Best Yoga Poses For Your Health – Forbes Health – Forbes

Best Yoga Poses For Your Health – Forbes Health – Forbes

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If you’re looking for an elixir for your tech neck and aching back—along with your mental health—roll out your yoga mat for some simple relief. Don’t consider yourself a yogi? No problem. Even basic yoga poses offer tremendous benefits.
Yoga can help with back pain, flexibility, stress reduction, mood and sleep, according to Ai Mukai, M.D., a board certified physiatrist with Texas Orthopedics in Austin, Texas. To get started, try these beginner yoga poses.
Health benefit: Savasana might look more like a snooze fest than a yoga pose, but it’s actually one of the best yoga poses for your overall health and well-being. By focusing on your breath while relaxing your body, you can release tension and potentially lower your heart rate, giving both your body and mind a boost. Research shows it can also help with diabetes management.
Savasana is one of the best yoga poses for beginners, according to Sage Rountree, co-owner of the Carolina Yoga Company and author of Everyday Yoga. “If you can lie there, you can do it [corpse pose],” she says.
How to do it: 
Health benefit: Legs up the wall promotes relaxation while stretching your hamstrings and supporting your circulatory system. Elevating your legs above the level of the heart helps support the flow of blood back to your heart, decreases any leg swelling and/or feelings of fatigue, according to Dr. Mukai.
How to do it: 
Health benefit: Cat-cow stretch is one of the best yoga poses for back pain and flexibility, Gary Soffer, M.D., an integrative medicine specialist at Yale Medicine, describes it as “a gentle but dynamic set of two poses that helps loosen all of the back muscles.” It does this by helping mobilize the joints in the spine.
How to do it: 
Health benefit: Downward facing dog is one of the most versatile beginner yoga poses you can find. It not only helps with back pain and core strength, but also promotes flexibility from head to toe. It creates traction in the lower back, which takes pressure off the spine, according to Dr. Mukai. Meanwhile, your hamstrings and calves also get a good stretch.
How to do it:
Health benefit: By stretching your lumbar spine, this beginner yoga pose promotes flexibility and helps manage back pain. Once you’re situated, rocking gently from side to side can give your lower back muscles a massage. “This is a place where we often hold tension that can be at the root of back pain,” says Dr. Soffer.
How to do it: 
Health benefit: Bridge pose promotes core and glute strength and, in doing so, helps prevent back pain. “This pose simultaneously strengthens your core and your lower back muscles,” says Dr. Soffer. “The stronger your core, the less work your back needs to do.” This pose is also beneficial because it stretches the front of the hips, which can get tight after sitting for long periods of time.
How to do it:
Health benefit: Also known as bound angle pose, this basic yoga pose helps with flexibility, according to Dr. Soffer. By letting gravity lower your knees, it opens up your hips. In fact, a study performed on people with diabetes showed that, in combination with other yoga asanas, it improved subjects’ total cholesterol, blood glucose and overall sense of well-being.
How to do it:
Health benefit: In this pose, you mimic sitting in a chair, as you hold a static squat with your feet together. Chair pose is “super” for developing both upper and lower body strength, particularly in your glute and back muscles, according to Rountree. It also helps with balance, especially if you lift your heels.
How to do it:
Health benefit: Locust pose is great for both flexibility and back pain, says Rountree. It serves as an antidote to the forward hunched posture we so often adopt in our daily lives.
How to do it:
As you experiment with basic yoga poses, Rountree suggests easing into a sustainable routine. Even 10 minutes a day is a great starting point. “Don’t be afraid to do just a little bit on your own at home,” she says. “A little bit a couple times a day is going to be way better for your body than to binge on a huge amount once a week.”
Golec de Zavala A, Lantos D, Bowden D. Yoga Poses Increase Subjective Energy and State Self-Esteem in Comparison to “Power Poses.” Frontiers in Psychology. 2017;8:1-12.
Ni M, Mooney K, Harriell K, Balachandran A, Signorile J. Core muscle function during specific yoga posesComplementary Therapies in Medicine. 2014;22(2):235-243.
Malhotra V, Singh S, Sharma SB, et al. The Status Of NIDDM Patients After Yoga Asanas: Assessment Of Important ParametersJournal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research. 2010;4:2652-2667.
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Pam Moore is a freelance writer, occupational therapist, body-positive health coach and ACE-certified personal trainer. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Guardian, Time, Runner's World, Outside and more. Based in Boulder, Colorado, she's also an Ironman triathlete, marathoner and host of Real Fit, a podcast featuring real conversations with women athletes on topics like body image, confidence and empowerment.

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