5 Asanas what you should do daily
While celebrating International Yoga Day I want to share most important yoga poses with you what should be done on daily bases to keep your body healthy, strong and in balance.
it’s a good idea to take a critical eye to your practice now and then and look for the areas where you could strive for greater balance.
That’s what yoga is all about after all, and practitioners of every level can benefit from going back to basics regularly to reexamine the actions and alignment of foundational standing poses, backbends, forward bends, and inversions.
Here are asanas every single yogi should be practicing on the regular. Here’s my top 5 list along with focus tips for beginner, intermediate, and advanced practitioners.
This beautiful squat is one of my all-time favorite poses. Malasana releases the lower back, opens the hips, and turns the practitioner into a cute little nugget. Explore variations and tips on how to make this pose easier or how to go deeper.
It’s common for beginners to struggle with dropping their heels to the ground. Make sure to spin your heels in and toes out, as well as to widen your stance. If it irritates your knees to drop into a full squat, sit on one or more blocks.
Step up the hip-opening element of this pose by incorporating your arms. Lean forward to wiggle your upper arms to the inside of your legs. Draw your palms together in front of your heart and push your heart into your thumbs. This will naturally encourage external rotation and give you that extra ahhhh moment.
Full Malasana is traditionally performed with the feet together, knees wide, and the torso in a forward fold with either the arms extending or wrapped behind the heels. You typically see this pose done with feet wider than the hips (which is still my personal favorite to release my back and hips after a long day).
Extended Triangle Pose/Utthita Trikonasana
Trikonasana. Such a classic standing pose! We live in a world where standing poses are often ignored, but this one is part of my regular practice come rain or shine. It is a glorious way to release your lower back, strengthen your core, and expand your body (and mind).
Students tend to collapse their lower body trying to get their hand or palm to the ground. Skip that step and place your palm either on a block outside of your shin or on your shin below your knee. This enables you to even out through both sides of your ribcage creating even length in the trunk of your body.
It’s so easy to get sassy in this pose! Most people stick out their butts (pitch in their lower backs) and puff their ribs. Focus on corseting your ribcage in (wrapping the bones towards your midline) and keeping your lower belly engaged and lifted to create space in your lower back.
The final step is taking both of these tips and looking down. You want to line your torso up with your front leg (most students lean toward the inside). Can you keep both sides of your waist even, ribs in, belly engaged and lower back long as you lean back? Of course, you can! Practice, practice, practice.
Camel is a love-hate pose for many people. The key is to trigger all of the proper alignment in the body to keep the lower back supported and the neck happy. The beauty lies in the fact that there are so many variations. So here we go!
Stand on your shins with your knees and feet hip-width apart. Wrap your hands around your hips encouraging your tailbone to drop down while your lower belly lifts up to neutralize your pelvis. Keep your hands on your hips and lift your heart up powerfully as you roll your shoulder heads back. Hold here with hands on the hips for about 8 breaths.
Begin the same way as above but curl your toes under. Neutralize your pelvis then draw your hands to your ribcage encouraging them to lift and expand. Roll the shoulders back and keep the arms neutral as you drop your hands down to grab your heels. Keep hips stacking over the knees and the chest lifting.
Keep all the previous actions but this time with the feet flat. After you adjust your ribs, keep the powerful lift of your chest and let your head fall back. Grab your heels and soften your face and throat.
Head-to-Knee Forward Bend/Janu Sirsasana
This one may seem random, but I have affection for it going all the way back to my Ashtanga days. This fabulous forward fold releases the calf and hamstring of the straight leg with the added benefit of opening the hip of the bent-knee leg. It also teaches the student to notice the effects of small nuances, such as squaring the chest with the straight-leg knee.
Sit up on a blanket or block. Place a strap over the ball of your straight-leg foot. Hold onto each side of the strap and focus on sitting tall without rounding your spine. Gently pull back on the strap so you feel it pull into your foot encouraging it to stay flexed.
To start, inhale and extend your spine long. As you exhale, pivot your belly button to face your straight-leg knee. Keep the twist and length as you grab either edge of your straight-leg foot.
Follow the steps above, but as your flexibility increases, clasp your outer wrist with your inner hand thumb and middle finger around the ball of your foot. Inhale as you clasp, and keeping your gaze forward, exhale and bend your elbows wide to draw you deeper into the fold.
Tripod Headstand/Sirsasana II
Inversions are a magical group of postures that reverses our perspective and give us a strong dose of empowerment. Tripod Headstand is one of the easier inversions to balance because of the large foundation. It’s also fantastic to understand if you want to move into advanced transitions such as lowering into arm balances.
Place the crown of your head on the ground with your hands shoulder-width apart and elbows stacking over the heels of your hands. Curl your toes under and straighten your legs to enter a Dolphin Pose. Focus on keeping the elbows in (engage your adductors) and draw your shoulders up away from the ground to prevent collapsing into your neck. Try walking your feet in without loosing these actions.
Keep the same actions as above, but as you gain flexibility, walk your feet in enough so you can place one knee at a time onto the back of your arms (aim closer to the armpits if possible). Again, keep the elbows in and shoulders up to prevent collapsing your arms from the weight of your legs.
From the knee position draw them up off of your arms and into your chest like a cannon ball. Continue to draw the legs up until they straighten out keeping the legs hugging into the midline the entire time. You can also enter this posture from Dolphin walking your feet in, keeping the legs straight, and entering from a press.