Yoga is a practice that encourages mindfulness of both your mental and physical state. Being in tune with the dual sides of the waking body will help you maintain a sense of internal balance.
This integration is beneficial beyond exercise, it can be applied to your approach to friends and relationships or at work.
Here are a handful of positions you can practice to help with your mindfulness:
Mountain Pose - Tadasana
The Mountain Pose is one of the simpler poses to do in yoga. Performing this pose helps bring awareness to all parts of the body. To start, stand tall with your arms by your side. Make sure your feet are planted firmly on the ground, bringing awareness to all four corners of the foot.
Elongate your spine while opening up your chest. Relax your shoulders up to your ears and settle the collar bones down your spine. Keep your chin parallel to the ground, and gaze soft. Check in with the sensations in your body.
Tree Pose - Vrksasana
The Tree Pose helps your mind find balance while standing on one leg. This, along with the Mountain Pose, has the tendency to allow the mind to wander.
Begin in Mountain, shift your weight to one leg with your arms by your side. Breathe in while you bring your other foot up to rest on the inside of your thigh. Don't dump your weight all into one hip, make sure your keep them level with a slight bend in the knee.
The pose can be adapted to any level. If the foot doesn't come to meet the thigh, no worries, rest it with toes on the ground or with foot on the calf.
When you're feeling balanced, bring your hands to prayer to help maintain center. When you are ready, switch legs and begin the process again.
Low Lunge - Anjaneyasana
Doing a Low Lunge can help you focus on your breathing, balance, and core awareness. For an advanced move, being in Downward facing Dog with your feet hip width apart and your toes tagged slightly inward.
Breathe in and look forward. As you shift forward, bring one knee up and through to place the foot beside your thumb. Plant your foot and sweep the arms out and up overhead as you raise your torso.
Tuck the tailbone down, lengthening your lower back and engaging your core. Shift the gaze upward. Switch to the other side when you are ready.
Reclining Bound Angle Pose - Supta Baddha Konasana
Lay down with your back flush to the ground, letting the earth come up to support you. Raise your legs and let the soles of your feet drop, your legs should be in a comfortably bent position.
Allow your knees to fall open with inside of the feet touching. Bring your arms out to a Texas-T shape before bending at the elbows with the palms up.
Take a few rounds of breath.
Hero’s pose - Virasana
Hero’s pose is beneficial for stretching the thighs, feet, and ankles. Start in a kneeling position, sitting on your heels with the top of the foot on the ground.
Place your hands on your lap, stretching your tailbone to the ground. Open the arm by bringing your shoulder blades to touch.
Eventually, you should be able to bring your feet out from under so they are resting on either side of the tailbone. Don't push yourself. Breath and feel the stretch from the knees, legs into the front body.
Seated moving meditation
Seated moving meditation is good for stretching your upper body. After making your way into a crossed-legged position, begin with your hands in your lap. Close your eyes and focus on the rhythm of your breath.
As you inhale, bring your arms up and out to your sides with palms down. Imagine you're gathering energy between your hands. Still on the inhale, bring your palms together at your heart.
If you can, retain the breath as you bring your touching palms up and over your head. Almost like a shark fin.
Exhale as you stretch your arms upwards toward the sky like you're holding a beach ball. Inhale as you bring your arms back to to the ground.
Repeat the motions 4-5 times.
Sitting in a cross-legged position, place your left palm on the floor. As you inhale, bring your right arm up above your head as you lean into that foundation on the left side. Breathe into the side-body as you notice the sensation in your right side.
Stay in this position for 5 breaths and then switch to your left side, with right balm on the ground.
Cat-Cow Stretch - Chakravakasana
Begin on your hands and knees hips and shoulder-length apart. Keep your spine is parallel to the ground.
On in the inhale, let your tail bone and shoulder tilt out and up towards the sky. Allow the belly to become full and heavy.
Exhaling, tuck the tailbone and allow your spine to follow the undulation. Imagine pulling your belly button to your spine as your arch your back, dropping your head to the ground. Maybe shake your head in "yes" and "no" motions.
Child’s pose - Balasana
Child’s pose is a wonder with easing back pain. You can shift from either a kneeling position or in table top. Create a deeper stretch by touching the big toes together and bring the knees to the edge of the mat.
Lean forward and rest your forehead on the ground bringing your arms gently to your sides or stretched out in front. Stay for at least three cycles of deep breath
Feel free to go "off the rails" with any of these motions - shifting and stretching into any areas that need extra attention.