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10 Yoga Poses That Can Change Your Body

Yoga has been known for centuries and research has proven that a regular yoga practice can significantly improve your physical, mental, and spiritual health, include flexibility, fitness, balance, muscular strength, and spinal mobility.

We at Bright Side care about your health and we’ve chosen a few basic but highly effective poses that will work incredibly well for everyone, from a beginner to an expert.

1. Plank

While this is one of the best exercises to strengthen your core, it actually works your whole body. The trick is control your breath and this 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, your back is straight, if you can—lift your legs up, otherwise stay on your knees. Either way, it’s crucial that you keep the straight line from the top of your head to your feet or hips.

2. Upward plank pose

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

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

This is the great pose for straightening your back and opening your chest and shoulders. It also decreases stiffness of the lower back.

Start from the downward facing dog pose, come forward into the 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.

9. Boat pose

This pose helps with stress relief, improves digestion, stimulates the kidneys, thyroid, and intestines, and strengthens thighs and the 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 with this position, extend your arms forward. Straighten your legs so your body is in a V-shape. Hold for 8-10 breaths.

10. Fish pose

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.

Do you think we missed some important yoga poses? Tell us about them in the comments.

Please note: This article was updated in April 2022 to correct source material and factual inaccuracies.
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