10 Yoga Poses For The New Year That'll Honor Your Resolution To Move More Every Day
During the first few months of a brand new year, motivation is at an all-time high, and it's the perfect opportunity to pursue a new hobby or skill. So, if you caught yourself wistfully gazing toward your local yoga studio for most of 2017, but never actually got around to trying a class, 2018 is your time to start moving your body in ways that make you feel amazing. Whether you're signing up for a studio, or flowing in the comfort of your own home, some simple yoga poses for the new year will be sure to unite your mind, body, and soul, setting you up for a blissful 2018.
Yoga is an incredible way to marry your breath with the movement of your body to quiet your mind and ease everyday feelings of stress. It can be easy to feel like you're not "flexible" or "graceful" enough to participate in this ancient practice, but the truth is, if you can breathe, you can do yoga and, as a result, reap its many incredible physical and mental health benefits.
Sure, you're not going to start out by doing ultra complicated arm balances and deep backbends, but honestly, less is more when it comes to yoga. Honor the simplicity of the start of your yoga journey, and know that the more consistently you show up for yourself on your mat, the more you'll see your practice evolve. If you're just starting out as a yogi, try these 10 basic poses that will give your body all the TLC in 2018.
1. Easy Pose (Sukhasana)
Simply sitting in a cross-legged position may seem like the easiest thing in the world, but it can actually be quite difficult in practice.
This basic asana calms the mind and strengthens your back. The real challenge is in maintaining good posture, resisting the urge to fidget, and actually quieting your mind. This is an amazing way to start your new yoga routine, so take this time to reflect on the reasons why you showed up on your mat and what you hope to gain as your practice evolves.
2. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Downward facing dog is a strengthening, rejuvenating, total-body stretch that is often returned to throughout any yoga flow as an opportunity to check in with both the body and the breath.
Make sure that your fingers are spread wide on the mat, and that your feet are placed hip-width apart. Gaze toward your belly button as you raise your hips higher toward the ceiling. On each breath, cultivate gratitude and inner strength.
3. Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
Uttanasana is an incredibly detoxifying and soothing pose that often helps you transition back and forth between seated and standing asanas.
If your hamstrings feel tight and constricted, allow yourself to have a generous bend in your knees, resting your upper body onto your thighs for a restorative fold.
4. Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
If you found yourself sitting much more often than you'd intended to throughout 2017, chair pose is an incredible asana that'll help strengthen your glutes and counteract all the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
As you sink into your imaginary chair in utkatasana, lift your chest higher and maintain even, deep breaths and a steady, forward-facing gaze.
5. Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
Triangle pose is an asana that lengthens, stretches, and strengthens your hips, groin muscles, hamstrings, shoulders, chest, and spine — so, yeah, basically almost your entire body.
If you feel unstable in this pose at first, you can try doing it against a wall for more support. Breathe evenly and look up toward the ceiling while you enjoy the gentle, yet powerful properties of trikonasana.
6. Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III)
Begin to locate your center of balance with warrior III, staying with your breath and finding a non-moving object to focus your gaze on for stability.
If you feel a bit wobbly, don't be afraid to lean on the wall when you're starting out. As you progress, you'll be able to let go for a little longer each time.
7. Tree Pose (Vriksasana)
Learning how to steady yourself in tree pose isn't always easy, but the feeling of finding your center while rooting yourself into the earth is definitely worth the practice.
If and when you fall, take that as an opportunity to practice healthy self-talk: Don't beat yourself up for your imperfections, and always show yourself compassion and determination by simply getting up and trying again.
8. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
Bridge pose is a great way to help you open up the muscles in your back.
Place your feet hip-width apart, and pretend that you're squeezing an imaginary beach ball between your knees. This will help prevent any unnecessary strain to your sacrum.
9. Supine Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)
Release any tension that you're holding in your lower back by letting everything go in a luxurious, reclined spinal twist.
If your neck allows it, gaze over your opposite shoulder to deepen the detoxifying twist even more.
10. Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Make sure to always end your practice with an incredibly soothing and restorative corpse pose. Allow your entire body to melt into the mat, releasing anything and everything that doesn't serve you, both physically and mentally.
Close your eyes and observe your thoughts without judgment, thanking yourself for dedicating time to honor your body and all of the incredible things that it's capable of.