With the multitude of research-supported benefits of yoga--from improved flexibility and balance to reduced stress and improved mood---it's not surprising so many people are eager to roll out their mats and experience a physical yoga practice for the first time. For those seeking to establish a personal practice at home, consider exploring a few foundational yoga poses, including the following postures that focus on establishing and maintaining stability and mobility throughout the body.
Focus: Thoracic spine mobility
Begin in a hands and knees position with wrists below shoulders and knees below hips. As you inhale, soften belly toward floor, gently arching the back while tilting tailbone and chin toward ceiling. As you exhale, gently round spine drawing chin toward chest, then shift hips back toward heels. Inhale once again, shifting weight forward to return to an all fours position, repeating the sequence of movements for a total of 5 breaths.
Focus: Hip mobility and core stability
Lie on back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, positioned hip-width distance apart. Feet should be positioned close enough to the body that fingertips can lightly graze the back of the heels. To maintain alignment in the lower body, you may wish to place a block between the inner thighs. Relax arms alongside the body with palms down and allow back of head to rest comfortable on the mat. On an inhale breath gently and lift glutes off of the floor, guiding pelvis toward ceiling. Hold at the top of the movement for 3-5 breaths before slowly lowering to starting position and repeat once again.
Supported half kneeling gentle twist
Focus: Thoracic spine and hip mobility
From a high kneeling position step right foot forward toward front edge of mat. For super er comfort and support, you may wish to place a folded towel or blanket below the left knee. Shift weight slightly forward, deepening bend in right leg to allow right thigh to draw parallel to the floor, keeping knee tracking in line with the second toe. Place a block to the inside of the right foot at an accessible height of your choosing. Place left hand atop the block and draw right hand to right hip, keeping chest squared over right thigh. On an inhale breath lengthen spine, drawing crown of head slightly forward. On an exhale breath, rotate the torso to
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