There’s a reason yoga studios have been popping up on every block lately. Not only is yoga a great way to tackle stress and enjoy some self time, but it’s also a fantastic workout for women (and men too, of course!). Depending on your moves and pace of movement, yoga can build strength, increase flexibility and even double as a cardio workout. Whether you’re a yoga pro or just starting out, here is a yoga workout for women that can be done in any gym or living room.
Tadasana: Tadasana, or Mountain Pose, is a great place to begin any yoga practice. Stand at the top of your mat with your big toes touching, arms at your side, palms forward. Stand in perfectly straight alignment and, as you breath in, stretch your arms up above your head.
Forward Fold: From here, Swan Dive (falling forward, bending toward your toes) with your arms either out wide or at your heart center (palms touching in front of your chest). Drop all of the weight of your head toward the ground, relax all muscles and hang here. This is an excellent hamstring stretch that can also be beneficial to the lower back.
Downward Dog: From Forward Fold, place your hands on the ground shoulder-distance apart. Jump or walk your feet back to the other end of your mat, hip-distance apart, creating an inverted V position. Gently press your heels toward the ground and push to create a flat back. If you need to, move around a little here, bending one knee and than the other.
Chaturanga Dandasana: Chaturanga is a support pose used to build core strength. From Downward Dog, shift forward into a plank position. Hugging your elbows into your body, shift your weight forward and lower slightly as if into the bottom of a push up. Next, place the tops of your feet on the ground and, without letting your knees touch the ground, straighten your arms, pushing your torso upright. From here, return to Downward Dog.
Warrior I: Warrior I, or Virabhadrasana I, builds leg and core strength at the same time. From Downward Dog, lift your right leg and bring it between your hands so that you’re in a lunging position. Keeping your feet where they are, slowly stand. Push to straighten your back, left leg and keep a perfect 90-degree angle in your right. Reach your arms to the sky and work to rotate your pelvis forward, toward your right foot.
Warrior II: From Warrior I, set your back (in this case, the left) heel down by shifting your toes to face left, pigeon-toing slightly. Keeping the 90-degree bend in your right knee, fan your left arm behind you and stretch your right arm forward, making a T shape with your arms. Straighten your alignment and gaze over your right, stretched fingertips, while your torso still faces the left side. If you’d like, you can flip your palms to face the ceiling, a method used by ancient yogis to draw in energy from the universe. Perform a Chaturanga and return to Downward Dog. Repeat both Warrior I and Warrior II on the left side, followed by the Chaturanga and ending in Downward Dog.
Remember, your yoga practice is always your own. Always feel free to play, adjust, modify or add on as you see fit. Use your practice to give your body what it needs.
-“Slim Down with Yoga” Prevention
-“Easy Yoga Workout” Real Simple
-“The Sequence of Yoga Asanas” ABC of Yoga
-“Yoga Poses” Yoga Journal