Seated Beginner Yoga Poses
As I spoke of in my last post, stretching is a great way to help your body recover from a workout and improve range of motion and flexibility. Personally, my favorite way to stretch is through yoga. Here are my favorite seated yoga poses:
Child’s Pose – Wide Legs (Balasana)
Child’s Pose is great for decompressing the lower lumbar spine and when you do it with slightly wider knees, you can really stretch into your inner thighs as well. Starting on your knees, toes pointing back, drop your hips back towards your heels, stretching your arms out in front of you. Planting your palms and pushing into them slightly will help relax the lower back, helping it round.
Laying Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)
Doing a spinal twist is again great for those with lower back pain, but really stretches out the entire spine. Start on your back with legs extended and arms come to a t. Tuck one knee in towards your chest and then use the opposite hand to guide the leg across the body and down to the side. Reach the other arm in the opposite direction, trying to bring the shoulder down to the floor.
Butterfly Pose (Baddha Konasana)
Butterfly pose is great for opening the inner thighs and hips. Bring the soles of your feet to touch and bring your heels as close in to your body as you can. Wrapping your hands around your feet, use the pressure of your elbows to open the legs further while slightly leaning forward.
Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
Camel pose is great for opening the chest and shoulders. Start in a high kneeling position with toes tucked under. Place your palms on your lower back for support and roll your shoulders back and open. Begin to push your hips forward and lean back into your hands to puff out the chest.
Cow Pose (Bitilasana)
Cow pose is great for stretching the abs and waking up the spine. Start on hands and knees and drop the belly toward the ground while reaching the tailbone and crown of the head up toward the ceiling.
Cat Pose (Marjaiasana)
Cat pose is great for the shoulders and spine. Start on hands and knees and arch the middle of your back up towards the ceiling, pressing heavily through the palms, while dropping your tailbone and head down towards the floor.
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
Cobra pose is great for stretching the transverse abdominals. Start on your stomach, hands under the shoulders, elbowing pointing back, press into the palms to lift the torso, reaching the crown of the head up toward the ceiling. Lift your belly button up and in to really feel the stretch.
Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana)
Forward fold is great for opening the hamstrings. Start in a seated position with legs extended in front of you. Sit up tall reaching the crown of the head up toward the ceiling, and then begin leaning forward over your legs, keeping the spine straight and reach for your toes. Actively curl your toes back toward you to deepen the stretch.
Wide Leg Forward Fold (Upavistha Konasana)
Wide Leg Forward fold is a great stretch for the hamstrings, inner thighs, and hips. Start in a seated position and bring your legs as far apart one from another as you can, keeping them straight. Keep your legs straight and pressing into the floor as you begin to walk your body forward with your hands.
Firelog Pose (Agnistambhasana)
Firelog pose is great for stretching the hips and glutes. Start in a seated position and stack one shin on top of the other, making sure you flex through the ankle of the top foot to keep it safe. Reaching your hands out in front of you, begin to lean your torso forward until you feel the stretch in your hips. Remember to switch legs, as one side of the body may feel different from the other.
Pigeon Pose (Kapotasana)
Pigeon pose is a great stretch for the hips and hip flexor. Begin in a kneeling position and bring one leg forward, shin in line with the front of your mat, foot flexed. The other leg will extend straight back behind you, toes pointed. Making sure your hips are even, begin to lower yourself down toward the mat and walk your hands forward to support you as you lay down on the front leg.
Lizard Pose (Utahan Pristhasana)
Lizard pose is a great stretch for the hips and hamstrings. Start in a low lunge position with your knee on the mat. Bring both hands to the instep of the front foot and let the back leg extend long. Turn the toes of the front foot out slightly and walk your hands slightly forward. To increase the stretch come down to rest on the forearms.
Hero Pose (Virasana)
Hero poses is a great stretch for the quads and shins and helps with ankle flexibility. Start by coming into a kneeling position, toes pointed backwards. Sit on your heels and lean back into your hands.
Saddle Pose (Supta Virasana)
Saddle pose is great for stretching the quads. Start in a seated position with your legs straight out in front of you. One leg will bend at the knee and you will bring the foot and the shin to the outside of the body, resting on top of the foot. Keep the knee pointed straight ahead and begin to lean back into your hands. To deepen the stretch, come down on the forearms.
Gate Pose (Parighasana)
Gate pose is great for stretching the obliques. Start in a high kneeing position and bring one leg out to the side, straightening it and placing the sole of the foot in line with the other knee. Reach your arm down the extended leg and the other arm will reach up and over the head, stretching through the side of the body. When that feels good, bring the arm that was over the head down to the floor in line with the knee and foot and stretch the other arm up and over the head.