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. Think of this sequence as a maintenance plan that will keep you running smoothly until you have time for a full tune-up.


Watch Now: 10 Yoga Poses You Should Do Every Day


Pelvic Tilts

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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 reps, notice if you feel any relief in your back.

Remember that pelvic tilts are subtle. You're simply rocking your hips towards your face, without lifting your butt off the floor. This small move helps those with low back pain because it strengthens the core muscles that support the spine, as well as improves spinal alignment.

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place your arms out straight.
  2. As you exhale, tilt your hips back to press your lower back into the floor. You will feel your abs contract.
  3. Hold for 3 to 4 seconds, before returning to the starting position.
  4. Repeat 12 reps. Do 2 to 3 sets.

Cat-Cow Stretches

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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, increasing flexibility in the spine.

  1. Start on all fours, with your hands under your shoulders and your legs hip-width apart.
  2. Arch your back and tuck in your tailbone, as you look down at the ground.
  3. Pause at the top.
  4. Drop your navel down to the ground, as you title your pelvis forward.
  5. Look up at the ceiling as much as is comfortable without hurting your neck.
  6. Repeat the sequence 5 to 10 times.
  7. Initiate each movement from your tailbone and let it ripple up the spine, moving your head last of all.

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.


If this move hurts your wrists, place your hands in fists to take some pressure off. Place a cushion under your knees or use a yoga mat if this move bothers your knees.

You can also perform it sitting in a chair. Scoot to the edge of the chair and perform the same motion listed above. Tuck your tailbone in and arch your back up as you look down to the ground, followed by looking up to the ceiling as you arch your back the other direction.


Downward-Facing Dog

Downward-Facing Dog

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The downward-facing dog increases both flexibility and strength. It stretches your hamstrings, calves, and shoulders. It strengthens your core and arms. Research has found that this pose strengthens your external obliques, which helps stabilize your back.

  1. Start on your hands and knees.
  2. Bend your knees and reach your butt up high, then slowly straighten the legs.
  3. Use any other movements that help you settle into the pose. Keep your heels on the ground.
  4. Place your hands in front of your head and think about relaxing your shoulders as you sink into the pose.
  5. When you feel ready, hold the posture for 5 to 10 breaths.
  6. You can pedal your legs (bend one knee, then the other) if you want to further stretch the hamstrings, calves, and feet. 


If your hamstrings are tight, you may not be able to keep your legs completely straight or keep your heels on the floor. You can start with your knees slightly bent, and slowly work your way up to straight legs.


Low Lunge

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This low lunge move stretches your hips, including hip flexors, as well as your hamstrings and calves. It is also a strengthening move. As you step forward, it works your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes.

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


If you don't have the balance to do this move, you can also perform it holding onto a chair or stool for added stability. You also don't have to go all the way to the floor. Go down as far as you comfortably can, feeling a stretch in your hips and calves, and slowly work your way down to the floor.


Straight-Leg Lunge

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The straight-leg lunge is an excellent move to stretch your hamstrings, as well as your lower back. It also strengthens your core and improves your balance, as your muscles must work to stabilize you.

  1. Straighten the back leg if you've dropped that knee to the floor from the low lunge position.
  2. Slowly straighten the front leg as you forward bend over it.
  3. Try to keep the front foot flat on the floor and don't force the leg to come straight.
  4. Hold for 3 to 5 breaths, then step back into downward dog.
  5. Step the left foot forward next to the left hand and take your low and straight-leg lunges on that side.
  6. Come back to a downward dog when you're finished with the left leg.


You can use blocks under your hands if they don't easily reach the floor when you straighten the front leg. As your flexibility improves, use shorter blocks until you can remove the block completely.


Mountain Pose and Raised-Arms Pose

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This mountain pose to raised-arms sequence helps loosen up stiff muscles and improve flexibility in your hamstrings, shoulders, and thoracic spine. It also strengthens your core and back muscles. This is a great sequence to do to improve posture if you sit at a desk for long periods of time.

  1. Walk your feet to the front of the mat until you're standing in a forward bend.
  2. Bend the knees and slowly roll up to stand in standing mountain pose, keeping your shoulders back and core tight.
  3. From mountain pose, take the arms out to the side and up to the ceiling.
  4. Press the palms together, coming into raised-arm pose. Invite the shoulders to relax.

From here you may want to do several half sun salutations. Try to match each breath with a movement as you do the sequence of poses. If you have the time and the inclination, you can do full sun salutations, a longer version of the sequence, instead.


Standing Forward Bend

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The standing forward bend (also known as Uttanasana) looks simple, but it has many benefits. It stretches your hamstrings, calves and lower back. Experts say it yoga poses including the standing forward bend relieve anxiety or stress and help reduce insomnia and promote restful sleep.

  1. Swan dive down into standing forward bend. To get a good hamstring stretch, move into the fold slowly.
  2. Once folded, you can choose how you want to hang out in this shape. Options include bending the knees, clasping opposite elbows with opposite hands, or pedaling the legs.
  3. Hold for 15- 30 seconds.
  4. Slowly come up to standing.


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

Make sure you're bringing weight into the balls of your feet so that your hips stay directly over your ankles.



Verywell / Ben Goldstein

For your hip opener, the pigeon pose is a fantastic move that stretches your piriformis muscle, psoas, thighs, groin, and back. It you sit for long periods of time or have back pain, this move helps loosen up your hip and back muscles.

  1. From downward-facing dog, bring your right knee forward to the floor on the outside of your right hand.
  2. Release your left knee to the floor.
  3. Square your hips towards the front of your mat.
  4. If you feel stable, bring your torso down into a forward bend over your right leg.

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.


Yogi's Choice

Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana)

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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.


Corpse Pose

Corpse Pose

Verywell / 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. This pose helps quiet your mind, as well as cooling down your body from your exercise. Using props can help make this pose more comfortable and relaxing. It can also be done at night for a calming transition into sleep.

  1. Lie on your back and let your entire body relax.
  2. Let your legs fall to the side as your relax all the muscles in hips and thighs.
  3. Keep your arms relaxed at your sides, with your palms upward, letting your fingers curl naturally.
  4. Relax your face and shoulders. Close your eyes and let your breathing happen naturally.
  5. Stay in this position for 5 to 10 minutes.

A Word From Verywell

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

5 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Minicozzi SJ, Russell BS, Ray KJ, Struebing AY, Owens EF Jr. Low Back Pain Response to Pelvic Tilt Position: An Observational Study of Chiropractic PatientsJ Chiropr Med. 2016;15(1):27-34. doi:10.1016/j.jcm.2016.02.009

  2. Takaki S, Kaneoka K, Okubo Y, et al. Analysis of muscle activity during active pelvic tilting in sagittal plane. Phys Ther Res. 2016;19(1):50–57.

  3. Grabara M, Szopa J. Effects of hatha yoga exercises on spine flexibility in women over 50 years oldJ Phys Ther Sci. 2015;27(2):361-365. doi:10.1589/jpts.27.361

  4. Ni M, Mooney K, Harriell K, Balachandran A, Signorile J. Core muscle function during specific yoga posesComplement Ther Med. 2014;22(2):235-43. doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2014.01.007

  5. Harvard Health. Yoga for Better Sleep.

By Ann Pizer, RYT
Ann Pizer is a writer and registered yoga instructor who teaches vinyasa/flow and prenatal yoga classes.