Summer is right around the corner
and our calendars are filling up with exciting outdoor activities. Energize Your Body with these fresh yoga poses to spark joy and to feel vitalized for the season.
1.Child’s Pose ( Balasana )
More than a resting posture, Balasana gently lengthens the spine and stretches the hips, quadriceps, and ankles.
Begin on your hands and knees, bring the toes together, and separate the knees wider than your hips. Sit back on the heels, extend the arms, and place the palms on the mat while actively reaching the fingers towards the front of the mat. Lift your elbows and arms from the mat for an active stretch and then, gently place your forehead on the mat. Inhale through your nose, exhale completely through the mouth making an H-A, “Ha” sound. Take five more breaths inhaling and exhaling through the nose. Gently walk your hands back toward your body and lift yourself back onto your hands and knees.
2. Wide-Legged Forward Bend ( Prasarita Padottanasana )
Open wide into Prasarita Padottanasana I to increase flexibility by leaps and bounds.
Stand erect with your feet 3-4 feet apart, balanced and firmly grounded. Breathe gentle deep breaths. Inhale, lengthen the spine, stretch arms overhead. Exhale, bend forward from the hip joints, keeping the spine straight. Place hands on the floor, under the shoulders. Inhale, exhale gentle deep breaths. Lifting the hips up, bend further as you breathe out to bring the head toward the floor in between the hands. Separate the thighs. If you are stable, you can separate your feet further apart, maintaining balance and firmness. Breathing out, press your hands firmly on the floor to deepen the bend. If your hands reach the feet, get hold of your big toes, and pull on them to get a deeper bend. Inhale, stretch the arms to the front and lift up slowly. Exhale, bring the arms to the sides.
3.Cow-Cat ( Bitilasana-Marjaryasana )
Wakes up and warms up your spine.
Begin in the tabletop position with your hands shoulder-distance apart and your shoulders over your wrists. Make sure your knees are hip-width apart with the hips and knees aligned, and the spine and neck in a neutral position. Inhale, and then drop the belly button, allowing the tailbone and crown of the head to reach for the sky. This is your Cow position. Take an extra breath here and feel the stretch in your spine.
Next, exhale while moving into Cat. Tuck the tailbone and press the spine towards the sky, rounding the shoulders and allowing the head to drop while drawing the belly in. Take an extra breath in Cat and transition back to Cow. Spend the next few breaths moving between the two positions, inhale to Cow and exhale to Cat.
4.Easy Twist ( Parivrtta Anjaneyasana )
A spinal rotation poses that’s detoxifying and improves digestion.
From down dog, exhale and bring the right foot between the hands. Make sure the knee is over the ankle and then extend the left leg behind you. To work on building strength, keep your left leg elevated off the ground, but for an easier stretch, place your knee on the ground. Inhale, straighten your back, shoulders back and hands in prayer. Slightly lean forward and place left elbow on the outer of your right thigh and twist to the right. Gaze up over your right shoulder. Hold for five breaths. Exhale, release the right hand down to the mat, step back into down dog for five breaths, and then repeat on the left side.
And that’s all it takes to set yourself up for a productive day. Add these yoga poses to your morning routine and you’ll be feeling more awake and energized in no time.
5.Downward Facing Dog ( Adho Mukha Svanasana )
Strengthens arms, lengthens the spine, stretches hamstrings and calves, and brings blood flow to the brain.
From the tabletop position you started in for Cow-Cat, exhale, tuck the toes and lift your “sit bones” (also known as your tailbone) to the sky. Keeping the knees bent, with palms open, press into the fingers and extend through the arms. Relax the shoulders away from the ears, and allow the neck to relax. On the next exhale, gently extend the legs pushing the heels towards the ground. You may want to peddle the heels toward the mat, bending one leg at a time, to get a nice stretch in the hamstrings. Depending on your hamstring flexibility, your knees may also stay bent with the heels lifted as needed. Hold for five deep breaths.
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