There is no better way to begin 2016 than by doing something good for your body—like yoga. This can be as simple as practicing at home for five minutes each day. We asked Daniel Lacerda, founder of Mr. Yoga, Inc. and author of 2,100 Asanas: The Complete Yoga Poses ($23; amazon.com), for three postures to make you stronger, happier, and healthier in the new year. Read below for Lacerda’s tips and get stretching!
1. Prapada Utkatasana 1: Tip Top Fierce Pose 1
“Standing is something we do everyday without concerning ourselves about proper form. Standing poses teach us to be grounded. Concentrating on proper posture while performing standing asanas (poses) increases strength in the spine, leg muscles, and joints. Arteries in the legs are also stretched increasing blood flow to the lower limbs and reducing the risk of blood clots.”
2. Lolasana: Pendant Pose
“We need to remind ourselves that with balance yoga poses, falling is inevitable. Their purpose is to teach us how to focus, persist, and persevere with grace and humility. Balance yoga poses challenge us to combine strength and relaxation, to balance the body and mind. They develop our core strength and tone our legs and arms. They also improve our coordination, posture and confidence.”
3. Uttana Shvanakasana: Intense Extended Puppy Dog Pose (also known as Heart Pose and Extended Dog Pose)
“Back bending not only improves spinal flexibility but, more importantly, it increases the spine’s ability to bear stress. Since our spine houses our central nervous system and supports our entire skeletal structure, strengthening our backs becomes vital for preventing injury, aches and exhaustion. When our backs are strengthened, our posture improves, allowing us to stand with confidence and move with ease.”