15 easy yoga exercises you can do at home without going to the gym

Yoga is well known across the world for its amazing physical benefits, from pain management to injury rehabilitation to overcoming physical limitations. It has also become known for its psychological benefits, with postures and exercises that can change your mood and your overall outlook on life. Many yoga practitioners attend several classes each week to reset their moods and to reconnect with their joyful and vibrant selves.
There are countless yoga postures and countless variations for each, but there are few golden poses that will always leave you feeling awakened and uplifted. Stretch, bend, and twist your way toward boundless joy with these time-tested postures. Keep in mind that some of these poses may be more advanced and it is advised that you seek the advice of a physician before beginning a new workout regiment. 
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1. Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
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How to do it:
- Lie face-down on your mat
- Fold your knees, bringing your heels toward your upper body
- Reach back and grab ahold of your ankles 
- With a deep exhale, press your pelvis down toward the ground to create your base
- On an Inhale, press your feet into your hands as you lift your head, chest, and abdomen
- Hold the pose for 5-10 breaths, releasing down slowly 
Benefits:
Bow pose helps to open your chest to increase lung capacity and oxygen within your body, reducing fatigue and strengthening the muscles of the back. This posture also counterposes habitual sitting patterns, leaving you feeling awake and vibrant!
2. Natarajasana (Dancer Pose)
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How to do it:
- Stand tall on both feet and shift the weight of your body into one leg
- Fold the knee of the opposite leg, bringing the heel toward your upper body
- Reach back and hold onto the ankle
- With an Inhale, press the foot into the hand and lift the heel upward 
- Your opposite hand can extend forward (or place on a wall in front of you to help balance) 
- Hold the posture for 3-5 deep breaths, focusing your eyes to a single point in front of you
- Repeat on the opposite side
Benefits:
Dancer pose helps to create extension in the front of the body, opening the chest and abdomen to increase blood-flow to the internal organs, increase breath capacity, and aid in digestion. The posture also helps to increase balance, strength, and concentration.
3. Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)
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How to do it:
- Stand with your feet spread 3-4 feet apart (depending on your height). Point your right toes forward and have your back toes pointing outward. Your back inner arch should line up with your front heel.
- Place your right hand down onto your right shin and extend your left arm into the air.
- Your head can turn to face the left hand, but if it is too strenuous on your neck, you can look down at your right toes.
- Hold posture for 5-10 breaths, and then repeat on opposite side
Benefits:
Triangle pose is a gentle open twist, giving your lower back just the slightest rotation to alleviate built up back pain and stress. The opening of the front body helps to create space and blood flow to the internal organs, aiding in digestion. Because of its balancing nature, Triangle also helps to build concentration and balance.  
4. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-facing Dog Pose)
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How to do it:
- Lie face-down on your mat with your hands in line with your navel
- With an Inhale, press both palms into the floor as your straighten your arms and roll your shoulders down your back. If you can, lift your knees off of the ground to deepen the pose
- The chin should look up without thrusting the neck
- Hold posture for 3-5 deep breaths
Benefits:
Upward-facing dog pose increases strength and stamina, as well as opens the chest and torso. It's the perfect counter-posture from sitting, as it lengthens the thighs and hip flexors, and improves overall posture.
5. Setu Bhandasana (Bridge Pose)
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How to do it:
- Lie down on your back with your feet flat on your mat, heels underneath your knees about hip-width apart. 
- With your arms resting by your side, press your feet into the floor and lift your hips upward as you move your chest toward your chin.
- Hold pose for 5-10 deep breaths, continuing to reinforce your hips upward and your chest toward your chin.
Benefits:
Bridge pose stretches the chest and abdomen, increasing blood flow and oxygen to the internal organs, aiding in digestion. It also strengthens and stabilizes the lower back, reducing tension from habitual sitting. 
6 & 7. Chakaravakasana (Cat-Cow Stretch)
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How to do it:
- Have your hands directly underneath your shoulders and knees beneath your hips
- With an Exhale, round your mid-back while you tuck your chin and tailbone under, coming into Cat Pose
- With an Inhale, drop your chest while you look forward and lift your tailbone upward, coming into Cow pose
- Continue moving between these two postures, Exhaling into Cat Pose and Inhaling into Cow Pose, for 2-3 minutes
Benefits:
Though technically two postures, this exercise helps to free up tension along the spinal column as you transfer between a forward bend (cat pose) and a backbend (cow pose). The continuous movement helps to stabilize and strengthen the spine and to clear the lungs, removing toxins and blockages from the respiratory system. The freeing up of tension in the spine will leave you feeling awake and smiling.
8. Vasisthasana (Side Plank)
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How to do it:
- From a straight-line push-up position (plank pose), pivot onto your right hand and right foot
- Bow your hips upward as your extend your left arm into the air
- Your head can turn to face the left hand, but if it is too strenuous on your neck, you can look down at your right hand.
- Hold posture for 3-5 deep breaths and repeat on the other side
Benefits:
Side plank is known for increasing strength in the arms, legs, and core. The extension of the side body frees up stuck space between the ribs, increasing breath capacity and overall vitality. 
9. Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Hand Stand)
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How to do it:
- Facing a wall, place your hands flat on the floor and about shoulder width apart.
- Lift your hips into the air and step in with one foot to kick the legs to the wall
- Once your legs are straight, look at the space between your thumbs as you press your body away from the floor
- Hold the pose for 3-5 deep breaths
Benefits:
Hand Stand helps to boost your energy and boost your mood quickly. By inverting your body, you're increasing blood flow to your brain, inducing an enegizing and calm response on your nervous system. Along with increased energy, this posture can also help to reduce anxiety.
10.  Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)
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How to do it:
- Stand with your feet spread 3-4 feet apart (depending on your height). Point your right toes forward and have your back toes pointing outward. Your back inner arch should line up with your front heel.
- Bend your right knee and place your right elbow down onto your right knee and extend your left arm into the air.
- Your head can turn to face the left hand, but if it is too strenuous on your neck, you can look down at your right toes.
- Hold posture for 5-10 breaths, and then repeat on opposite side
Benefits:
Extended Side Angle Pose creates lateral extension, creating space between the ribs, increasing lung capacity and opens abdominal space, aiding in digestion. It strengthens your lower body and core, and leaves you feeling awake, calm, and joyful.
11. Camatkarasana (Wild Thing)
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How to do it:
- Start in downward facing dog pose
- Lift your left leg into the air, bending the left knee, and keep reaching back with your left foot until your toes reach the ground
- Extend your left arm as you reach your pelvis upward, reaching a maximum arching of your back
- Stay for 5-10 breaths, and then switch sides
Benefits:
- Wild Thing pose creates abdominal and chest extension, as well as lengths the lateral body, increasing circulation and lung capacity. It helps to build strength and confidence, leaving you feeling healthy and happy.
12. Ustrasana (Camel Pose)
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How to do it:
- Start sitting on your heels
- Reach back with both hands and place your hands on your heels
- With an Inhale, scoop your pelvis forward (lifting off of your heels) and roll the spine forward and up as you gently tilt the head backward
- Continue to feel your chest reaching upward for 3-5 deep breaths
Benefits:
- Camel pose helps to reverse the upper curve of the spine and lengthen the front body, counterposing habitual sitting patterns. Its expressive heart opening will leave you feeling open and enthusiastic. 
13. Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior 1)
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How to do it:
- Stand with your feet spread 3-4 feet apart and have your right toes pointing forward and your left foot flat on the floor at a 45-degree angle (toes pointing forward)
- Have your left hip rotating forward with an inner rotation of the left thigh
- Bend your right knee and lift your arms into the air as you press your chest forward
- Stay for 5-10 deep breaths, and then repeat on the other side
Benefits:
Warrior 1 pose increases strength, stability, and confidence as you embody your inner warrior. It increases pelvic floor stability, creates abdominal space aiding in digestion, and stretches the shoulders, leaving you awake and vibrant.
14. Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior 2)
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How to do it:
- Stand with your feet spread 3-4 feet apart (a little wider than with Warrior 1)
- Have your right toes pointing forward and your back foot flat on the floor, with your toes pointing outward. Your back inner arch should line up with your front heel.
- Extend the arms out to the side and bend deep into your front knee (the front knee should come to hover right above your front ankle)
- Hold the posture for 5-10 deep breaths as your gaze beyond your front fingertips, and then repeat on the second side
Benefits:
Because of the sustained muscular engagement of the pose, Warrior 2 boosts stamina and endurance, helping to increase self-confidence and joy. Enjoy increased concentration and both mental and physical strength when you continue to practice this posture.
15. Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
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How to do it:
- Start laying on your back, sitting on your hands (palms faced down)
- With an Inhale, press your elbows into the ground and lift your chest upward, releasing the top of your head upside down
- Stay for 3-5 deep breaths
- To come out of the pose, press the elbows into the floor again, lift the head to look at your toes, and then release your body to the floor
Benefits:
Fish pose opens the space between the ribs, allowing for increased lung capacity. Its reversal of the upper back helps to improve posture and free up tension in the spine. The stretch of the neck helps to relieve built up stress from shoulder shrugging and jaw clenching. 
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Gerald Givens is a 500-hour certified teacher of Tantric Yoga and Meditation with over eight years of teaching experience. His teachings focus on overcoming stress and fatigue to empower practitioners to live to their fullest potentials.
Resources Gerald Givens
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