Body Yoga Exercises

Yoga is a form of exercise that can range form gentle to intense. Various bodily positions called “poses” are held for a series of seconds. According to the Mayo Clinic, numerous benefits can be seen from yoga, such as stress reduction, increased fitness, management of chronic health conditions and weight loss. If you want to try yoga, you should familiarize yourself with several exercises. Hold each one for 45 to 60 seconds.

Downdog

A downward facing dog is a yoga pose that strengthens your upper body while stretching your hamstrings, calves and back. Known as adho mukha svanasana in sanskrit, the downdog is performed from a face-down position on the floor. After placing your toes hip-width apart and your hands shoulder-width apart, push your hips up in the air and shift your weight back onto your heels. Your body should now form an angle and your head should be between your arms.

Updog

The upward facing dog is the opposite of the downdog. This exercise is performed by placing your hands under your shoulders, placing the tops of your feet flat and hip-width apart, and pushing your upper body off the floor by fully extending your arms. When you get into this position, your thighs should be lifted so the only thing on the ground is your hands and feet. When you are in the final stage of this exercise, your back should be arched and you should be looking up at a slight angle in front of you. This exercise can help strengthen your wrists, arms and butt.

Chair Pose

The chair pose is an exercise that strengthens the thighs and stretches the upper body. It is performed by standing with your feet together, raising your arms directly above your head and lowering your body down as if you were sitting in a chair. When you get into this position, twist your wrists so your palms face each other and actively reach your hands skyward. Your main goal with this pose is to get your thighs parallel to the floor while maintaining a straight back and straight arms.

Bridge Pose

The bride pose is performed from a face-up position on the floor with your hands at your sides and your feet hip-width apart. After bringing your heels in close to your butt, you lift your hips up in the air by pressing into the floor with your hands and inner feet. When getting into this position, clasp your hands and try to get your thighs as high in the air as possible. This exercise stretches the chest and it can be help with lower back pain.

Plank Pose

The plank pose is a core exercise. The core muscles include your upper and lower abs, obliques and lower back muscles. Strengthening your core can translate to better balance and improved posture. The plank is performed by placing your hands on the ground shoulder-width apart and placing your feet hip-width apart. Once you get into this position, you push yourself off the floor until your arms are extended and you lift your hips up by contracting your core muscles. You hold the pose once you form a straight line from your shoulders to your heels.

About this Author

Kevin Rail has worked in the fitness industry since 2001 and has been writing since 2004. He has professional experience as a certified personal trainer, wellness coach, motivational engineer and freelance fitness writer. He currently writes a monthly column for Ron Jones High-Performance Health. Rail has a bachelor’s degree in sports management: fitness and wellness from California University of Pennsylvania.