Need some advice for navigating utkatasana to savasana? We've got it covered. This blog covers some basic yoga poses so you can practice while you stay home. If you're working from home right now, introducing a regular yoga flow into your schedule will also help with posture, avoiding back pain incurred by sitting at a desk.
So, grab your mat, maybe a yoga block and a pillow, and we'll see you in savasana.
Warrior Pose - Warrior 1
Warrior pose and its variations are good for strengthening the whole body, including the lower back and legs.
To create the perfect Warrior 1 Pose, step forward, rotate your back leg slightly outwards and bend your front leg at a 90-degree angle from the floor. Raise your arms over your head, pull up through your abdomen and breathe deeply into the stretch.
Warrior Pose - Warrior 2
To execute the Warrior 2 pose, engage the leg muscles, ground your feet to give stability, and keep your hips open and aligned on a lateral plane. Keep your arms parallel to the floor and level with your shoulders. Check that your front knee lines up with your back ankle, and make sure the sole of your back foot is pressing firmly into your mat.
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Shvanasana)
One of the best-known yoga shapes, downward-facing dog pose is an energising, active position that provides a strong stretch for shoulders, hamstrings and calves. For the perfect down-dog pose, draw your tailbone upwards, extending your back and keeping your feet flat on the floor. Try spreading the fingers to take the pressure off your wrists and tuck your head, so it's in line with your torso. With each exhale, lengthen your spine and stretch your lower back a little more.
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
By lifting the upper body, this movement bends the lower back to provide further flexibility to the spine, while strengthening arms and wrists. Start by lying face down, bend your arms, ensuring elbows are in line with shoulders and push the floor away to create a soft bend in your back. Make sure shoulders aren't hunched and try not to overbend or arch your spine unevenly.
Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
With many cited benefits including balance, concentration and even improved memory, Tree Pose is great for strengthening both body and mind. There are several variations of this yoga pose, bringing the arms into the chest will make the position easier, pushing the arms high above the head will make it harder. You can also adjust how high to bend your leg to wherever feels most comfortable, placing your foot against thigh, knee or calf. Ensure your standing leg stays straight and firm and try spreading your toes to make balancing easier.
Classic Pigeon Pose
We love this familiar version of pigeon pose, folding your front leg at a right angle to your torso with your back leg extended behind. Great for opening the hips, this form is also beneficial for releasing tension in the lower back. If you find this is difficult, or your groin is particularly tight, try a yoga block underneath your raised hip (the side of your bent front leg) to support your weight.
This common variant of pigeon is an evolution from a more advanced pose, known as King Pigeon Pose or Kapotasana; a super deep backbend which requires superior flexibility of the hips back and shoulders.
King Pigeon Pose (Kapotsana)
A pose for the practised yogi, King Pigeon Pose is achieved by a reversed backbend, arching the spine and bringing feet to hands. This pose is excellent for releasing tension in the hips and backbone if you spend a lot of time working at a desk; however, you should only try this if you've already mastered the basic poses, and have warmed up beforehand.
You can also use yoga wheel to make this a little easier (as pictured).
Half Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
Also known as the Half Lord of the Fishes Pose, this movement involves a lateral twist to release tension in the spine. Great for posture, this pose helps to free up any tightness in the lower back. Bring your arm across to rest your elbow on your knee and press to deepen the stretch. Make sure you maintain length in your abdomen and keep your other hand planted on the ground for stability.
Lotus Pose (Padmasana)
A meditative posture, like a lotus in a pond, this position is perfect for embracing the stillness at the end of a yoga flow. Make this pose more comfortable by sitting on a block, pillow or bolster, which will also help with any tension in the spine.
Corpse Pose (Savasana)
This is a deeply meditative pose in which to end your practice and probably our favourite. Lie on your back, keeping your feet at least 60cm apart and relaxing gently through each inhale and exhale. Arms should be flat on the floor with palms facing upwards. Our favourite way to enjoy savasana is with a pillow or bolster under the knees to reduce strain on the lower back, and an eye pillow to aid relaxation.