Yoga for Women: Learn Some Great Postures for the Female Body
Yoga is a practical way for women to create strength and tone their bodies. Often, women do not want the bulk and brawn associated with the male physique. Yoga offers the perfect alternative to heavy weightlifting routines as it is effective at strengthening the core and enhancing muscle tone, depending on the style of yoga performed.
Nowadays yoga is being paired with alternative forms of exercises including boot camps and free-weight's to add to it's ability to strengthen and tone the body.
Related Article: Combining Bootcamp and Yoga: Ideas for Yoga Bootcamp
Yoga for women specifically, not only can be useful for weight management, or to help improve strength of the body, but also that of the mind. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, yoga uses techniques like asanas (body posturing), breathing techniques (pranayama) and meditation to not just relieve stress, and improve emotional health, but also to improve overall quality of life.
Other benefits include; smoking cessation, lessoning lower-back pain and neck pain, tension headaches, as well as menopause symptoms.
What Does The Research Say About Yoga For Women
A study conducted specific to yoga on stress, anxiety and depression in women, concluded that it does indeed have a role at stress reduction and can be used as complementary medicine.
Other research has indicated positive effects on yoga in pregnancy, and women trying to conceive. A study conducted by Fertility Centers of Illinois and Pulling Down the Moon on yoga's impact on fertility found it to have a 20% reduction in anxiety compared to a 2% reduction in the control groups.
It's also been associated with being beneficial in controlling pelvic pan associated with endometriosis. According to this particular study women stated that they "identified a relationship between pain management and breathing techniques or pranayama learned in yoga".
Research has also been conducted on various styles of yoga and it's benefits, like hatha yoga. In one such study hatha yoga showed clear and significant benefits for stress in middle aged women if done on a regular basis.
Below are just a few asanas that are perfect for the female body and a great way to start getting the benefits of yoga today.
Child’s Pose (Balasana)
Child's pose is the perfect start to any yoga
routine. It is an extremely popular pose and can help enhance posture and
stretch out the back's delicate muscles after a long day of sitting or any strenuous work environment.
A beginner friendly pose, Balasana is oftentimes seen in restorative yoga sessions and is a type of forward-bend, and inversion asana. It can provide a stretch for the lower back, ankles, knees, hips and neck.
1. Start on your yoga mat, kneeling down.
2. Attempt to touch your big toes together, while sitting on the heels of your feet.
3. Your knees should slightly flare out to the sides. Exhale.
4. Now bring your upper body or torso in-between your legs, toward the mat.
5. Your hands can be positioned to the side of your body, or overhead in front. Breath for 4-8 cycles pressing your stomach into your thighs while you inhale.
Related Article: A Popular Question: Is Yoga Helpful for Weight Loss & Why?
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
A well established asana in many yoga classes, Downward facing dog is an excellent beginner-friendly pose for anyone
practicing yoga. This pose is an essential part on any list of positions for yoga for
It is an inversion, forward-bend type pose, that helps with both stretch and strength. Specifically, Adho Mukha Svanasana engages the arms, back, core (abs), hamstrings, calves and pelvic region.
Garland Pose (Malasana)
This is a great pose when you are
feeling tight in the hips and groin, a stellar pelvic floor emphasizing asana.
1. Starting in a standing position, place your feet close together.
2. Squat down, keeping your feet close, attempting to keep the back of your heels on the mat. (use a yoga blanket if not able for support)
3. Your hips should be lower then your waist at this time.
4. Separate your thighs out-wide. Place your elbows against your inner thighs and bring your palms together.
5. Begin to press your elbows into your thighs. As your hold this pose, attempt to add to the pressure placed on your inner thighs to deepen the stretch over time.
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Goddess Pose (Utkata Konasana)
As the name implies, the goddess pose is another fantastic yoga pose for women. When in this pose, one should be focusing on stretching the quads, glutes pelvis and tightening the core of your body. Continued use of this pose will help with balance, as well as strengthening your arms, shoulders and mid-section.
1. Begin by taking a wide stance, wider then shoulder width. Your toes should be facing out and heels inward.
2. Engage the glutes to help rotate the thighs.
3. Raise the arm above your head, as to make a 90 degree angle at the elbows out to the sides.
4. Press the heels down and inward. Squat so that your knees are overtop your toes.
5. Hold this position for 4-8 breath cycles.
Boat Pose (Paripurna Navasana)
To get the most out of any yoga routine or exercise in general, you should always be focused on developing core strength and engaging the core of the body.
The boat pose can be used in daily yoga routines to help with just that. While it may look easy, the boat pose really activates the core, lower back and hips and as you do this asana more, you will increase the amount of time that you are able to balance and hold the position.
Paripurna Navasana focuses on strength and balance and is an intermediate level yoga pose.
1. Begin in the seated position on the mat. Your feet should be flat on the floor with your knees bent.
2. As you sit on the mat, attempt to bring your torso as close to your thighs as you can, without rounding the spine.
3. Place your hands under your knees. Relax and control your breathing.
4. Once comfortable, begin to raise your feet off the ground until your lower legs or shins are parallel to the floor.
5. If able, extend your arms toward your feet, palms-up. Hold for a few breathing cycles.
Bridge Pose (Setubandha Sarvangasana)
A beginner-friendly pose, Bridge pose helps to stretch out the chest and promotes
better breathing. Performing this back-bend pose will open up the chest and allow deeper
oxygen flow within the body. This pose also helps to activate the core, hips, thighs and glutes. This position, like many of these yoga poses for women, may be done done using a yoga mat for added comfort.
Plank Pose (Phalakasana)
The plank pose is an effective element in a female yoga
routine for the development of the core, arms, shoulders, and legs. This is another pose that looks easier then it is. Getting into position is fairly straight forward, but being able to extend the amount of time you hold this asana, will take practice and effort.
1. Bring yourself up into a pushup-type position.
2. Spread your fingers wide and evenly distribute your weight, attempting to take pressure off your wrists.
3. Your shoulders should be staked overtop your hands.
4. Engage your ribcage, drawing your naval toward your spine.
5. Holds will vary based on ability. Start with 5-10 seconds.
Fierce Pose/Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
The fierce pose can be another great asana for women, as it helps with balance, stretches/aligns and helps strengthen the vertebral column as well as activates the glutes, thighs, calves and ankles. This yoga pose requires you to reach up toward the sky, stretching the shoulders and thorax.
1. Begin, standing on your yoga mat, feet hip-width apart. You should be balanced, with your weight evenly distributed between them.
2. Spine erect and your arms at your sides.
3. Begin to move as if you were going to sit back into a chair. As you sit deeper into Chair pose, you can gradually drop the depth of your glutes to the floor.
4. Lift up your chin slightly to deepen the stretch.
5. Reach with your arms overhead, but angled slightly in front of your head. Interlock your fingers or keep them parallel to one another.
6. Hold for 30 seconds - 1 minute.
A Quick Beginner Morning Yoga Routine for Women
These eight yoga postures can be great beginner building blocks
for any female yoga plan. Yoga is a great way to stretch, decompress, and tone
muscles in a natural way. As an added benefit, you can do a lot of these poses
anywhere, as well as modifying them to suit your comfort level (as seen in the video).
So whether you're cooped up in an office all day, or just feeling
tight, many of these yoga poses can be a great quick pick-me-up and stretch. Add yoga props, like yoga blocks to any routine and create added comfort or a different dimension to the workout routine.
As always we appreciate you stopping in and hope you now have some great starting points for your yoga routine. Please share you experiences of how yoga has benefited you in some way in the comments section, and share our posts on your social media platforms!