Stretching is an important and necessary part of your workout routine. Not only does stretching improve your flexibility, but it also stretches your muscles and increases your range of motion. These benefits are also present in yoga! However, although stretching and yoga are two completely different practices, they can look and feel similar. To change up your post-workout recovery, we’ve compiled a list of the best yoga poses that you can incorporate into your routine. These poses will leave you feeling recharged by targeting all of the areas and muscles you just worked. Check them out below!
Downward Facing Dog
This beginner-friendly pose is a great way to improve your posture, enhance hip flexibility, and strengthen your back, wrists, ankles, and toes. Grab a yoga mat and come to your hands and knees with your wrists underneath the shoulders and your knees underneath the hips. Push back through your hands to lift your hips and straighten your legs. Feel free to keep a slight bend in the knees for a modification.
Opposite Hand To Knee Stretch
This intermediate-level pose benefits the hips and lower back, improves balance, and can increase your range of motion. You won’t need any special equipment for this pose. Bring your knee in front of you and place your right hand on your hips and your left hand on your knee. Hold for 20 seconds, then inhale while opening your knee to the side and bringing it back to center. Repeat on both sides and remember to keep both hips pointing forward.
Sumo Squat Yoga Pose
This intermediate-friendly pose helps boost energy in the body and is excellent for improving balance, strength, and stretching. To try this pose, stand feet hip-width apart, bend your knees as much as possible to lower hips for a deep squat. Up for a challenge? Lift up both feet and maintain balance. Keep your core tight and focus on slow movements.
Reverse Warrior Pose
This beginner-level pose is recommended for those interested in a standing position pose that focuses on strengthening, balancing, and stretching. Beginning in the Warrior II pose, lean your torso toward the front of your mat. Then, bring your right hand up toward the ceiling for a good stretch. Rest your left hand gently on the back of your left thigh and gaze up towards your right hand. Repeat on the other side. Be sure to breathe throughout the pose and make sure that your knee does not go in front of your toes.
One-Legged Downward Dog Pose
This intermediate-level pose will enhance hamstring flexibility and hip flexion. When doing this pose, you will be able to improve your balance and strength, while getting a powerful stretch in. Starting at the Downward Facing Dog position (See #1), inhale as you lift your leg up. Repeat with the other leg. Remember to keep your leg straight and in line with your spine.
Lord of Dancers Pose
This advanced-level pose will improve your mental focus and balance, while also serving as a great hip and back stretch. To try this pose, start off by pressing your right foot into your hand. Hinge at the hips and stretch your left arm towards the front of the mat. Then, raise your right knee upwards while still pressing your foot into your hand. Try this pose for a couple of seconds and then repeat on the other side. Remember to keep a slight bend in the knee. To modify, feel free to place your hands at your hips for support.
Want to practice more yoga? Head over to CHI-SOCIETY.com to discover the best of Chicago Yoga!