Yoga is one of the most popular exercises in the United States, with millions of people practicing. It is known to promote both strength and flexibility, and also serves as a means of meditation, clearing one’s mind.
While yoga may seem intimidating to outsiders, there are plenty of poses that even a novice yogi can do. You may even find yourself thinking, “Wow, that was easy,” but trust us, it’s slowly but surely sculpting your body.
In celebration of International Yoga Day 2016, find a clear space wherever you are — be it at work or at home — to stretch out and try a few simple movements. Stick with it and you may just find that you’re doing handstands in no time.
Here are 18 easy poses to try today:
Side Plank Pose: Planks are great for building core strength. The added challenge of balancing your body weight with one arm will work the many muscles in both your bicep and forearm as well. Challenge yourself — clear your mind of everything but the task at hand.
Low Lunge: Lunges are a quick and easy way to stretch your legs while also building up their strength. Those struggling with balance issues can practice this pose facing a wall, pushing your big toe on your leading foot into the wall to help keep you stable.
Happy Baby Pose: This pose may seem like it’s having little to no effect, but it’s great for stretching the spine and groin. It’s also been suggested that happy baby pose can help wake you up and de-stress you.
Garland Pose: Garland pose is another easy, low-impact pose. Do not be fooled by how easy it is to do — this pose stretches your ankles, groin and torso and has also been proved to help tone stomach muscles.
Extended Puppy Pose: Feeling stress in your shoulders and/or back? Get down into extended puppy!
Sphinx Pose: Sphinx pose is more than just a good stretch for your chest and shoulders. It will also strengthen the muscles in your butt as well as along your spine and, of course, relieves stress.
Warrior Pose: This simple pose is easy to do and works a multitude of body parts. Give it a whirl and watch as your muscles change over time! Just be careful to keep your back long and your heels firmly on the ground.
Gate Pose: This pose is great for alleviating the aches and pains associated with both aging and stress. It works your back as well as your shoulders and hamstrings, and has been known to stimulate abdominal organs and the lungs.
Locust Pose: This easy pose has many uses — it is great for the amateur yogi looking to gain strength while also stretching many body parts at once. Locust pose may also improve your posture with enough hard work and practice.
Fish Pose: Yoga is great for stretching and toning, but it has also been said to have therapeutic applications. Fish pose is believed to help alleviate certain ailments, help shake tired feelings and assist with anxiety. Beginners should be careful, however — many have strained their neck trying this pose.
Extended Side Angle Pose: Give your tired legs a break and try this easy and effective stretch.
Tree Pose: Looking to improve your balance? This is the pose for you. It is also known to help with sciatica pain and helps stretch legs, shoulders and groin muscles.
Warrior II Pose: Channel your inner warrior by giving this pose a try at your desk — your body will thank you later!
Chair Pose: This particular pose is great for leg strength and is also said to stimulate abdominal organs as well as the diaphragm.
Downward-Facing Dog: This pose is not only a great full body workout, it is said to rid the body of fatigue and have a calming effect.
Half Lord of the Fishes Pose: Don’t be intimidated by the twisting required for this pose. It’s easy to do and great for stimulating digestion as well as strengthening shoulders, hip muscles and the neck.
Standing/Seated Forward Bend: Get out of your chair and give your back a much-needed stretch. This pose can be done sitting or standing — whichever best suits you and your needs.
Bridge Pose: Another fantastic way to show your back some love. This pose can be done with or without the assistance of equipment.
Be kind to your body — stretch, eat well and try not to let stress get the best of you. Happy International Yoga Day!