Yoga is an important and easy tool that anybody can incorporate in to their daily routine. Here are five moves that you should do every day.
When asked to write an article about five yoga postures that people should practice every day I thought, “Wow, I can only pick five out of the hundreds of yoga postures out there, each with their own specific benefits? Not to mention, every person has such a unique body and mind with various needs and imbalances, how could I possibly pick just five poses that are the most beneficial for every human in the world?” As I sat and pondered the topic I began to slow down and remembered the true goal of yoga. The Yoga Sutras say “Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind.” We first need to still our bodies before we can still our minds. In fact, the word asana comes from the root ‘as’ which means ‘to sit.’ The purpose of different yoga asanas is to calm and prepare the body for sitting in meditation.
In this busy world our bodies accumulate all sorts of stress, energy, and fatigue throughout each day. These energies must be shifted or released in order for the individual to sit in meditation and begin the process of clearing the mind. It is when the mind is clear and steady that we are able to attain our highest potentials. Here I have carefully provided 5 asanas that work together to efficiently prepare the body for meditation. Anybody who spends 20 minutes with this practice (including 10 minutes in the seated meditation) will absolutely find benefit in one form or another.
1. Upward Salute (Urdhva Hastasana)
– Begin standing with your feet close
together but not touching. Inhale and reach your arms up to the sky, gazing upwards. Continue to ground down with the feet and reach tall with the fingers, lengthening the spine. The palms face one another and the back of the neck reaches long. Lengthen your tailbone towards the floor and pull your shoulders down your spine. This posture is excellent for digestion and creating length in the spine. It also decreases fatigue
2. Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)
– Fold Forward after the upward salute and plant
your hands on the floor (don’t be afraid to bend your knees!). Step back with your left foot and lower the left knee to the ground. Inhale as you lift up into the lunge and continue to stabilize with the front foot. Take your arms overhead palms facing each other and point your tailbone to the floor. Reach your chest open and notice the stretch down the front side of your left leg. Anjaneyasana is great for opening the hips.
3. Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
From low lunge step your back foot to the front and
lift your hips as high as you can with your belly resting on your thighs. Interlace your finger behind you and reach your knuckles to the sky to stretch the front of the shoulders. Forward folds are very centering. It calms the brain, relieves stress, stretches the hamstrings, and stimulates the liver and kidneys.
4. Seated Twist (Marichyasana III)
Repeat poses 1-3 alternating 3 times on each
side before coming into the seated twist. Sit on your bottom with your legs extended straight in front of you. You may want to sit on a blanket or bolster if your hips feel tight. Bend your right knee and bring the foot as close in towards your groin as possible. Flex the left foot so that the straight leg remains engaged. Twist to the right, taking your right fingertips to the floor behind you and wrapping the left hand around the outside of the right thigh. Inhale to lengthen the spine and exhale to twist deeper. Hold for 6 slow breaths then repeat on the other side. Twists are excellent for lower back pain, fatigue, and digestion.
5. Lotus (Padmasana)
This is our final seated meditation posture – the one we
have been preparing for with the last 4 poses. The ultimate, most stable meditation posture is the very well know lotus pose, in which the top of each foot is tucked over the inside of the opposite thigh while seated. However, for those who have not practiced yoga for a long period of time, this pose may be extremely difficult or uncomfortable. The point here is to be seated and be still. So whether it’s cross-legged or kneeling over a bolster, find what works best for you here and get comfortable. Try sitting for 10 minutes with the eyes shut and mediate on your breath as it rises and falls in the body.
So there you have it, 5 yoga poses that everyone should do every day. Give it a shot, practice this little sequence daily and learn to become the master of your mind.