Yoga poses for overall fitness

 1. Mountain pose ( Tadasana )

Mountain pose

Steps:- This is one of the most basic of all standing poses and is often the beginning pose of any standing exercise. Begin in standing pose with feet flat on the ground and placed hip-width apart and toes pointing forward. The feet should be parallel to each other. Lifting the toes, widen them and then place them back on the floor. Feel your body weight evenly distributed around both feet. The legs to remain straight and knees shouldn’t be locked, thighs should be squeezed.  Shoulders to be pulled back and down and arms on the sides, the tailbone to be stretched and the crown of head pointing towards the ceiling. Inhale your arms up pointing the fingers to the ceiling. Exhale bringing the arms back by the sides. Repeat for 8-10 breaths.

Benefits:- Improves posture, balance of the body. Helps increase concentration, relieves symptoms of sciatica, reduces flat feet. Helps in increasing height.

2. Eagle Pose ( Gardudasana )

Eagle pose

Steps:- Stand straight on the floor. Now wrap your left leg around your right leg in such a way that the left thigh is over the right thigh and the top of left foot touches the calf muscles of the right leg. The left toe should point towards the floor. Wrap the left arm around your right arm so that the elbow of left arm is above the elbow of right arm and the palms should be joined to form a “namaste”. Now, bending the right leg slowly lower the body till the left toe touches the ground. Keep your gaze straight at a point in front of you. Maintaining your balance, stay in this pose for 2-3 minutes. Breathe normally. To release, straighten the right leg and unwrap the leg and hands. Repeat with other leg and hand i.e balancing on left leg and wrapping the right leg on left one.

Benefits:- Improves body balance. Helps increase concentration. Stretches the thighs, legs, shoulders,arms and back. Strengthens the knees, ankles and muscles of the leg.

3. Bound angle pose/ butterfly pose ( Baddha Konasana )

Bound angle/butterfly pose

Steps:- Sit straight on the mat. Now bend your knees out to the sides and bring your feet together facing each other so that the soles of your feet touch each other. Interlace the fingers around your toes and hold. Try bringing in your feet as close to the groin as possible without giving a strain. Keep your back erect, chest out and your gaze straight at a point in front of you. The shoulders should be back and relaxed. Try resting your knees as close to the floor as per possible without forcing. Breathing slowly and steadily try to hold the pose for 2-3 minutes. Keeping the feet together, one can also move the knees up and down depicting the fluttering of a butterfly as the name suggests.

Benefits:- Increases flexibility of the groin muscles, hips and inner thighs. Stretches the groin, knees and thighs. Stimulates the reproductive system and digestive system. Relieves menstrual problems and sciatica pain. Best exercise for pregnant women to ease childbirth. Relieves stress and tiredness in the legs.

4. Lord of dance pose ( Natrajasana )

Lord of dance pose

Steps:- Stand straight on the mat with feet slightly apart and hands by your side. Transfer your weight onto your left leg, inhale and bend the right knee lifting the right leg backwards and up so that the ankle touches the buttocks. Hold the ankle of right leg with your right hand. Now stretch your left arm straight in front so that it is parallel to the ground. Keep your gaze at an object in front of you and focus to maintain balance. On exhale lift the right leg up with help of your right hand, pulling it up towards the ceiling. At the same time keeping your back straight , lower your torso and left arm towards the ground. The right hip should be kept parallel to the ground. Breathing normally, hold the pose for 20-30 seconds. To release, inhale bringing the left hand back by your side and exhaling release the right hand and lower the right leg back to ground. Repeat with left leg up now balancing on right leg.

Benefits:- Improves body balance. Stretches the shoulders, thighs, hips, chest. Strengthens the ankles and legs. Improves posture, concentration. Tones the leg muscles.

5. Extended hand to big toe pose ( Utthita Hasta Padangustasana

Extended hand to big toe pose

Steps:- Stand straight on the mat with feet slightly apart and hands by your side. Shift your weight onto the left leg. Bend your right knee lifting it up till it touches your abdomen. Now sliding down your right arm on the inner thigh of right leg hold the big toe of the right foot. Place the left hand on your waist and keep your back straight. Hold your balance and gaze at an object in front of you. Inhale, holding the right foot on the toe, extend the right leg in front and straighten it as much as possible for you. By straightening the right leg, your right had will also straighten. Once you attain the balance then you can swing the right leg to the side. Breathe normally and hold the pose for 20-30 seconds. To release, inhale the foot back to the center and exhale bringing the foot back to the ground. Now repeat with other foot.

Benefits:-  Improves body balance. Stretches the legs,arms and hamstrings. Strengthens the legs and ankles. It is helpful for curing symptoms related to osteoporosis, Parkinson disease.

6. Lion Pose ( Simhasana )

Steps:- Sit on your heels and knees in a kneeling position. Buttocks to be rested on your heels. Now widen your knees to create space between the legs. Rest your palms on the mat between both legs and under the thighs, palms facing down. The fingers should be pointing towards your body. Resting your upper body weight on the hands, bend slightly forward and at the same time lengthen your spine and lift the chin upwards. Keep your gaze at the third eye ( space between the eyebrows. As per ancient tradition the third eye is an invisible eye often symbolizing the energy point or the point which provides energy of higher consciousness. Inhale slowly and deeply and then open the mouth and stick the tongue out and in downward direction and exhale slowly through mouth making a sound of HAAAAAH resembling the roar of the lion. Inhale back to the initial position. Repeat for 2-3 times.

Benefits:-  It strengthens the throat, lungs and respiratory system. It cures problems related to the throat like tonsils, stuttering. It stimulates the thyroid glands. It helps cure bad breath and also helps in releasing any kind of tension in facial muscles making the skin look young and beautiful.

7. Hero’s pose ( Virasana )

Hero's pose

Steps:- Start by sitting on your knees which should be hip width apart. The top of the feet should be flat on the ground. Now slightly move the feet more than hip width apart and then rest your sitting bones on the floor in the gap between both the feet. The toes should point each other whereas the heels will be touching the sides of the hips. Keep your spine straight and shoulders back and down. Look straight at a point in front of you keeping the crown of the head pointing towards the ceiling. Rest the palms on the knees, facing down. Take deep and long breath. Breathing, hold the pose for 1-2 minutes. To release the pose, bring the legs straight in front and massage the thighs with your hands to release any discomfort.

Benefits:- This pose stretches and strengthens the thigh muscles, legs and ankles. Improves posture and helpful in meditation and breathing exercises. Also aides digestion.