Best Yoga for Women
Practice these exercises at least three times a week for optimal overall health
#1 Child’s Pose
Stretches hips, quads, back
1. Kneel on the floor with big toes touching and knees about hip-width apart. Sit on your heels.
2. Lay your torso between the thighs and bring your forehead to the mat. Extend arms straight in front of you, palms on the floor. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Stay here for at least one minute.
Why it is good for you - This go-to rest pose opens hips and relieves low back tightness.
#2 Downward Facing Dog
Stretches spine, hamstrings, glutes, calves; strengthens deltoids, triceps
1. Start on all fours with your feet and knees hip-width apart. Position hands about shoulder-width apart and spread your fingers wide.
2. Pressing firmly through your hands, lift knees off the floor and straighten your legs. (If you have tight hamstrings, a gentle bend in the knees is fine).
3. Walk your hands forward a few inches and walk your feet back a few inches to lengthen the pose. Squeeze thighs as you press them toward the back wall. Press your heels back and down toward the floor (though they might not reach the mat).
4. Relax the head and neck and let your shoulder blades slide down your back toward your feet. Breathe deeply. Hold for at least one minute.
Why it is good for you - Down-Dog is a top-notch upper body-strengthener. And as an inversion (meaning your hips are higher than your heart), it increases circulation.
#3 Warrior II
Stretches hips, inner thighs, chest; strengthens quadriceps, abdomen, shoulders
1. From standing, step your feet about 4 feet apart. Turn your right foot so the toes point toward the front of your mat. Turn your left foot in 30 degrees.
2. Raise your arms to shoulder height, parallel with the floor, palms face down. Bend your right knee so your right shin and thigh form a 90-degree angle.
3. Gently tuck your tailbone down as you draw your abdomen in. Hold for 5 deep breaths in and out through the nose. Straighten the right leg and repeat on the opposite side.
Why it is good for you - This powerful pose will grant you long, lean, toned arms and legs as well as firmer core.
#4 Plank Pose
Strengthens arms, back, shoulders, core, quadriceps
1. From Downward-Facing Dog, press into the palms and bring the chest forward so that your shoulders are directly over your wrists and you are in the top of a push-up position.
2. Press your heels toward the wall behind you and extend the crown of your head forward to form a straight line from the top of your head to your heels. Hold for at least 1 minute.
Why it is good for you - Plank is a simple but challenging way to build upper body strength - it works all of the major muscles in your arms, back, and core and requires only your bodyweight.
#5 Fierce Pose
Stretches spine; strengthens quadriceps, ankles, back
1. Stepping your feet hip-width apart, spread through your toes to create a stable base. As you raise arms to the sky, palms facing each another, bend your knees and sit your buttocks back as though you were sitting into a chair.
2. Draw your abdomen in to eliminate any curving in the lower back. Put all your weight into your heels and be sure your knees do not extend past your toes. Hold for 5 deep breaths in and out through the nose. Rest for one minute. Repeat.
Why it is good for you - This pose is injury insurance, strengthening quadriceps, which provides stronger support around your knees, making them less prone to injury. Fierce pose also improves posture.