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Most Common Poses in the Yoga Practice

Updated on December 27, 2015

Yoga

Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word yuj which means “union”. It originated in India about 5,000 years ago and until now, yoga is still very much popular with health buffs and those who yearn to be in touch with their mind, body and soul. Yoga actually comes in several forms but in general, it focuses on postures, breathing techniques, meditation and flexibility. The most common practices in yoga are being taught today by certified yoga instructors and they can be easily performed in the gym or at home.

Who Can Practice Yoga?

You don’t really have to be a health fanatic or a strict vegetarian for you to enjoy the benefits of yoga. Everyone – young or old, male or female – can practice yoga. Yoga practitioners can expect greater flexibility, increased body-mind connection, improved coordination and balance, and relief from stress.

Different Styles of Yoga

As mentioned earlier, yoga comes in different forms, and of course, it also involved lots of different positions for you to perform. Below are some of the most common poses in the yoga practice.

Ashtanga

This is also known as power yoga. This is an intense and fast-paced style of yoga. This allows you to focus on constant movement while shifting from different poses to the next. This kind of yoga allows practitioners to work at their own preferred pace.

Bikram or Hot Yoga

This is done in an environment with a temperature of 95-100 degrees Fahrenheit. The heated environment is said to promote sweating that will help in loosening the tight muscles in the body which in turn would facilitate in cleansing the body from toxins.

Hatha

The word “hatha” is actually a general term for yoga because it covers a wide range of yoga positions and exercises.  Hatha include basic yoga poses (which can be easily performed by beginners).  These exercises can be done with a slow and gentle pace.

Iyengar

This kind of yoga may just be the most popular form of yoga in the United States.  With Iyengar yoga, the poses require to be held for a longer time that other yoga poses.  The purpose of holding the poses for a longer time is for the practitioners to be aware of the subtleties  of each posture.  It would also help practitioners pay more attention to their body alignment and musculoskeletal system.  Props are also needed for Iyengar yoga such as blankets, belts, blocks, etc. to cater to a variety of special needs and fitness levels.

Vinyasa

This includes more aggressive stretches which focus on sun salutations.  It also emphasizes the connection between movement and breathing.

A Deeper Look at Yoga Props

Yoga props can help yoga practitioners perform the exercises properly.  For beginners, yoga props can be a big help for them to execute the positions the right way.  Below are some common yoga props and a brief description on what they are used for.

  • Yoga mats: They provide a non-slip, thinly cushioned surface for yoga exercises.  They work best when placed on a smooth floor.  The sticky surface of yoga mats can be cleaned easily and they can also be rolled up for easy toting and storage.
  • Yoga bricks (or blocks): These allow practitioners to maintain a proper form, even if the flexibility and strength levels are already faltering.  Yoga blocks have a rectangular shape which allows them to be used at different heights, depending on the needs. 
  • Wedges: Yoga wedges come in triangular shapes, and they may look like door stops (just softer and wider).  These wedges provide additional support and can prevent practitioners from overstretching and straining their muscles.
  • Yoga belts (or straps):  These work great for those who are still newbies in yoga.  The belts help beginners to hold a pose longer and perform it in a better form.  The yoga belts can be used for one-legged standing poses and also for seated stretches.  Yoga straps also work well for flexibility training.

Margaret Chung JUST YOGA DVD- Airplane Pose

Beginning Yoga Poses : Yoga Child Pose

Basic Yoga Poses

Now that we have already discussed the common forms of yoga and numerous yoga props, we will now discuss the most common yoga poses and the benefits that one can get from them.  Generally, all of these can improve coordination, flexibility and muscular strength.

  1. Airplane pose: this stretches the hamstrings and strengthens the lower back.  You bend forward while slightly bending your torso and your outstretched arms can be considered as the wings of the airplane.
  2. Cow Pose or Camel Stretch: strengthens the chest and abs.  This yoga pose can be quite difficult for beginners to execute.  It requires you to kneel and then bend backwards as much as you can, until you reach the form of an arc.
  3. Cat Stretch: this pose will have you arching your back like a cat and this will stretch the muscles of the neck and back.
  4. Child pose: this yoga exercise works well if you want to stretch and exercise your thighs, hips, and ankles.  You have to bend your knees and bend towards the floor as if you are in a “worship” position.  Hold your ankles while bending so that you can bend fully.  This pose is also known to increase blood circulation.
  5. Dolphin pose: this yoga exercise strengthens the arms while stretching the calves and hamstrings.  This is another yoga pose that can be quite difficult for beginners.  However, it can be done properly with the help of yoga instructors.  This yoga pose requires you to do a semi-headstand but with your feet on the floor.

Add Yoga to Your Daily Lifestyle

Yoga has a lot of benefits that will not only make you feel good, but look good as well.  If you wish to become fit and healthy with the added benefits of sound mind and nourished soul, yoga is the perfect exercise for you.  Practicing yoga three days a week for 20 minutes is enough for you to bask in the rewards of yoga.

You can choose among the most common poses in the yoga practice according to your preferences.  You are the one who knows best which among the numerous yoga poses you can execute properly.

Yoga Books on Amazon

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