Yoga is just a weird hobby for hippies without any real benefits, right? Wrong! Yoga has many proven advantages as a form of exercise, both physically and mentally. You may not be sweating — unless you’re doing Bikram yoga in a 100 F studio — but you’ll gain flexibility, balance, and mobility as well as a range of mental health benefits.
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Here are some poses BUCKiTDREAMERs can begin with below at home. Make sure you’re in comfortable workout clothes and a mat, warm up before you get started, and you’re good to go! If you’re feeling brave, don’t forget to capture your new hobby on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram — and even head to a class if the passion takes you!
Child’s Pose This is a nice easy one to get you set up. Kneel, and then sit back on your heels. You’ll feel a good stretch in your hamstrings even from doing this! Stretch out ahead of yourself, placing the palms of your hands flat on the floor. Your face should be nearly touching the floor, and your spine should be fully extended and stretched. Hold for as long as feels comfortable. Child’s Pose is a good one to go back to if you’re feeling worn out by a more difficult pose as it’s easy, stretching and calming.
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Downward Dog This is probably the most famous of all yoga poses. Downward Dog stretches your legs as well as your spine. Place your hands flat on the floor beside your feet. Place one leg behind you to make it straight, and then follow the other leg, with your feet hip-distance apart. Your legs and spine should be straight. and your body should be in an inverted-V shape.
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Cat/Cow Pose This one is good for stretching out your spine. Get on your hands and knees with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. For Cat Pose, hunch forward, moving your sight toward the floor and curving your back. Keep your hands and knees where they are. Cow Pose is the exact inverse. Arch your back, creating a dip, and face your sight to the ceiling. Hold these poses for about five seconds each, alternating for as long as feels comfortable. This set of poses is said to give you energy, so try it as soon as you wake up!
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Chair Pose This pose is slightly trickier, but it great for strengthening your core. Stand tall with your feet hip-distance apart. Bend your knees slowly until they are about halfway bent with your butt having moved slightly toward the floor. Slowly raise your straight arms toward the ceiling until they are beside your ears. Hold this pose for about a minute — or for as long as you can, but try to stay strong. It is a tricky one but great for strength!
Tree Pose Tree Pose might the position that you would assume if someone asked you to jump into a yoga pose. It’s a pose that encourages leg strength and balance. Stand tall and straight with your feet beside each other. Move your weight toward one foot. Carefully grab the other foot with its corresponding hand, meaning that you should hold your right leg with your right hand or vice versa. Bring your foot up, and place it at your groin with the sole of your foot flat against your thigh, toes pointing toward the floor. Raise your hands to your chest in a praying gesture or above your head, arms straightened if your balance is good. It helps to focus on one spot in the distance if you’re feeling a bit wobbly!
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Warrior I The Warrior poses are energizing and really stretch out your body. They vary in difficulty from I to III, and you can move through the series easily. Don’t push yourself to do something your body is not ready for, but this series is a great way to get energized through yoga. Warrior I is nice and simple to start. Start by standing up straight with your feet hip-distance apart. Step one leg back straight, with your front leg bent at the knee, but don’t let your knee to go over your toes. Place your back foot flat on the floor and turned 45 degrees from your body. Arch your back, and raise your arms to the ceiling, straightened and fingers pointing upward.
Warrior II From Warrior I, rotate the corresponding arm to your back leg straight out behind you while rotating your front arm ahead of you. You should now be in the same position with your legs but with your arms outstretched in front and behind of you. Face forward, and bend more into your front leg to increase the intensity of this pose.
Warrior III Warrior III is going to test your balance. From Warrior II, move back into Warrior I in one smooth movement. With your arms still above your head, bend forward while taking your back leg off the floor and straightening it. Your body should be a long, smooth line from your fingertips to the ends of the toes on your back foot with your grounded foot strong as your anchor. Hold for about a minute if you can.
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As you can see, yoga is a dynamic and varied form of exercise that will push you in ways that you may not have experienced with strength or cardio before. Along with the added meditative benefits, there’s no reason not to give it a go and tick another thing off your bucket list!