You’ve probably heard about yoga and its many benefits, but you may not know that yoga is more than just a great way to relax. Yoga also offers an excellent workout for your body and mind. In addition to yoga poses, there are two yoga exercises that can help you get the most out of your time on the mat.
These two yoga exercises will open up your hips, increase your balance, strengthen your core muscles, improve flexibility in the spine and shoulders while simultaneously calming down anxiety or stress – all without adding any weight-bearing exercises! It’s really a win-win situation for anyone who wants to reap some physical benefits from their yoga practice.
In this article, we’ll show you how each of these yoga exercises can be incorporated into your yoga practice.
1. Crescent Lunge to Revolved Triangle (Sun Salutation A)
To do this yoga exercise during yoga class, step onto your yoga mat with your hands at your sides and bring yourself up into a standing position. Move slowly through the following yoga poses:
• Mountain Pose
• Lunge Pose
• Runner’s Lunge
• High Plank to Low Plank Pose
• Warrior I
Your yoga instructor may have you do this series of yoga poses as a Sun Salutation A. If so, simply move from yoga pose to yoga pose without pausing for an inhale or exhale until you get to the yoga pose known as Warrior I.
• Warrior I is when your right foot is in front of you and your back leg is stretched out behind you. Lift up your torso so that it forms a straight line with the tops of your thighs, hips, and shoulders forming 90-degree angles.
• Next, move into Revolved Triangle Pose by stepping your foot back into a low lunge with your back leg extended straight.
Turn to the yoga mat and lean slightly forward, turning your right hip towards the front of your yoga mat. Extend your torso over your left leg so that you’re resting on the outside of your left thigh.
• Finally, move your hands to the heart center, lift up through your torso and come back to standing.
Go for this yoga pose in yoga class again with the opposite leg sequence (left foot forward, right foot back), or try Sun Salutation B if you’d like a more dynamic yoga workout.
2. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana)
The yoga exercise known as Bridge Pose offers you a deep stretch of the entire backside of your body. To practice this yoga pose, begin by lying on your yoga mat with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground about hip distance apart. Extend your arms fully out to either side so that they’re parallel with the edges of your yoga mat.
• With an inhale, press up through your feet and lift your hips off the yoga mat.
Lift up one foot at a time so that only the tops of your toes are touching the yoga mat – but don’t worry if you can’t quite get your whole foot on the yoga mat.
• Continue pressing up through your hips and feet as you lift your hips even higher into the yoga pose known as Bridge Pose.
• Adjust your arms so that they’re slightly more elevated or slightly less elevated, depending on the tightness of different parts of your backside.
• Engage your shoulder blades in toward your spine in order to protect the neck.
• Hold this yoga pose for several long, deep breaths before slowly coming back down to the yoga mat with an exhale.