10 Yoga Poses You Should Do Every Day

This mini routine will make a big difference in how you feel

Some days, it's just not possible to put in a full hour of yoga. But most days will allow for this 10-to-15-minute sequence that stretches the back, hamstrings, and hips—the key problem areas for many people. Think of this sequence as a maintenance plan that will keep you running smoothly until you have time for a full tune-up.

1
Pelvic Tilts

Pelvic tilt
Ben Goldstein

The first few pelvic tilts will reveal any traces of low back pain and stiffness. Do them slowly and keep going until the movement feels fluid. After 10 to 20 rounds, you'll likely feel more limber. 

Remember that pelvic tilts are subtle: You're simply rocking your hips towards your face, as shown, without lifting your butt off the floor. You should start off with your lower back just slightly curved, and as you perform the movement you should feel your lower back pressing into the floor.

2
Cat-Cow Stretches

Cat cow
Ben Goldstein

Continue warming up the back with 5 to 10 cat-cow stretches. If the movement feels familiar, it's because the pelvis is moving in essentially the same way as in the pelvic tilt. The cat-to-cow stretch extends that movement along the entire spine, helping to awaken and invigorate your whole body.

Be sure to pay attention to your breath as you move between these poses. Inhale when you arch the back and exhale when you round the spine. Initiate each movement from your tailbone and let it ripple up the spine, moving your head last of all. Continue the movements for 5 rounds.

3
Downward-Facing Dog

Downward dog
Ben Goldstein

Press back into downward-facing dog: Bend your knees and reach your butt up high, then slowly straighten the legs. Use any other movements that help you settle into the pose. When you feel ready, hold the posture for 5 to 10 breaths, "pedaling" your legs (bend one knee, then the other) if you want to further stretch the hamstrings, calves, and feet. 

4
Low Lunge

Lunge
Ben Goldstein

Step your right foot forward next to your right hand, coming into a low lunge. You may want to drop your back knee down to the floor at first for a nice stretch in both hips. Keep the back leg straight if you want to begin to work into your hamstrings, which run along the back side of your thighs. Hold for 3 to 5 breaths. Move directly into the straight-leg lunge (shown below).

5
Straight-Leg Lunge

Straight leg lunge
Ben Goldstein

Straighten the back leg if you've dropped that knee to the floor. Slowly straighten the front leg as you forward bend over it. Try to keep the front foot flat on the floor and don't force the leg to come straight. You can use blocks under your hands if they don't easily reach the floor when you straighten the front leg. Hold for 3 to 5 breaths, then step back into downward dog.

Step the left foot forward next to the left hand and take your low and straight-leg lunges on that side. Come back to a downward dog when you're finished with the left leg.

6
Mountain Pose and Raised-Arms Pose

Mountain pose and raised arm pose
Ben Goldstein

Walk your feet to the front of the mat until you're standing in a forward bend. Bend the knees and slowly roll up to stand in mountain pose

This isn't shown, but from here you may want to do several half-sun salutations. Try to do the sequence of poses matching each breath with a movement. If you have the time and the inclination, you can do full-sun salutations, a longer version of the sequence, instead.

From mountain pose, take the arms out to the side and up to the ceiling. Press the palms together, coming into raised-arm pose. Make sure to slide your shoulders down, away from your ears.

7
Standing Forward Bend

Forward fold
Ben Goldstein

Swan dive down into standing forward bend. Come up and then fold back into another standing forward bend. To get a good hamstring stretch, do this slowly.

While in this forward bend, you may want to do a few variations to bring yourself deeper into the pose. You can try taking a yogi toe lock with your fingers hooked around your big toes to deepen your forward fold. If that's easy, try slipping your upturned palms under your feet. Another modification is to bend the knees and bring the palms flat next to your feet, then work on straightening the legs while keeping the palms flat. Make sure you're bringing weight into the balls of your feet so that your hips stay directly over your ankles.

When you do this pose at home, you can take as much time as you want to hang out, a chance you don't often get in a class.

8
Pigeon Pose

Pigeon pose
Ben Goldstein

For your hip opener, do pigeon pose, placing padding under your hips as necessary. It's best to stay in a forward fold in pigeon for 10 to 20 deep breaths to give your body time to release. If you do this every day, you'll really notice a difference.

If you prefer, take eye of the needle pose (Sucirandhrasana) instead. This is essentially the same stretch but done lying on your back. It can be gentler if pigeon is too intense.

9
Yogi's Choice

Happy baby
Ben Goldstein

Ask your body what position it really needs today. Tune in to what feels tight and focus your attention there. Don't worry if your position isn't a conventional yoga pose. If you're ready to wind down, happy baby or a supine twist are good options.

If you're feeling energized, take this opportunity to work on a pose that you want to improve, perhaps an inversion like headstand or an arm balance like crow. Just spending a few minutes a day on a difficult pose makes a huge difference as you gain confidence and work on your strength and flexibility.

10
Corpse Pose

Corpse pose
Ben Goldstein

Spend a few minutes resting in corpse pose to let your body absorb the benefits of your practice before going on with your day. Using props can help make this pose more comfortable and relaxing.

A Word From Verywell

Spending 10 to 15 minutes a day on these poses will enhance your yoga practice. Over time, you'll see the positive effect that consistently doing these stretches has on your longer practice sessions.

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