If you are someone who gets overwhelmed with the very many twists, turns and what seems like a complicated stretch in yoga poses- don’t sweat. We have you covered with the best and basic yoga stretches that can be benefitted by anyone attempting. Especially, if you lead a busy lifestyle leaving you couped up in a cabin or at home working during the pandemic, it is all the more reason for you to take that break for your mind and body.
Yoga: A discipline beyond Stretches
Contrary to popular belief, yoga is not just about the physical yoga stretches but goes beyond. It is an age-old mind and body practice that consists of a range of physical poses, breathing techniques and mindfulness that encourages strength, mobility, energy and an overall balance. The word Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit term Yuj, which means ‘to join’ or ‘to unite. In essence, it is a spiritual discipline with a delicate science that focuses on aligning the mind and body for optimal purpose. There are many benefits to practising yoga stretches daily:
- Doing specific yoga stretches for the back offers back pain relief that eases pain and improves mobility in people suffering from lower back pains.
- It improves overall strength, flexibility and balance by increasing blood flow through yoga stretches for the body.
- Scientific evidence shows that yoga stretches regularly supports stress management, mental health, weight management and quality sleep
- Yoga improves respiration, vitality and maintains energy levels
- It improves cardio and overall circulatory health
- It helps maintain a neutral metabolism
The 10 Best Yoga Stretches
The general image of yoga in the media is such that it can be overwhelming causing people to shy away from attempting basic yoga stretches for a start. Yoga can be practised anywhere, starting from the comfort of your own home to the vast beachy sands. Below are some of the best and common yoga stretches that can help you flow into a comfortable rhythm to benefit from. Before you start, it’s worth investing in loose-fitting, comfortable clothes that allow you to move freely. In addition, allocate a space that is specifically going to be used for your daily practice that is clutter-free, soothing and includes a basic yoga mat. You can also use yoga bands for yoga band stretches that make your yoga stretches safer and are handy.
Pose 1: Downward Dog Pose
One of the most common and yet the best yoga stretches to start with early morning is the downward dog pose. This yoga stretches for the lower back opens up shoulders, hamstrings and calves, releasing all pressure points that often go stiff when asleep. It is also an excellent pose to consider in yoga for upper body health as it strengthens shoulders and upper back. If you are an athlete, this is a pose practised by most in their routine of Yoga for Athletes that stretches their body from hands to legs.
Start by bending down on your hands and legs like a tabletop. Place your hands exactly beneath shoulders and knees parallel to hips. Take a deep breath and as you exhale, lift your knees, while pointing your bottom towards the ceiling. Place your heels on the floor and straighten your knees as much as possible. Push your fingertips and stretch your head between your arms.
Pose 2: Cat Pose
This yoga stretches for beginners poses focuses on the spine, back and neck. It also stimulates blood flow in the wrists while increasing spinal fluid circulation. The cow pose (next) doubled with cat pose form part of an excellent morning yoga stretches routine. Synchronise it with deep breaths and you will experience a calming effect.
Maintain the tabletop position and round your spine like a cat’s back. Push the heels of your hands away from your body as you stretch out. Inhale and fall into a cow pose while drawing in the heels of your hands. This upper back stretches yoga is best for your back and spine.
Pose 3: Cow Pose
The cow pose stretches out the upper torso area and throat. Stretch out your torso and throat when in the tabletop position while keeping your knees firm on the floor. The cat-cow pose together is the perfect Yoga for Spine routine and is considered the top pose for yoga spine stretches for everyone.
Pose 4: Standing forward Bending Pose
This pose is an all-rounder and perfect for yoga stretches for beginners as it’s simple to do. Stand tall and straight, with your feet aligned and looking straight. Push your chin into the chest and slowly start rolling down to touch your feet with your hands. Stretch out well and exhale mindfully. This is also part of yoga stretches for flexibility too.
Pose 5: Butterfly Pose
Anyone can do this one and it’s fun too! To obtain its optimal benefit, push yourself deeper in this yoga stretches pose. Sit on the floor with both the soles of your feet touching. Keep your back straight. Use your first two fingers to wrap around the big toe while pressing down your knees with your elbows. This pose features at the top in yoga stretches for legs and hips as it gently opens up the lower region.
Pose 6: Yogi Squat
Another pose in yoga stretches for hips, this pose is great for all beginners and advanced alike. It is an excellent pose in yoga for the lower body and yoga leg stretches as it creates a gentle yet deep stretch for the inner and outer hips. To do this pose, stand with feet hip-distance with toes facing outwards. Squat down and bring your hands in a ‘Namaste’ position to your heart.
Pose 7: Locust Pose
This yoga stretches for the back or yoga neck stretches pose is also great for the entire body. It improves mobility in the back while stimulating the digestive system. Lie down flat face down and raise your head to arch backwards Stretch the neck long while extending the head and toes. Keep both arms stretched out backwards.
Pose 8: Legs up the wall
The energizer of all yoga stretches poses, this pose releases pressure in the legs and helps blood circulation. It’s perfect to attempt this yoga leg stretches just before heading to bed. Lie flat and raise legs straight stretching out. For additional support, add a pillow below the butt. You can also try the yoga strap stretches.
Pose 9: Ear to Shoulder and Neck rolls
Relieve all stress tight around the neck and shoulders with this pose for yoga neck stretches or yoga shoulder stretches daily. Sit upright and relax your upper body, tuck your chin into your chest to stretch the spine out. Followed by gently rolling your head left and right till the ears touch your shoulders. Use one hand to push the head and the other hand to stretch the opposite shoulder in the other direction. These are the best yoga shoulder stretches to relieve pain.
Pose 10: Child’s Pose
Last but the most favourite of all yoga stretches for the back, this pose can even be used between poses to rest. Get into a tabletop position and touch your big toes together. Sit back on your heels as you place your torso on your thighs. Maintain your arms straight in front of you with palms facing the floor.
Don’t worry about setting time aside in the early mornings to do these poses. Some of these like yoga leg stretch or yoga stretches for the back can be practised even when you take a break from your laptop working. The key is consistency and doing these yoga stretches for flexibility, relaxation and strength.