My Top 10 Yoga Poses

Yoga is something I love to do for my overall health and well being. It is a great form of exercise, and it is also very calming for the mind. Yoga increases strength and flexibility, and it can even be an effective way to lose weight and tone up. Here are my top ten favorite yoga poses to do, in no particular order! Try including them in your yoga routine and see what you think.

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1) Pigeon Pose

Pigeon pose is a wonderful hip opening stretch. I like to do a backbend in this pose for an even deeper stretch. A forward bend can also be done, and this is very relaxing. I will sit in a forward bend in pigeon pose for a great stretch after a tough workout. I find this pose to be very soothing, and afterwards my body feels completely loose and limber. If you have trouble opening your hip, feel free to make modifications, or you can try doing bound angle pose instead to increase flexibility in your hips. Don't worry if you can't get this more advanced pose right away!

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2) Triangle Pose

When I first started practicing yoga, I hated triangle pose! It was very challenging for me. Now I love it! It is a great pose for strengthening and stretching the legs. It also really opens your chest. Triangle pose can be done with a few different modifications, such as using blocks for an easier pose or with bound arms for a greater challenge. It is really versatile for any yoga practitioner, and suitable for beginners as well.

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3) Bound Angle Pose

This pose is another great pose for the hips. I find that sitting in this pose is not only relaxing, it also helps me to improve my posture. If you are not flexible and are having trouble with other hip-based poses like Pigeon Pose, try sitting in Bound Angle Pose for a few minutes each day to stretch out your hips slowly. I sit in Bound Angle Pose daily while reading or checking my email on the laptop in order to keep my hips flexible. It's also a great pose for meditating.

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4) Warrior II

Warrior II always makes me feel so confident. It is a very strong and empowering pose. I like this pose because you can really feel the effects in your entire physical and emotional being. It's also great for improving your leg strength, and your arms will get a workout too.

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5) Upward Facing Dog

This is a great, gentle backbend, and it is probably my favorite part of Sun Salutations! I love feeling my chest open up to greet the day in this pose. If you are having trouble doing Upward Facing Dog, try starting with a gentler backbend like Cobra.

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6) Tree Pose

This pose is so grounding for me. If I am feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I take a minute to focus in tree pose. It helps me reconnect with my body and mind. This pose is great for helping improve balance. If you have trouble balancing at first, don't be afraid to use a chair or other support.

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7) Garland Pose

Garland pose is another grounding pose. I love the way it stretches and strengthens my legs. It can be a challenging pose, which is sometimes good if you want to push yourself! Don't feel like you have to hold this pose forever - it takes time to stretch your body appropriately. Just a little each day will show a big improvement!

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8) Camel Pose

This is a great backbend that has the potential for extreme emotional release. I love to do this pose to deal with emotions head on. It feels great on my back, too. This is an intense backbend, so you should only try it if you are familiar with yoga and your back is already pretty flexible.

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9) Child's Pose

Child's Pose is super restorative. I love to do this pose right before bed, and right after I wake up. It is a whole body stretch that relaxes your mind and helps you get ready for your next task, whatever that may be. This is a very easy pose, so anyone can give it a try to benefit from the soothing stretch.

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10) Dancer's Pose

This is the most challenging pose on the list for me! I love working on this pose. It takes a lot of concentration to try and balance. When I'm in this pose, all I can focus on is my body and how I can stay balanced.

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