4 Yoga Poses and How They Benefit Your Body
Yoga is a mindful practice that has multiple benefits for both body and mind. When you’re practicing yoga at home or have a pain in your body that needs some attention, it’s helpful to understand which pose to turn to. Learn more about certain poses to provide relieving benefits to different parts of the body and give your body what it needs.
1. Downward-Facing Dog
One of the most well-known yoga poses, downward-facing dog strengthens and stretches almost every muscle in the body. Start in a plank, then lift the hips and lengthen the tailbone. Your body will look like an inverted “V.” With your head positioned lower than your heart, downward dog improves the blood flow throughout your entire body, getting blood and oxygen to the brain, which helps relieve headaches and fatigue. Hanging in an inverted “V” takes some abdominal work; your abdomen is toned as you hold this pose, as well as the hands, wrists, legs and calves keeping your body in place. Downward-facing dog is the ultimate pose for when you need a good stretch throughout your whole body as well as an energy boost.
2. Forward Fold
The simple act of folding your body forward over your legs and touching your hands to the ground or grabbing onto your elbows provides unexpected benefits. As you fold forward, you’ll feel the stretch in your hamstrings, hips and calves, but what you won’t feel is the flushing of your liver, spleen and kidneys. This pose increases circulation to your inner organs, improving digestion and metabolism. This is also a satisfying stretch for the spine, increasing circulation and creating space between every vertebra.
3. Child’s Pose
Child’s pose is beloved in yoga practice and one you can always return to when you need to regroup. To go into child’s pose, kneel on the floor, sit on your heels, then separate your knees as wide as your hips, and lay your torso between your thighs while stretching your arms forward. Child’s pose is not only calming and restorative for the mind, but it also relieves tension in the neck, back, shoulders, chest and hips. It elongates the lower back, loosens tightness in the hips and helps digestion. Most of all, it reminds us that resting is a good thing!
4. Yoga Squat
While it’s a simple pose, the yoga squat provides several benefits. Start by standing with your feet slightly wider than your hips, then slowly lower until your hips are lower than your knees. Keep your back straight, bring your hands together and place your elbows on the inside of your knees. This pose helps stretch the groin and lower back. It also tones the belly and releases tension in the hips and the knees.