You might be pressed for time, traveling or missed your scheduled yoga class due to a meeting that ran over. If you can’t get in an hour of yoga, doing a short 15-20 minute sequence with a few minutes of Pranayama and meditation is still impactful. Certain yoga asanas when practiced regularly can keep your digestion healthy and strong, ensuring good health. Consistency will also correct the effects of a poor posture, lack of physical activity and boost your overall mobility and flexibility.
So, even if you can get to your one-hour session, these nine yoga poses to ensure you don’t skip a beat.
9 yoga poses to practice everyday
Known as Marjariasana, this posture is practiced as a warm-up to other poses. It’s perfect for gently stretching the back in the morning or in the evening after sitting at your desk all day. It stretches the entire spine, invigorates the entire body and boosts flexibility and mobility. Try to coordinate the movement with your breath and keep the core engaged.
How to do Marjariasana
- Come into a neutral position on your hands and knees. Your wrists should be placed underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips.
- Now inhale and arch your back to come into the cow pose. When you do this, you will gently raise your head and neck upwards too. Tilt your pelvis back so that your tailbone sticks up. Do the movement slowly from your tailbone up your spine such that your neck is the last to move.
- Keep your abdominal muscles engaged. Allow them to hug your spine by pulling your navel in.
- Now exhale and round the back coming into the cat pose. Now you will tilt your pelvis forward and tuck your tailbone in. As you let this movement move up your spine, the round will happen naturally.
- Keep your navel pulled in toward your spine. Drop your head and look down, keeping your neck long.
- Repeat the cat-cow movement 6-7 times, coordinating with your breath to completely stretch and relax the back.
Downward-Facing Dog Pose
Adho Mukha Asana is great for flexibility and strength. It lengthens the spine and stretches the hamstrings, calves and shoulders, releasing stiffness. Blood circulation to the brain and upper parts of the body also improves. It has a strengthening effect on the core and arms. You can also further stretch the hamstrings by pedaling the feet.
How to do Adho Mukha Asana
- Inhale, look Up, take the right leg back, and the left leg back
- Exhale, push the hips back towards the ceiling, trying to place the heels on the ground.
- Inhale, press into the palms, pushing shoulders away, exhale, push the chest towards the thighs, keep the spine straight, not rounding the back.
- Keep the neck and head relaxed, and position the head between the hands.
Known as Anjaneyasana, the low lunge brings relief to the hips. It stretches the hip flexors, hamstrings and calves. Going deeper into the lunge also works on the quadriceps and glutes. Gently doing a backbend in the pose also stretches the chest. It’s perfect for improving mobility, balance and focus.
How to do low lunge
- To practice low lunge, take your right foot between your hands. Make sure your right knee is directly above your right ankle.
- Now gently drop your left knee to the floor. You can also keep a blanket or a small cushion below your knee for comfort.
- Bring both hands to your waist and gently push your hips forward till you begin to feel a nice stretch.
- Keep facing your right leg. Don’t let your shoulders round. They should remain open.
- Stay here for a few deep breaths or as long as you are comfortable.
A lateral bend, Trikonasana stretches the slides of the waist, the inner thighs, hamstrings, calves, spine, shoulders, chest and hips. It opens up the chest region, improving respiration. Triangle pose has a strengthening effect on the legs, back and torso.
How to do Triangle pose
- Stand straight and keep the feet about 3-4 feet apart.
- Now align the center of your right heel with the center of the left foot. Ensure your feet are pressing the ground firmly and the weight of your body is equally balanced on both the feet.
- As you inhale and exhale, bend your body to the right, downward from the hips and keeping the waist straight. Now extend the left arm up towards the sky, rotating the hip, abdomen and chest to the left side and your right hand comes down towards the floor. Keep both arms in a straight line.
- Straighten the front knee, pushing the hips back, maintaining a lateral stretch on the left side of the body. Find your balance looking down, and then look up towards the left fingertips.
- Breathe deeply while you stretch to the maximum and maintain balance. Repeat the pose with the other leg.
Standing Forward Bend
Known as Uttanasana, the standing forward bend greatly improves flexibility by stretching the hamstrings, calves and lower back. It improves blood circulation to the brain, releases stress and anxiety.
How to to Uttanasana
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms at your sides.
- Raise your hands up and start bending over at your hips until you’re placing your palms on your shins, ankles, or the floor (wherever you can reach).
- You can bend your knees a little bit, but try to keep them as straight as you can.
- Let your head hang down and relax, whilst keeping your legs nice and long.
- You can hold the pose for up to a minute or as long as comfortable.
A gentle backbend, the cobra pose, known as Bhujangasana stretches the spine, stimulates the spinal nerves and improves blood circulation in the back. It relieves stiff back and back pain. It also opens up the chest and shoulder muscles. It also has a positive impact on the digestive organs.
How to do Cobra pose
- Lie flat on the stomach with the legs straight, feet together and the soles of the feet facing upwards.
- Place the palms of the hands flat on the floor, below and slightly to the side of the shoulders, with the fingers together and pointing forward.
- Position the arms so that the elbows point backward and are close to the sides of the body.
- Rest the forehead on the floor and close the eyes.
- Relax the whole body, especially the lower back. Now slowly raise the head.
- Straighten the elbows, using the back muscles first, then the arm muscles to raise the trunk further and arch the back.
- In the final position, the pubic bone remains in contact with the floor and the navel is raised a maximum of 3 mm.
- The arms may or may not be straight; this will depend on the flexibility of the back.
Seated Forward Bend
A wonderful asana Paschimottanasana stretches and lengthens the back, relieves stress and stiffness from the back and brings a sense of calm. It activates the parasympathetic nervous system, relieving tension. It also has a positive effect on digestion, stimulating all the digestive organs.
How to do Paschimottanasana
- Sit up with the legs stretched out straight in front of you (Dandasana). Keep the spine straight and toes pointing upwards.
- Inhale, raise both arms above your head and stretch up. As you exhale, bend forward from the hip, chin moving toward the toes. Keep the spine erect. Focus on moving forwards towards the toes, rather than down towards the knees.
- Place your hands on your legs, wherever they reach. Do not try to force yourself closer to the thighs if it is difficult. If you can, grab hold of your toes and pull on them to help you inch forward a little. You can also grab your calves if that’s where you’re comfortable.
- Breathe in, keep your head straight and lengthen the spine. As you exhale, gently try to take your naval closer to the knees. Engage your core and try to use your breath to go deeper into the posture.
- To come out of the posture, release the grip; inhale, raise both the arms up and lift the chin and chest as well. Breathe out, lower your arms and come back to Dandasana.
Vriksasana improves balance and coordination. It increases focus and concentration of the mind. It also quietens the mind. It creates an external rotation in the hips, strengthens the ankles, legs and spine.
How to do Tree pose
- Stand in the Mountain Pose, Tadasana. Stabilize your posture with both your feet rooted into the floor and weight evenly distributed.
- Now shift your weight onto your right foot. Slowly lift your left foot off the floor.
- Ensure the right leg is straight but don't lock the knee.
- Bend the left knee and place the sole of your left foot at the top of your right inner thigh.
- Engage the foot and thigh by pressing the left foot into your thigh and your thigh back into your foot with equal pressure. This will help you keep both hips towards the front and avoid the right hip from jutting out.
- Bring the hands into Namaste Mudra in front of your chest. If you are comfortable, you can raise the hands up above the head in Namaste.
- Gaze directly at a point in front of you to maintain balance.
- Stay in the posture for a few deep breaths. Then slowly lower your left foot to the floor. Repeat this with the other leg.
Cow face pose
Known as Gomukhasana, this asana stretches the upper back, shoulders and chest. It opens up the chest region, improving respiration. It removes tightness from the upper back, while also stretching the ankles, hips and thighs.
How to do Cow face pose
- Stand in Tadasana (mountain pose). Now take a step forward with your right leg, and then shift the body weight forward on to that leg.
- Take a breath in and breathe out. Now lift the left foot off the ground, bend the knee and hold the left ankle from the inside or the outside - whatever is comfortable for you.
- Keep the right firmly placed on the floor. The left thigh is now over the right thigh.
- Once again, inhale and as you exhale, take the upper body forward while simultaneously raising the left knee higher and pushing the foot into the hand.
- After reaching a stable position, inhale and extend the right hand forward, joining the palms in namaste mudra. You can also join the index finger and thumb in gyan mudra. Look towards the right fingertips.
- Keep your gaze focused on a point in front of you. Take slow, deep breaths and try to relax here.
A short session can stretch out stiffness from the back, hamstrings, calves and shoulders, release stress and restore balance in the body. Consistency is key, so even if you have less time, don’t miss these few asanas regularly!