Thursday, January 10, 2013

10 Yoga Poses to Make You Feel Better

I found these Yoga exercises in Prevention magazine and think they are worthwhile to share. You don't have to "know" Yoga to perform these exercises. I have tried each of them and was able to do them with ease. And as you know from my previous posts, I am just a beginner with Yoga.

With the cold and flu season in full swing, I know I'll be doing Number 8, even though I got my flu shot already.

Do not try these poses if you they aren't comfortable or cause pain in any way. 

Note: Blogger is quirky tonight and I have no idea why the text is large/small/colored in some areas. I've tried to correct it with no success.

1.  For Long Car Rides - Standing Side Opener

Perform this exercise during rest stops. Stand with feet parallel, shoulders aligned with hips. Inhale and reach your arms out and up. Grab your left wrist with your right hand. Gently pull your left arm up with your right hand. Let your torso naturally arch over to your right side. Stay here for three breaths and then work the other side. 

                                             Standing side opener

2. To Rid Body of Toxins - Seated Twist

Twists are great for helping toxins move their way out of your body—and out of your life. Start seated (as shown), inhale and lift your left arm straight up. As you exhale, grab your right knee with your left hand. Press your right fingertips into the ground behind your hips. Inhale and sit up tall. Exhale and twist your torso further toward the right. Then switch your legs and repeat on the other side.

                               Seated Twist

3. For Shin Splints - Hero Pose

This is a very mild, gentle movement that is designed to relieve pressure on the shins. The even pressure feels great for most runners. Stand on your knees so they are aligned under your hips. Press the tops of your feet down and into the ground. Press your thumbs into your legs, behind your knees, open your calves out to the sides and sit your hips down to the ground (if your butt doesn’t touch the ground, sit on a yoga block or a rolled up yoga mat). Hold for 10 breaths.

                        Hero pose

4. For Body Cramps - No illustration but the instructions are self-explanatory, and is the easiest of all these poses).
To sooth the mind, the mood, and cramps,. The gentle pressure from the blanket and your torso is really grounding and comforting, and just plain feels great.  Roll up a blanket. Sit down with your legs straight in front of you. Place the blanket on your upper thighs. Gently fold your torso over the blanket. Stay here for 10 long, deep breaths. (I'm using this photo as is, although I see 

5. For Sugar Cravings - Seated meditation with arms in a "V"

Yoga trains and reprograms the mind so it can come back to a calm and neutral state free of anxieties and cravings. The seated meditation with arms up in a V gives your body just enough to do to allow your mind to focus. Spend a few minutes in this position and you'll be able to conquer your sugar cravings with ease. Starting in a comfortable seated position, raise your arms overhead into in a V shape. Relax your shoulders down your back and reach out through your fingertips. Stay and breathe here for 3 minutes. Finding the ease in staying here for several minutes will clear your mind and release loads of tension from your body.

Seated meditation with arms in a “V”

6. For When You're Feeling Sad - Tree Pose
Regular yoga can help ease and reverse depression, bringing people back to their natural state of happiness and ease. Standing poses like tree have a lot to do with that. Finding balance in different ways on our feet translates into our lives. The key is being gentle and consistent.
Stand tall with your feet parallel and a few inches apart. Shift your weight into your left leg. Bend your right knee, grab hold of your right ankle with your right hand and press your right foot into your left inner thigh. Either stay here with your hand holding your ankle for balance, or reach your arms straight up. Stay here for five long breaths. Try the same thing on your other side. (The models hands seem misplaced for these directions!)
Note: For safety sake, perform this pose near a steady chair or something to grab onto or balance against if you find yourself losing your balance.

                             Tree pose

7. For Easing Stress - Half-pigeon pose
Our hips store a lot of tension from all sorts of anxieties and stresses. The energy has to go somewhere and often it winds up in our hips. Pigeon is a super-calming pose for the mind and will give you a deep tension release in the hips.
Start in a cross legged position and then lean into your right hip and reach your left leg long behind you (as shown), keeping your right leg in front of you and bent at the knee. If your hips don’t reach the ground, sit on a pillow or a block. Turn your hips and shoulders so they both face forward. Stay here for 10 long, deep breaths. Switch legs and repeat.

                                               Half-pigeon pose

8. For a Cold or Flu - Alternate nostril breathing
This technique is known for keeping people from getting colds or the flu, as well as helping them get better faster. It's great for clearing congestion. It also does wonders for cultivating an easy mind, so even when the flu strikes you'll feel easy and calm while you are recovering.” 
Sit up tall, however you can sit comfortably. Take your right hand and curl down your index and middle finger into your palm. Press your ring finger over your left nostril and inhale for 4 counts. Close off your right nostril with your thumb so both nostrils are closed. Hold all the air in for 4 counts. Release your ring finger and let all the air out your left nostril for 4 counts. Repeat this breathing pattern for 3 to 5 minutes.

                          Alternate nostril breathing

9. For a Blinding Migraine - Headstand 

(Note: This one isn't as difficult as it looks. I tried it; perhaps my back wasn't perfectly straight, but so long as the pressure is on the head I think the effect is the same.)
Recurring migraines can be multi-factorial and, of course, everyone is different, but yoga has been known to help. A little pressure on the head with a prep of a headstand can bring blood flow to the head… and it just does the trick! Deep breaths of course!”
Sit on your heels with your shoulders above your hips. Interlace your fingers loosely and place them on the ground. Place the top of your head on the ground so your fingers cradle the back of your head. Stay here for a few breaths to get comfortable in the position. If you are comfortable, tuck your toes and straighten your legs like you would in a down dog. Stay here for 10 breath.


10. For a Sleepless Night - No illustration

Easy lying-down twist
Many people have major problems getting to sleep and staying asleep. Yoga has been known to help out.  A simple lying down twist helps to release any tension in the spine and mind that can be getting in the way of a good night's rest. You can even do it when you’re in bed.

Lie down on your back and hug your right knee into your chest. Twist your right leg over toward your left side. Relax your arms out to the sides. Stay here for 10 deep breaths and repeat on the other side.

Will you be trying any of these Yoga poses?


  1. I have never practised yoga, so these are really interesting Sanda. Think I'll try 5, 8 and 10 for starters. With all the hot weather lately my exercise has declined and I am getting creaky in the bones. Yoga could be the answer!

    1. #8 will be a must with the flu epidemic going on. Are you having a large outbreak in Australia? Or maybe not, since it's the middle of summer! So easy for me to slack up as well. For me it's too hot, or too cold or any other excuse I can find!

  2. Great info - I will try number 10 as sleepless nights are becoming too common!

    1. Let me know if that one works for you!

  3. yes I will, especially the V pose : )

    1. Can it be true we can cure any sugar craving? I'm going to be doing that one too!

  4. I have every intention to practice yoga poses at home when I cannot get to ballet class. But turns out I feel so sorry for myself when not able to get to ballet that I cannot force myself to do the yoga poses. They are incredibly helpful though and why I know that and do not practice them is beyond me!!!!

    1. I think all of us are guilty of procrastination when it comes to exercise (and other things as well for me)! I have to work on being more disciplined!

  5. When I look at Number 3, all I can think is how good your knees must be if you can get into that pose. A lot of these mimic the exercises we do in the pool at Water Aerobics. Lat night I finally slept through all the owl noises, or I would have been very interested in trying Number 10.

    1. I've never had any problems with my knees. One reason I really want to get more into Yoga is to improve my balance. I'm not as steady as I used to be; inherited that from my daddy. Thank goodness you slept through your owl noises last night!

  6. Right now the only one I think I could manage is #1. I'm currently going to physical therapy twice a week and following their prescribed routine at home. I do a balance thing similar to #6 as part of that. Stretching is good for us I know.


    1. Sounds as if you are working your own plan, Darla. Good luck!

  7. Just found this post. Must try these all. Number 5 should be done daily and I might benefit from number 7.
    Sounds interesting. Thank you once again for the information!

  8. Those two are good ones, and easy to do. Yoga is not just about exercises and body movement; it's also about a state of mind, which may be the most difficult part!

  9. Yoga poses weight lossare becoming more popular and are being incorporated into other daily fitness routines and even bootcamps! When learning Yoga you should always start with the basic beginner poses that include downward facing dog, cobra, child's pose, and more. The basic foundation poses can lead you to a better understanding of yoga, and teach you how to advance towards the harder more difficult poses.


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