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The 10 Best Yoga Poses to Do Every Day to Stay Fit & Healthy

The best yoga asanas you should do every day to improve your physical, mental, and spiritual health, include flexibility, fitness, balance, muscular strength, and spinal mobility. Here are a few basic but highly effective poses for beginner, intermediate, and advanced practitioners.

Yoga is a well-rounded exercise.

We will share with you the best yoga poses but first, let’s chat about exactly what this ancient practice is. Yoga is an exercise that combines physical strength, mental concentration, and breathing techniques. It is believed that yoga was born in India many years ago and has been popularized in recent years.

This exercise is not like a regular exercise because it has a main philosophy which is that the mind, body, and spirit are one. The experience of Yoga has as its main goal to unify those 3 components in order to reach enlightenment.

There are around 8 different branches that have different purposes, but most of them, if not all, should be done in order to achieve the main goal. Some of the important characteristics of the branches are: meditating, practicing nonviolence, cleanliness, physical posture, doing breathing exercises, acquiring knowledge, etc.

Although yoga is a way of living and has a deeper meaning, there are some people that also enjoy the physical and mental benefits this practice gives them. Whether you are an avid practitioner or a newbie, you will definitely be able to take advantage of the top yoga poses we’ve prepared for you.

If you are a beginner and don’t know exactly what you need to start, don’t worry, we’ve got your back. The basic tools you will need are a good “sticky” yoga mat and clothes that can stretch easily without any problems. You will be moving around, and you want to be very comfortable.

1. Plank

Most of us have experienced exhaustion when performing planks, but not all of us know the benefits they can bring to our health. While this is one of the best exercises to strengthen your core, it actually works your whole body. The trick is to control your breath — it really helps.

There are a few types of plank exercises, you can choose which one suits your level. Your shoulders should be directly over your elbows, and your back should be straight, if you can—lift your knees up off the floor, otherwise, stay on your knees. Either way, it’s crucial that you keep a straight line from the top of your head to your feet or hips.

2. Upward plank pose

This is a very good yoga pose for stretching your upper body, as well as, increasing the strength of your arms, legs, and core, and improving your balance

Start by placing your hands behind you as you face toward your feet. Lift your hips, extend one leg, followed by the other leg, with the toes pressing to the floor. You can also tilt your head down to feel your upper back stretch.

3. Extended side angle pose

This pose is designed to work on the sides of waist and strengthen the legs, stretch the hips, hamstrings, calves, shoulders, chest, and spine. It also opens up the lungs, improves digestion, and helps relieve stress.

Start by stepping your feet one leg-length apart and reach your arms wide. Turn your right foot out 90°. Rotate your hips toward the back and reach your right hand forward. Start bending down and put your right hand down on your ankle, shin, knee, or the floor while stretching your left hand to the sky, keeping a straight line from the right hand to the left. Repeat on the opposite side.

4. Warrior 1

This pose is also one of the main poses in many yoga practices. It’s essential for improving the strength of the core and the entire lower body. It’s also great for stretching hips and thighs.

Take a big step back with your right foot, place the foot flat on the mat. Roll your shoulders back and lift your chest. Lift your arms up with your palms together. Hold for 8-10 breaths, then switch sides.

5. Warrior 2

Another highly important pose, this stretches the hips and inner thighs and works very well for improving balance. It may help to improve digestion and also relieve backaches.

Stand with your feet one leg-length apart. Turn your left foot out 90° and your right foot in 45°. Bend your front knee and stretch your arms out to your sides, gaze over your right hand. Hold for 8-10 breaths and then repeat on the other side.

6. Bridge pose

Another important pose for beginners, this works on stretching the front of the body and strengthens the back of the body. It also improves blood circulation and digestion, helps relieve stress, and opens the lungs and thyroid gland.

Lie on your back with your feet close to your hips. Lift your hips up and hold for 8-10 breaths.

7. Cobra pose

You might think that Cobra is one of the easiest yoga poses. It is a great pose for straightening your back and opening your chest and shoulders. It also decreases any stiffness in the lower back. Remember — easy doesn’t mean ineffective.

Start from the downward facing dog pose, come forward into a plank, bend your elbows and slowly lower yourself down on the floor, roll your shoulders back and gently lift your back up. Hold for 8-10 breaths.

8. Bow Pose

This pose stretches the entire front of the body, strengthens the whole back, and improves posture and spinal flexibility.

Bend your knees, lift your thighs from the floor, reach back, and grab your ankles. Hold for 8-10 breaths. You will instantly feel how your arms and legs stretch. If you are having a stressful day, try this pose, and you will feel how it can help your body release some tension.

9. Boat pose

This pose helps with digestion, stimulates the kidneys, and strengthens your thighs and lower back.

Start seated, bend your knees, lean back, and lift your feet until your shins are parallel to the floor. If you feel comfortable in this position, extend your arms forward. Straighten your legs, so your body is in a V-shape. Hold for 8-10 breaths. If you feel like the floor is too hard and it hurts, you can try doing it on the yoga mat or maybe placing a small pillow under you.

10. Fish pose

Although it looks a little uncomfortable, this pose strengthens the hamstrings and lower back and opens the hips and rib cage.

Start by lying on your back, keeping your feet on the floor and your knees bent. Lift your upper body, sliding your hands under your buttocks. Keep your forearms and elbows close to the sides of your body and lift your upper back off the floor.

BONUS: Benefits you get from practicing yoga

  • Yoga is the type of exercise that can help you increase your flexibility. When you stretch your body, it can gain a better range of motion, and if you do it before a workout it can also help to decrease your chances of getting hurt.

    Just like other types of exercise, yoga can also be helpful for older adults, to improve their flexibility, which can get fade as you age. It’s a good idea to start practicing yoga and stretching as soon as possible if you want a better chance of having a wide range of mobility when you’re older.
  • Stress relief. A study conducted from 2014 — 2015 collected data from 52 grown women that practiced yoga with the help of a professional. The result of this study shows that practicing yoga can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
  • According to a study, specific breathing exercises that are common in yoga can help enhance pulmonary functions. This is also great news if you are a competitive swimmer, since there was another study that suggests that these yogic breathing practices can help increase respiratory endurance.
  • You’ve probably tried picking something up off the floor of your house by only using one of your feet. Maybe you succeeded, or maybe your balance is not as good as you think. Yoga might also help to improve your balance.

    Some studies show an improvement in balance and overall performance in athletes and people that practice yoga. However, more studying needs to be done to be certain of these results. In some cases, practicing yoga regularly has led to an improvement in balance for those who are older.
  • It can help people to increase their strength. Though some don’t start practicing yoga specifically for that purpose, it is an added bonus. How much muscle and body strength you gain may depend on the exercises you perform or the level you are at.

    According to research, people from 20 to 49 years old who participated in the study, had a significant increase in strength and flexibility. It was also observed that yoga could help prevent the deterioration of the same parameters that come with aging.
  • Last but not least, yoga can also give your mental health a boost. In a study where participants had to practice yoga along with coherent breathing, it was observed that depressive symptoms declined in patients that ranged between 18 to 64 years old. Next time you feel down, you might want to give yoga a try.

    The effect that yoga can have on people with depression is constantly being studied in order to see if this type of exercise can be an alternative and complementary treatment.

Do you think we missed some important yoga poses? Have you experienced the health benefits that yoga can have on our body? Tell us about them in the comments.

Please note: This article was updated in October 2022 to correct source material and factual inaccuracies.
Preview photo credit vitmarkov / Depositphotos
Illustrated by Natalia Tylosova for Bright Side
Bright Side/Health/The 10 Best Yoga Poses to Do Every Day to Stay Fit & Healthy
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