Yoga involves a full range of motion, which encourages your body to provide your joints and supportive tissues with the nutrients they need to remain healthy and strong.
Yoga is hardly a prissy activity, so don’t let those svelte women in cute leotards mislead you. You’re in for a demanding, athletically challenging workout here.”
Experts now believe certain yoga positions help prevent physical misalignment while helping to fend off mental stress, thus relieving migraine symptoms and minimizing migraine triggers. And there’s 7 yoga poses for the whole body:
Focus: Entire Body
Total Time: 30 to 60 seconds
Indications: respiratory illness, backache, anxiety, menstrual symptoms
Contraindications: low back injury, neck injury, migraines, insomnia
The camel is designed to strengthen the back muscles while stretching the entire front side of your body, including your abdomen, throat, chest, and groin. It’s also a great way to stretch your deep hip flexors and to improve your posture.
Experts believe the camel can offer relief for symptoms of respiratory illness, backaches, anxiety, and menstrual symptoms. Those who experience problems with blood pressure, who have ever had a low back or neck injury, have migraines, or experience sleeplessness should avoid this pose. At least consult with an experienced instructor before engaging in it.
- Begin by kneeling on the ground with your knees aligned with your hips and your thighs perpendicular to the ground. Slightly turn your thighs inward to make your hip points narrow and slightly tense your hips. Your outer hips should also remain soft. Press the fronts of your lower legs and the tops of your feet into the ground.
- Place your hands behind your abdomen with the bottoms of your palms right above your hips. Broaden the back of your pelvis with your hands and elongate it into your tailbone. Tense your tailbone into your pubis and press the fronts of your thighs behind you to prevent your groin from pushing forward. Breathe in and raise your heart by squeezing your shoulder blades back.
- Angle your body across the hardness of your shoulder blades and tailbone. Your head should remain raised, your chin pointed toward the top of your chest and your hands on your abdomen. Squeeze your thighs back until they are positioned perpendicularly and return your body to a neutral position and bring your free hand to your foot.
- Ensure that your lower ribs are not dramatically pointed toward the ceiling. Let your front ribs go and raise your front pelvis toward them. Move your lower back ribs away from your abdomen to help elongate your spine. Deeply press your palms into the soles of your feet and rotate your arms outward to turn the creases in your elbows forward. Avoid pushing your shoulder blades together as you do this. You can choose to lower your neck back or keep it neutral.
- Stay in this position for 30 to 60 seconds.
- To release yourself from this position, place your hands on the front of your hip points. Breathe in and raise your head and body through pushing down into your hip points. If you chose to put your neck back, raise it through your chest instead of your chin.
- Bend your knees and fold your thighs down onto your legs, then fold your torso forward and melt into your thighs, resting in child’s pose for a few breaths.
Focus: Whole Body
Total Time: N/A
Indications: sciatica, urinary disorder
Contraindications: sacroiliac problems, knee injury
The pigeon opens your hips while stretching your back, groin, thighs, and hip flexors.
- Begin on all fours. Inhale and extend your left leg straight back, pointing your toes. Exhale and lower your left knee, drawing it straight forward until it reaches your hands.
- Allow your right toes to slide straight back until your left thigh is atop the left foot. Lower your hips only as far as you are comfortable. To prevent your left thigh from rolling outward, you can place a folded blanket on the left side as a support.
- Press your fingertips down to raise your torso, with your chest open, and breathe deeply and slowly, feeling the right hip crease and all the way down your leg.
- Slowly walk your left foot slightly to the right.
- Bend your torso forward over your bent left leg, lowering it as far as is comfortable. Rest there, leaning your forehead on the ground or on a support block. Take a few breaths.
- To release yourself from this position, press your palms down to push your torso back up and then return to all fours.
- Repeat the pigeon, this time extending your right knee straight back.
Focus: Front Body
Total Time: 20 to 30 seconds
Indications: backaches, constipation, anxiety and respiratory illnesses
Contraindications: migraines, insomnia, blood pressure (high or low), neck injury, lower back injury
The bow stretches the entire front-side of your body while building strength in your back muscles. It can boost your posture and can stimulate your neck and abdominal organs. Experts believe the bow can offer relief for backaches, constipation, anxiety, and respiratory illnesses. Individuals with blood pressure problems, neck or lower back injuries, and those who experience migraines or sleeplessness should avoid it or consult with an experienced instructor before engaging in the bow.
- Begin by lying on your stomach with your hands to your side, palms up. Breathe out, bend your knees, and pull the soles of your feet as close to your rear as possible. Grasp your ankles while keeping your knees no wider apart than the width of your hips.
- Breathe in and raise the soles of your feet away from your rear while simultaneously raising your thighs off the ground. Your head and upper body will naturally rise off the ground as you do this. Push your tailbone into the ground and let your back muscles maintain their softness. As you raise your thighs and heels, squeeze your shoulder blades into your back to open up your chest and your heart. Stare straight ahead.
- Focus on breathing into your back, since it will be difficult to take breaths with your stomach between the ground and your body weight. Do not forget to breathe . Stay in this position for 20 to 30 seconds.
- To release yourself from this pose, breathe out as you lower both head and feet to the floor. Rest for several deep breaths
Focus: Whole Body
Total Time: 10 seconds, 3 repetitions
Indications: asthma, back problems, infertility; stimulate pituitary and thyroid
Contraindications: blood pressure (high or low), carpal tunnel, diarrhea, headache, heart problems
The wheel pose, also known as the upward bow, increases strength in the spine, hips, legs, abdomen, wrists, and arms while expanding your lungs and chest. It can stimulate your pituitary and thyroid glands while increasing your energy. It is used therapeutically to treat asthma, back problems, and infertility. Individuals with blood pressure problems, back injuries, carpal tunnel, diarrhea, headaches, or heart problems should avoid this pose or consult with an experienced instructor before engaging in it.
- Lie flat on the ground. Bend your knees and fold them close to your body so that your feet are near your hips. Fold your elbows and expand your palms next to your head, keeping your forearms perpendicular to the ground. Your fingers should be aimed at your shoulders.
- Press the insides of your feet on the ground, breathe out and push your tailbone into your hips as you tense and raise your hips off the ground. Make sure that your thighs and the insides of your feet stay parallel to each other. At this point, take a couple of breaths.
- Press your hands into the ground and your shoulder blades across your back to raise yourself up onto the top of your head. Take a couple more breaths while keeping your arms parallel to each other. While pressing your hands and feet into the ground, press your shoulder blades and tailbone across your back, breathe out, raise your head off the ground and straighten your arms.
- Rotate the tops of your thighs slightly inward and tense the outsides of your thighs. Slim your hip points and elongate your tailbone into the backs of your knees as you raise your pubis toward your stomach.
- Rotate your upper arms outward while shifting your weight onto the bottoms of your index fingers. Expand your shoulder blades and allow your head to dangle. Stay in this position for up to 10 seconds and repeat up to 10 times. Repeat this process three times to receive its full effect
The Intense Side Stretch
Focus: Hips, Hamstrings, Shoulders, Spine and Wrists
Total Time: 10-30 seconds
Indications: digestion, balance
Contraindications: back injury, high blood pressure
The Intense Side Stretch
The intense side stretch is a full-body pose that stretches both upper and lower extremities while focusing on building strength in your legs. It can stimulate your abdominal organs and improve digestion while helping to enhance your sense of balance. The intense side stretch is great to perform before doing twist poses or seated forward bends. If you have ever experienced a back injury or suffer from high blood pressure, you should only do a half bend, which will be explained below.
- Begin by standing in mountain pose. Stand tall and straight with your feet separated enough to feel stable. Establish a solid connection with the ground by shifting your weight distribution so that it is equally divided between the base of your big toes, the base of your little toes, and both left and right sides of your heels.
- Breathe out and step forward three feet with your right leg, keeping your hands on your hips. Place your feet parallel to each other. Tense your thighs and rotate your right thigh outward until the middle of your kneecap is aligned with your ankle.
- Breathe out and twist your body to the right, matching your pelvis as closely as you can with the front of your mat. Press your left groin into the ground to anchor your back heel to the ground. Visualize yourself squeezing a pillow between your thighs to push them inward. Tense your shoulder blades across your back, elongate your tailbone into the ground and slightly arch your upper back.
- Breathe out and angle your torso forward over your right leg, bending from your hip until your head is pointing toward the ground. Place the tips of your fingers on either side of your right foot. If you cannot reach the ground you can use the aid of a chair or yoga blocks. Press your thighs behind you and elongate your body ahead, raising it through the top of your chest.
- Note: If you suffer from back problems or high blood pressure, you should do only a half bend in front of a wall to help support your body. Breathe out and lower your torso toward the ground, but place your hands on a wall and press into it with your palms to help keep the front of your body longer than your back.
- While in this position, make sure you soften the hip under your front leg, away from your shoulder, to avoid making your body uneven. The bottom of your big toe and your inner heel on your front foot should be planted solidly into the ground. Then you can raise the inner hip of your front leg into your pelvis to deepen the pose.
- If you’re flexible enough, you can bring your body closer to your thigh.
- You can remain in this position for up to 30 seconds.
- To release yourself from this pose, breathe in, press your body up through your back heel while moving your tailbone down into your pelvis and then stepping to your left.
Focus: Entire Body
Total Time: 3 minutes
Indications: menopause symptoms, menstrual pain, digestion, fatigue, headaches, high blood pressure, insomnia, asthma, sinus problems, back pain
Contraindications: carpal tunnel syndrome, late-term pregnancy
The downward-facing dog is one of the most well known yoga poses. It is great for your whole body, with special benefits to your shoulders, hands, lower legs and arches. This pose can stretch your legs and arms and is great for energizing you all over.
For women, the downward dog can relieve menopause symptoms and menstrual pain. Regular performance can help prevent the onset of osteoporosis and may help improve digestion. It can also aid in relieving pain from fatigue, headaches, high blood pressure, insomnia, asthma, sinus problems and back pain. The downward-facing dog is great as a preface to standing poses.
If you suffer from carpel tunnel syndrome then you should avoid this pose or consult with an experienced instructor before engaging in it. Similarly, women with a late-term pregnancy should avoid this pose.
- Begin on your hands and knees. Keep your knees aligned with your hips and your hands slightly in front of your shoulders. Spread your fingers and curl your toes.
- Breathe out and begin to raise your knees off the ground. Keep your knees bent a little bit and raise the soles of your feet away from the ground. Elongate your tailbone toward your pubis. Raise your sitting bones up and draw your inner legs toward your groin through your ankles.
- Breathe out while pushing the tops of your thighs back and push the soles of your feet toward the ground. Keep your knees straight but avoid locking them. Keep the outsides of your thighs firm and slightly turn your upper thighs inward.
- Keep your outer arms firm as you press your index fingers into the ground to raise your inner arms through your shoulders. Firm your shoulder blades before widening and drawing them toward your tailbone. Keep your head firm between your upper arms.
- Stay in this position for one to three minutes. Breathe out, bend your knees toward the ground and fold your upper body over your legs in the child’s pose.
The Half Frog
Focus: Entire body
Total Time: 30 seconds to 2 minutes
Indications: stimulate abdominal organs
Contraindications: neck, shoulder, or lower back injury; blood pressure (high or low), insomnia, migraines
The Half Frog
The half frog builds strength in your back muscles while simultaneously stretching your thighs, ankles, groin, chest, hip flexors, abdomen and throat. It can enhance your posture and stimulate your abdominal organs. If you experience blood pressure problems, insomnia, migraines or neck, shoulder or lower back injuries, you should avoid this pose or consult with an experienced instructor before engaging in the half frog.
- Begin by lying on your stomach. Push your forearms into the ground and raise your head and upper body. Bend your right leg until your heel reaches your right hip. While holding your torso up with your left arm, extend your right hand back and grasp your foot or ankle. Slowly turn your elbow toward the sky as you allow your hand to glide over your foot until you can curl your fingers over your toes.
- Begin pushing your foot toward your hip while keeping your hip and knee aligned.
- Stay in this position for several full breaths, then release your leg and lower your body until you are completely prone on the ground. Breathe.
- Repeat the process, this time bending your left leg