10 Yoga Poses You Should Do Every Day

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. These are problem areas for many people. Think of this sequence as your maintenance plan. It will keep you running smoothly until you can get in for a full tuneup.

Start With Pelvic Tilts

Pelvic tilt
Ben Goldstein

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

Remember—pelvic tilts are subtle. You are 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.

Cat-Cow Stretches to Warm the Spine

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. Move your head last of all.

Downward Facing Dog Is Good for Your Whole Body

Downward dog
Ben Goldstein

Press back into downward facing dog. You can hold the position or pedal the legs, bending one knee and then the other. Bend your knees and reach your butt up high. Then slowly straighten the legs. Take any other movements that help you settle into the pose. When you feel ready, hold the posture for five to ten breaths.

Lunge to Stretch Your Hips and Hamstrings

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.

Straight Leg Lunge

Straight leg lunge
Ben Goldstein

Straighten the back leg if you have dropped that knee to the floor. Slowly straighten the front leg as you forward bend over that leg. 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.

Repeat on the other side then step back to downward dog. Then step the left foot forward next to the left hand and take your lunges on that side. Come back to a downward dog when you are finished with the left leg.

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 are standing in a forward bend. Bend the knees and slowly roll up to stand in mountain pose—tadasana.

This isn't shown, but from here you may want to do several half sun salutations. If you have the time and the inclination, you can do full sun salutations here instead.

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

Standing Forward Bend—Uttanasana to Work on the Hamstrings

Forward fold
Ben Goldstein

Swan dive down into standing forward bend—uttanasana. Come up and then forward bend back into uttanasana. 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 good one 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 are 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.

Pigeon Pose—Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

Pigeon pose
Ben Goldstein

For your hip opener, do pigeon pose, placing padding under the seat 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 instead. This is essentially the same stretch but done lying on your back. It can be gentler if pigeon is too intense.

Yogi's Choice—Make It Your Own

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 even 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 are 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.

Rest in Corpse Pose—Savasana

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 during savasana 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 will see the positive effect that consistently doing these stretches has on your longer practice sessions.