The Main Groups of Yoga Postures
The main groups of yoga postures are: standing, seated, reclining (prone & supine), forward bends, back bends, side bends, twists, inverted and balancing postures.
These poses invigorate the mind and body by eliminating tension, aches, and pains. Internally, these postures stimulate digestion, regulate the kidneys, and alleviate constipation, as well as improve circulation and breathing by developing the strength of the legs and the flexibility of the pelvis and lower back. Through regular practice, standing poses lend strength and mobility to the hips, knees, neck, and shoulders. On a psychological level, standing poses create confidence, enhance willpower, and strengthen character.
Generally, these poses are considered calming, as they soothe the nerves, eliminate fatigue, and refresh the brain. They also help regulate blood pressure and assist in recuperation from illness, as well as promote restful sleep. Some poses are beneficial in that they increase flexibility in the lower back, hips and hamstrings.
These poses fall into two categories: prone and supine poses. The prone poses are done facing the floor, either on the hands and knees or lying on the stomach. They rejuvenate and energize the body and can be especially strengthening for the arms and back. Supine poses are done while lying on the back. For the most part, these poses are more relaxing and restful. Reclining poses serve mainly to stretch the abdomen and increase the mobility of the spine and hips, thus opening the groin and strengthening the back, arms, and legs. The less strenuous of these poses traditionally are done at the end of a practice session to cool down the body and restore energy.
Forward bends improve the blood circulation, aid digestion and calm the emotions. They stretch the lower back and lengthen the hamstrings
Back bends invigorate and encourage deep breathing. They open and energize the body and mind; they develop courage and lift depression. They open the chest, stimulate the nervous system, strengthen the arms and shoulders and increase flexibility of the spine.
Side bends stimulate the main organs, for example the liver, kidneys, stomach, and spleen.
These postures free, energize and balance the body. Sitting twists are the most intensive, as they increase the range of motion of the spine. They promote flexibility in the spine, hips and upper back, thus relieving backaches, headaches, and stiffness in the neck and shoulders. This group of postures also tones and stimulates the abdominal organs, thus aiding digestion and relieving constipation. Ideally, twisting postures are done after a series of sitting poses or forward bends, which gives the hips and spine a proper warm-up. When done after backbends, they tend to relieve any lower back discomfort.
Inverted postures reverse gravity, bringing fresh blood to the head and heart, thus revitalizing the mind and the whole body. These poses tone the internal organs and glandular system, stimulate brain function, improve circulation and refresh tired legs.
Balancing postures develop lightness, strength and agility. They also help develop body control, muscle tone, coordination, and concentration.
In yoga, the body is gently maneuvered in all directions. Consequently every muscle is stretched and toned. The internal organs are massaged, squeezed, and expanded, improving their general function. The skeletal system is flexed, extended, rotated, and twisted, creating greater joint mobility. The spine is encouraged to maintain a healthy, upright, and pain-free condition. The circulation is improved. The breathing capacity and elasticity of the lungs is enhanced.
I have included some of my favorite beginner yoga poses:
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