take a deep breathe. As you’re exhaling, pull your right knee toward your chest with your hands and try to keep your thigh as close to your abdomen as possible. Take another deep breathe and exhale while you lift your head and chest toward your knee. Try to touch your knee with your chin and hold for 5 breathes. On each exhale you should slightly tighten your grip around your knees. Repeat this process with your left knee. Benefits: Stimulates blood circulation and tones the legs and arm muscles. It also helps digestion and strengthen the abdomen muscles. Tips: Try not to let your back off the ground and keep your extended leg as straight as possible.
Pose #4 – Half Lord of the Fishes Pose
Half Lord of the Fishes Pose – Sit up straight with your legs together in front of you. Bend your knees and slide your left foot under your right knee to be beside the outside of your right hip, letting your leg lie on the floor. Move your right foot over the left knee so the right knee is bent over the left. Put your left hand on your right foot and move your right hand behind your back. Twist your waist, shoulders and neck to the right and glance over your right shoulder. Hold for 5 breathes and repeat with the other side. Benefits: Stimulates digestion and metabolism as well as relieves fatigue, back pain and sciatica. It stretches the shoulders, hips, neck and spine. Tips: Remember to extend your spine, you’ll improve the stretch and better work the lower back muscles.
Pose #5 – Boat Pose
Boat Pose – Start by sitting with your knees bent and together in front of you. Hold the back of your things or knee and extend your spine, creating space. Slightly lean back find a focus points. As you breathe in, lift your feet a few inches and align your weight evenly among your sit bones. Slowly lift your heels to be the same height as your knees and feel the stretch in your lower back. If you’re comfortable, steadily release your arms from around your knees and reach them out in front of you, keeping an open chest and shoulders. Hold for 5 breathes and exit by lowering your feet on an exhale. Benefits: Strengthens the abdomen, spine and hips as well as stimulates digestion. Your mind will also be happy, as this pose also helps to build concentration, focus and stamina. Tips: Remember to make your hips share the weight of the work, your lower abdomen should never be hard from too much exertion.
Pose #6 – Cobra Pose
Cobra Pose – Lie on your belly with your toes and forehead resting on the floor. Legs together, place your hands under your shoulders. Keep your pelvis on the floor and inhale while steadily lifting your abdomen, chest, neck and head. Pull your chest and shoulders up and back with the help of your hands. If your shoulders are relaxed, try to straighten your arms by slightly bending your back. Hold for 5 breathes. Benefits: Strengthens the arms and shoulders as well firms and tones the abdomen. Tips: Don’t overdue the bend in your back, you’ll put unnecessary stress on the spine. If you need to find a good height, take your hands off the floor for a moment and see how far your back can extend on its own.
Pose #7 – Warrior II
Warrior II – Start in mountain pose and slightly step apart so that your feet are roughly 4 feet apart. Raise your arms so that they are in line with your legs and parallel to the floor. Turn your left foot to the left by about 90 degrees and turn your right foot slightly to the right. Making sure your heels are aligned, reach out with your left leg so that the knee is centered above the ankle. Stretch your arms out as far as you can and open your shoulders. Look to your left, keeping your head in line with the left arm. Hold for 30 seconds. Benefits: Opens the chest while stretching the hips, groin and shoulders. Improves circulation, respiration and energizes the body. Tips: By turning your palms and inner elbows toward the ceiling and then reverting them back to their original positions you’ll be able to deepen the stretch and build strength in the arms.
Pose #8 – Chair Pose
Chair Pose – Stand up straight with your legs together. Raise your arms high above your head and almost connect palms. Bend your knees as much as you can while keeping your heels on the floor and arch your back slightly. Benefits: Chair pose tones the leg muscles and strengthens the hip flexors, ankles, calves, back and abdomen. Your chest and shoulders will feel a nice stretch and release of tension. Tips: It always helps for beginners to perform this pose near a wall. Bend into chair pose and let your back receive a little support from the wall until you’re comfortable enough to be independent.
Pose #9 – Eagle Pose
Eagle Pose – With your feet hip-width apart, stand in Mountain Pose. Make sure your spine is stretched and your stance is tall. Slightly bend your knees and shift your weight to your left leg. Inhale and cross your right knee over your left thigh. Focus on balancing on your left leg and keeping a slight bend in the knee. In order to properly engage your thighs and calves, it’s important that you evenly distribute the weight on your left foot. If you’re comfortable, wrap your right foot around your lower left calf. Raise your arms in front of you so that they’re parallel with the floor. Bend your elbows at 90 degrees and let your arms cross until your palms come together. Hold for 5 breathes and slowly unwind. Benefits: Stronger hips, thighs, ankles and calves. Eagle pose opens your shoulders and helps build balance, focus and concentration. Tips: If you’re having difficulty crossing your arms until your palms touch, straighten your arms and try wrapping them around each other before bending.
Pose #10 – Mountain Pose
Mountain Pose – Stand straight up with your legs together or slightly parallel to each other, stretching your body. Open up your back and straighten your shoulders. Extend your spine from the top of your head to your tailbone. Lift your arms from your sides until they are in line with the rest of your body and continue to stretch. Benefits: Improves posture and firms the abdomen and glutes as well as strengthens the ankles, knees and thighs. Tips: Your balance can be enhanced in this pose by moving your feet so that they’re slightly wider than your hips. It may seem basic, but you should take the time to fully focus and take control of your breathe in this pose.
Pose #11 – Warrior I
Warrior I – Start in mountain pose and slightly step apart so that your feet are roughly 4 feet apart. Raise your arms perpendicular to the floor and parallel to each other. Turn your left foot toward the right by 45 to 60 degrees. Turn your right foot to the right by about 90 degrees. Alight both of your heels and rotate your torso to the right. Bend your right knee over the right ankle so that your thigh is almost parallel to the floor. Reach your arms together and point toward the sky. Benefits: Builds core power in the rotation of the leg and when squaring up the hips. Your feet, hamstrings, quadriceps and glutes will become stronger at the same time. Tips: Avoid tipping the pelvis forward when you’re bending the front knee into the pose and be sure to extend your spine so you can get the most out of the stretch.
Pose #12 – Down-Dog Pose
Down-Dog – Sit on your heels. Lower your head and stretch your arms forward. Lift the butt into table pose so that only your hands, knees and toes are touching the mat. Press against the mat with your hands and straighten your legs. Let your head hang freely and stretch your legs and waist. Benefits: Down-Dog energizes the body and strengthens the arms, abdomen and legs. Your hands, shoulders, calves and hamstrings will stretch and expand. Tips: You might have trouble opening your shoulders in Down-Dog. If this is the case for you, try using a set of blocks or a small prop to raise your hands off the floor.
Pose #13 – Side Angle Pose
Side Angle Pose – Start in mountain pose. Step right with your right foot and rotate it 90 degrees to the outside. Rotate your left foot 15 degrees to the right. Bend your right knee 90 degrees. Palms up, lift your arms to their sides. Bend at the torso to the right and make sure your right side faces your right thigh. Stretch your left arm up as high as it can go and your right arm as low as possible. Look toward the side wall. Benefits: Improves stamina while strengthening the ankles, calves and knees. It tones your stomach and abdomen and gives a deep stretch to the groin and hamstrings. Tips: Try to keep your back heel on the floor as you bend your front knee. If you’re having difficulty touching the floor with your extended hand, you can either use a block under your bent knee to assist your hand or you can rest your elbow on your thigh.
Pose #14 – Headstand
Headstand – Start by moving into table top position. Plant your elbows, forearms and head on the mat. Your elbows should be under your shoulders and your fingers should be interlocked, but keep your palms apart. The back of your head should be against the inner palms. Move your legs up the mat to move into the half-way position. Your body should be in a straight line from the head to the hips. Begin to put the weight of your body on your arms and wrists, carefully avoiding putting strain on your neck and back. Use your thighs, hips and abdomen to kick your legs up and hold the stand. Benefits: This pose may be difficult, but it’s worth it. It builds core muscles and strengthens the shoulders and arms all while increasing focus and decreasing stress. Tips: Your breathing patterns are going to be a key element to success in this pose. Focus on breathing naturally and take deep, calm breathes to keep your body steady and composed.
Pose #15 – Half Moon Pose
Half Moon Pose – Start in a lunge with the left foot forward, take a deep breathe and lean forward toward the left leg, placing your hands on the floor. Keeping it straight, lift your right leg behind you and try to make it parallel with the floor. Straighten your left leg. Lift your right arm toward the sky, perpendicular to the floor. Really open up your hips and shoulders so they’re facing the side wall. Look up at the sky. Benefits: Builds strength in the ankles, thighs, glutes and abdomen. It also improves balance and builds focus and concentration. Tips: If you have difficulty touching the floor with your lower hand use a block to gradually ease yourself toward the floor.