10 Full Body Yoga Poses That'll Help You Cultivate Good Vibes From Head To Toe
One of the many cool parts about being a yogi is that, when you're in a funk, you always know that just a little bit of time on your mat has the power to completely transform your day. Yogic breath and movement truly cultivate good vibes from head to toe that can linger in your being for hours after the fact. And the full-body yoga poses that make your soul feel all blissed-out also have an added perk of strengthening major muscles in your body, to help you become the most empowered version of yourself.
Now, it's true that there are certain asanas in yoga that focus more heavily on some areas of the body than others, and of course, there will be days when you'll want to include only those poses in your practice, especially if you're focusing on strengthening a specific part of your body. Having said that, though, there are a lot of poses in yoga that target your entire body, and in fact, in most asanas, the emphasis is often on the center of your core, on something called your abdominal lock. In yoga, it is believed that the abdominal lock is where the origin of your inherent power resides, and it plays a huge role in helping you maintain control of the rest of your body's muscles as you move through a physically demanding practice.
When you're looking for a mix of good vibes deep in your soul, and strength in every last muscle in your body, try these 10 yoga poses to help you cultivate and harness that power.
Downward Facing Dog
Your favorite yoga teacher doesn't cue downward facing dog over and over just for fun, fam. This pose is the ultimate total-body strengthener that provides a powerful sense of stability for your entire body.
Make sure your fingers are spread wide and your hips remain high in this asana. Breathe deeply into your belly, and engage both your upper and lower body to support your weight.
Lightning Bolt Pose
Lightning bolt pose is a variation of the more commonly known chair pose. It's a bit more of a challenge, but you'll love how empowered it makes you feel after the fact.
Here, you'll want to sandwich your thighs together and really engage your triceps — envision a line of tangible energy shooting out of the crown of your head, exactly like a intense, golden lighting bolt.
Crow pose might be difficult to conquer, but simply working toward this advanced asana will give you a full-body workout and encourage you to embrace your playful side.
As a yoga teacher myself, I still have a lot of trouble with this asana. Don't beat yourself up if you can't get it right away — it's a process, my friends.
To fire up your core and your lower body, break out a boat pose and hold it for a few long, deliberate breaths.
If you want to take things to the next level, challenge your obliques a little by adding some back-and-forth arm movements to the pose, alternating from side to side until you just can't even anymore.
High Crescent Lunge Variation
High crescent lunge already works your entire body, but adding a variation, in which you send your arms and torso forward, will really spice things up and take the total-body challenge up a notch.
You might shake a bit in this asana as you maintain your balance, and that's totally OK — breathe through the uncomfortable sensations. As long as your body isn't telling you to stop or pull back, you're totally capable of expanding your limitations here.
Warrior III With Arms Extended
Engage your entire body in warrior III, squeezing your glutes and tightening your core as you stand in this asana. Draw your belly button in towards your spine, and be sure to adjust your drishti, or your gaze, to help with balance.
Bird-dog is one of those poses you'll feel just about everywhere in your body the next day: your core, your legs, and yes, even your arms. TBH, you'll probably love to hate this challenging pose.
Make sure you're going through the movements on both sides of your body, for balance and equilibrium from head to toe.
Headstands can be scary to get into if you've never tried them before, so be sure to take things slow here, and remember that getting upside down can take time.
If you are able to do a headstand in your practice, however, try piking up to the pose for an even more intense challenge.
Side Plank Variation
Be sure to add side plank into your practice whenever you want to test your balance, build upon your strength, and improve your focus.
Feel like taking things to the next level? Try lifting one leg and taking hold of your big toe with control. As you might imagine, this variation requires a decent amount of hamstring flexibility, so make sure you're warmed up and that you're not pushing past your body's natural limits.
Extended Side Angle Variation
Frame your face with your outstretched arms in extended side angle to activate your core and feel that full-body burn. Inhale as you engage your abdominal lock and activate the muscles in your back leg and glute. On your exhale, sink a bit deeper into your front knee, finding balance between flexibility and strength.