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5 Powerful Yoga Poses

If you have 5 minutes get on your yoga mat, being consistent everyday can help create a good habit to tune in and focus on your body. If you are feeling lethargic and tired, get on your yoga mat and try the 5 simple poses that can stimulate your brain and bring you back to your energized self. Instead of that extra shot of espresso do a yoga pose to wake up your body.

1. Up Dog (Stretches and strengthens the lower back)

Lie on belly with forehead touching floor. Place palms facedown by middle torso. * Pull legs together and press the tops of feet into floor. * Draw elbows close to sides of body. * Using the strength of your back, slowly lift chest off floor, rolling shoulders backward. Hold for 10 seconds, breathing evenly, and then gently release to floor.

2. Down Dog (Builds shoulders and reduces tension in your neck)

Start on all fours with wrists 6 to 12 inches in front of shoulders. Separate knees hip-width apart and curl toes. * Pushing evenly into palms, lift knees off floor. Lift tailbone toward ceiling and push top of thighs back so your body looks like an inverted V. * At first, keep knees bent and heels off floor. Slowly straighten knees but don't lock them. * Gently move chest back toward thighs until ears are even with upper arms; don't let head dangle. Keep hips lifting and push strongly into hands.

3. The Butterfly (Relaxes your lower back and hips)

In seated position, bring soles of feet together and put hands on ankles. Allow knees to relax toward floor, and hinge forward at hips as far as you can. Hold for 10 to 15 breaths.

4. The Bridge (Opens up the spine)

Lie on back with knees bent and hip-width apart. Keep feet about 6 inches in front of butt. * Push hips toward ceiling. * Your hands can be flat by your sides or, for a deeper stretch, squeeze shoulder blades together and interlace hands, keeping them on mat directly under back. * Hold for 60 seconds, breathing deeply.

5. The Tree (Teaches balance; improves concentration)

This one teaches not only physical balance but concentration: Stand with feet hip-width apart and arms at sides. Shift weight onto left foot. * Bend right knee and use right hand to place right foot on inside of left thigh, just above or below knee. * Bring hands together in front of chest in prayer position. Fix gaze on an object, for balance. Hold for 30 seconds. Slowly lower arms. Return to standing. Repeat on other side.

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