an excellent form of exercise that carries with it many immediate and long-term physical benefits from improved flexibility to stronger muscles. If your morning yoga sequence is getting boring, adding some tricky variations below to make it more challenging and fascinating.
Try Triangle Pose to regain your sense of balance. A deep stretch for the hamstrings, groins, and hips, Triangle Pose also opens the chest and shoulders. It helps relieves lower back pain, stress, and sluggish digestion. This Yoga pose is more than just a normal stretch; Triangle Pose improves overall balance and stability, both physically and mentally, as well as increases body confidence and courage, creating poise and grace both on and off the mat.
START: Stand tall, turn to the left and extend your arms sideways to shoulder-height, palms facing down. Step your feet as wide apart as your wrists. Turn your right foot outward 90 degrees so your toes point to the top of your mat. Bend your right knee until your right thigh is parallel to the floor. Keep your right knee directly over your heel. Turn in your left toes slightly and align the heel of your right foot with the arch of your left foot.
FINISH: Lower your right arm to rest your fingertips on the mat. Place your right shoulder as low as you can against your right inner thigh. Lift your right hand from the floor and reach your arm back beneath your right hamstring. Extend your left arm straight up toward the ceiling. Then, bend your elbow and bring your left arm behind you. The top of your left forearm should rest on your back. Clasp your left wrist with your right hand. Turn your head to look up at the ceiling. Keep your throat soft and your breathing smooth. Hold for up to one minute then release the pose. Keep practice on the other side.
ARCHING THREE-LEGGED DOG
This variation of Three-Legged Dog involves bending the knee of your top leg, increasing the flexibility in your hip flexors, spine, and hamstrings.
START: Get into Downward Facing Dog with both hands on the floor and step the left foot back until your legs get full stretch. Press firmly into your hands and roll your upper arms outwards. Lengthen up through your torso and keep your abdominals engaged.
FINISH: Keeping the left heel on the mat, raise your right leg in the air coming into Three-Legged Dog, and then bend the knee. Actively squeeze your right heel in toward your hip, lifting the knee high. Lift your head up, and turn to look over your left shoulder, arching the spine. Think about drawing your head and foot toward each other (if your spine is extremely flexible, your foot and head will touch). Hold here for five breaths, keeping the belly still and breathing into the chest.
BOWED HALF MOON
Bowed Half Moon pose is a combination of muscle awareness, regulated breathing and an unwavering gaze, helps to energize the body and rejuvenate the mind. Regularly practice this yoga pose can help strengthens your ankles, calves, hamstrings, thighs, spine, wrists, arms and shoulders.
START: Stand in a supported warrior III position on your right leg with both hands on the ground. Keep your right fingertips on the ground, or a block, underneath your right shoulder. Open your left hip on top of your right, and open your torso toward your left. Extend your left arm straight up and look up at your left fingers. The body weight is supported on one leg while the bottom hand has very little weight on it but is used perceptively to maintain balance. The upper torso is rotated open to the sky. Energy is extended actively through the flexed toes to keep the raised leg strong.
FINISH: Bend your left knee, and take a hold of your left foot with your left hand, lightly pressing your foot into your hand to open your back, keeping your knee in line with your hip. Lean back and open your chest. Stay here for at least three deep breaths, and then repeat on the other side.
Elephant’s Trunk Yoga Pose is a unique arm balance that stabilizes the pelvic girdle while opening your hips, improving balance and coordination. This arm balance pose also develops strength in the wrists, arms, shoulders, and abdominal.
START: Sit in Dandasana, Seated Staff Pose. Draw your right knee into your chest. Place your right foot on the ground. Tiptoe your right foot out to your right. Thread your right arm underneath your right knee and place your hand on the ground with the fingers pointing forward. Place your left hand on the ground outside your left hip on an equal plane with your right.
FINISH: Walk your right leg up your right arm until the crease of your knee comes to rest on your right triceps. Hug your leg into your arm and your arm into your leg. Keep the right knee bent and the right foot pointed. Press into your hands to lift your hips and left leg off the ground. Point both feet. Hold for 5 seconds. To exit, sit down on an exhalation. Repeat on the opposite side.
WILD THING POSE
Strong and poised like a ballerina, Wild Thing Pose is an advanced version of Extended Tabletop. It is an exuberant celebration and representation of the dynamic ways our body can move. This pose allows you to open your chest, deepen your spinal stretch, as well as encourages you to feel yourself grounded and connected to earth.
START: Get into Downward Facing Dog with both hands on the floor and step the left foot back until your legs get a full stretch. Press firmly into your hands and roll your upper arms outwards. Lengthen up through your torso and keep your abdominals engaged.
FINISH: Bring your weight into your right hand and roll onto the outer edge of your right foot like Side Plank Pose. Stay strong in your right hand making a clawing action with the fingers. On an exhalation, step your left foot back and place your toes on the floor with your knee partially bent. Curl back through your upper back to create a sweeping action of the shoulder blades into the back of the rib cage. On an inhalation, lift your hips higher until you curl more into a backbend with your right foot solid on the ground. Hold for 5-10 breaths, return to Down Dog and repeat on the other side.