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25 yoga postures to know to tone your body and relax

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 Thousands of years old, yoga is a practice of choice to boost your well-being while toning your figure. Its principle is based on the sequence of immobile postures ('asana' in Sanskrit) more or less easy to perform and hold. A real challenge for the mind and for the body. If like 2.8 million French people you want to be able to benefit from its many virtues, here are 25 yoga postures to exercise at home. To your carpets!

25 yoga postures to know to tone your body and relax


1. Tadasana or the mountain 

  • The benefits of this posture: this asana improves balance and maintenance, strengthens the ankles, knees, and thighs, and firms the buttocks. It usually serves as a starting position for standing sequences, but it can also be practiced alone.
  • How to make it: standing, feet flat on the floor, pull your rib cage towards the ceiling. The hips, knees, and ankles should be perfectly vertical. Then open your chest and bring your shoulder blades closer in the back. Finally, release the arms to the sides, palms inwards or forward. Hold the posture for about 1 minute while breathing slowly.


2. Vriksasana or the tree

  • The benefits of this posture: this asana allows you to work on the balance of the body. It strengthens the thighs, calves, and ankles.
  • How to achieve it: start by realizing the posture of the mountain. Anchor the body weight in the left foot, then lift the right foot. The right knee is slightly bent, open the hip far outwards, the pelvis well stable, then place the foot at the level of the ankle, knee, or left thigh according to your level. Join the palms in front of the heart and hold the balance for about 1 minute. Then return to the starting position and start again with the left leg.

3. Trikonasana or the triangle

  • The benefits of this posture: this asana strengthens the legs and abdominals. It also allows you to work on the flexibility and balance of the body.
  • How to do it: sit in the mountain position and then spread your feet the width of one leg. Stretch your arms horizontally to the sides, palms down. Turn your right foot outward, making sure that the right heel remains aligned with the left heel. On an exhalation, stretch the pelvis and torso slowly to the right, sliding the right hand along the corresponding leg. Depending on your level, you can put your hand on your knee, ankle, or on the floor. The shoulders should be well aligned, the arms outstretched, and your gaze should be turned to the left hand. Hold the position for 1 minute and then start again with the left leg.

4. Savasana or the corpse posture

  • The benefits of this posture: this asana is an elongated posture that relaxes the body and empties its mind. It can be practiced at the very beginning of the session, but also at the very end, to finish its practice with a few minutes of relaxation.
  • How to do it: lie on the floor with your back flat. Spread your legs slightly and tiptoe outward. Place your arms along the body, palms of your hands facing the sky. Breathe regularly and release tension. Hold the position for as long as you feel the need.

5. Halasana or the plow

  • The benefits of this posture: this inverted asana relaxes the back by stretching the spine, and strengthening the abdominals.
  • How to make it: Lie on your back and place your arms along the body, palms flat on the floor. On an inhale, raise your legs vertically, your toes towards the sky. On an exhale, swing your legs above your head until the feet touch the ground. You can use your hands to lift your lower back. Hold the posture for about thirty seconds and then gently unroll your back until you return to the initial position. The legs should remain tense.

6. Ustrasana or the camel

  • The benefits of this posture: this asana opens the chest, heart, and throat, and strengthens the back and thighs.
  • How to do it: Get on your knees with your legs hip-width apart. The calves should be parallel. Place your pubis forward, just like your sternum to open the rib cage. The chin is slightly lowered towards the sternum. Then place your hands on your heels. You can keep the heat in the same position, directed towards the chest, or extend the neck in the extension of the spine, however without releasing it completely backward in order to preserve the cervicals. Hold the position between 30 seconds and 1 minute.

7. Marjariasana or the cat

  • The benefits of this posture: this asana stretches the spine and strengthens the abdominals. 
  • How to do it: sit on all fours on the floor, knees apart from the width of the pelvis, wrists positioned under the shoulders, and shoulders backward. The palms of the hands and fingers should be well on the ground. On an exhalation, bring the navel towards the spine to round the back and release the head. Inhale to resume the starting posture. Repeat this movement slowly for 1 minute. The neck should always be in the extension of the spine.

8. Balasana or the child

  • The benefits of this posture: this asana is very effective for stretching the muscles of the lower back and relaxing. It is particularly pleasant after postures such as the bow or bridge that require arching the spine.
  • How to do it: Get on all fours by making sure your big toes touch each other. On a long exhalation, bring the hips back to the heels and ankles. Lay the forehead against the ground. You can leave your arms outstretched in front of you, such as in a back stretching position, or bring them close to the body so as not to strain the shoulders. Hold the posture for 1 minute, breathing deeply.

9. Utkatasana or the chair

  • The benefits of this posture: this asana works balance, strengthens the thighs and ankles, and softens the shoulders. 
  • How to make it: standing, anchor your feet well to the ground. Put your hands on your hips and stretch your shoulders backward. Inhale and then bring your pool closer to the ground, as if you were going to sit on an imaginary chair. Remember to bring the tailbone back to the ground and bring the navel in so as not to arch the back. Once well settled, raise your arms without contracting your shoulders and join your hands. Hold the posture for about 1 minute without forgetting to breathe normally.

10. Uttanasana or the stork

  • The benefits of this posture: this asana allows you to stretch the legs and spine as well as relax the neck.
  • How to do it: sit in the position of the mountain, feet firmly anchored to the ground. Raise your arms, and, in a long exhalation, flex the body forward, looking far ahead with your fingertips. The arms remain close to the ears and the back should be straight and not rounded. At the end of the exhalation, grab your ankles with your hands or place them next to your feet. Depending on your flexibility, you can bend your knees slightly if it's easier for you. Hold the position for 30 seconds and breathe normally.

11. Virabhadrasana 1 or warrior 1

  • The benefits of this posture: this asana promotes the opening of the hips, the development of the rib cage, and the strengthening of the legs.
  • How to do it: sit in the mountain position and then spread your feet the width of one leg. Raise your arms above your head and join hands. Rotate the left foot about 30 degrees inward and the right foot 90 degrees outward. Turn your hips to the right and bend your right knee while keeping your left leg outstretched. The head should remain straight, in the extension of the spine. Hold the position for about 1 minute and then start again on the other side.

12. Virabhadrasana 2 or the warrior 2

  • The benefits of this posture: this asana strengthens and stretches the legs, ankles, groin, and shoulders.
  • How to do it: sit in the mountain position and then spread your feet the width of one leg. Stretch your arms horizontally to the sides, palms towards the floor. Rotate the left foot about 30 degrees inward and the right foot 90 degrees outward. Bend your right knee while keeping your left leg stretched out and your spine straight. Hold the position for about 1 minute and then start again on the other side.

13. Ardha-bhujangasana or the sphynx

The benefits of this posture: this asana strengthens the spine, opens the rib cage, and stimulates the heart.
How to make it: lying flat on your stomach on the floor, your forehead resting on the carpet, place your arms along the body. Lower the tailbone well, so that your pelvis is glued to the mat. Then raise the torso by placing your elbows below the shoulders, the forearms parallel to each other. Open your chest and lengthen your neck, all while being careful to keep your shoulders low and sink your pelvis into the ground. Hold the position for 1 minute and breathe normally.

14. Urdhva-mukha-svanâsana or the dog head up

  • The benefits of this posture: this asana strengthens the abdominal belt and arms. It also stretches the back, shoulders, and spine.
  • How to do it: lie on your stomach, legs hip-width apart and the top of your feet on the ground. Bend your elbows and place your hands on either side of the chest. On an inhale, push on the palms of your hands and stretch out your arms. Also, raise your hips and thighs so that only your hands and the tops of your feet are on the ground. Open your chest (be careful to keep your shoulders low) and look up to the sky. Hold the posture between 30 seconds and 1 minute while breathing normally.

15. Adho-mukha-svanasana or the upside down dog

  • The benefits of this posture: this asana stretches and strengthens the spine, shoulders, and back of the thighs.
  • How to achieve it: start in the child's posture, with your hands on the ground far in front of your head. Turn your toes upside down and then move your thighs up to the belly. Then push the floor back with the palms of your hands and raise your buttocks to the sky. Stretch your legs and rest your heels on the ground. Depending on your level, you can slightly bend one knee and even both. The arms should be extended and the elbows should not go outward. Hold the posture between 30 seconds and 1 minute while breathing normally.

16. Viparita-Karani or the half candle

  • The benefits of this posture: this asana stretches the back and strengthens the thighs and abdominals.
  • How to do it: lie on your back, shoulders well on the ground. Place your arms along the body, palms of your hands towards the carpet. Straighten your legs vertically. Hold the position for as long as you want while breathing deeply. If your level allows it, you can also take off your pelvis from the ground and come and place your legs stretched above your head, as if to come and perform the posture of the plow.

17. Sarvangasana or the candle

  • The benefits of this posture: this asana stretches and tones the shoulders, neck, spine, and abdominals.
  • How to do it: Lie on the mat, your back flat, and position your arms along the body, palms on the floor. Bring your heels back to the glutes and lightly tuck the chin towards the chest to stretch the cervicals. Then raise your knees to your chest. To raise your pelvis, push the ground back with your hands and then place them on your lower back as if to hold it, and stretch your legs. Join the feet in point and breathe through the nose. Hold the position between 30 seconds and 1 minute, then fold the knees and unroll the spine on the floor to return to the starting position.

18. Dhanurasana or the bow

  • The benefits of this posture: this asana allows you to stretch the spine and back, as well as strengthen the arms. 
  • How to do it: Lie flat on your stomach on the floor, stick your pubis against the mat and stretch your legs back. Place your arms along the body, palms against the floor, and pull your shoulders back. To create the arch, bring your heels back to the buttocks and grab your ankles on the outside. Climb your feet to the ceiling by inhaling. Hold the position for 1 minute, breathing normally through your nose. The pendulum movement is quite normal and allows to massage the belly.

19. Vakrasana or twisting

  • The benefits of this posture: this asana stretches the back and neck, and softens the hips and spine.
  • How to do it: Sit on the ground and then place your right foot against your left buttock. Then place your left foot behind your right knee, passing over the right leg with the left foot. Put your right hand on your left foot, and your left hand behind your buttocks, flat against the floor. Keeping your back straight, rotate your hips to the left to align with your legs. Finally, turn your head to the left, the opposite of your legs. Hold the posture for about 1 minute while breathing normally.

20. Jathara parivartanasana or elongated torsion

  • The benefits of this posture: this asana stretches and strengthens the back.
  • How to do it: Lie on your back trying to keep your shoulders firmly on the ground. Fold your legs towards your chest and then drop your knees to one side. Spread your arms horizontally and place the palms of your hands on the ground or towards the sky. Then turn your head in the opposite direction to your knees. Breathe slowly. Hold the posture for about 1 minute and start again on the other side.

21. Setu bandhasana or the half-bridge

The benefits of this posture: this asana is ideal for opening the bust, neck, and shoulders, and stretching the spine. To work the thighs and glutes, it is possible to place a cork yoga brick between the knees.
How to do it: lie on your back and then bring your feet back to your buttocks. They should be spread the width of the hips so that the knees do not touch each other. Inhale and lift the hips, feet firmly anchored in the ground. Finally, join your hands under your back. Hold the posture for about 1 minute, breathing normally.


22. Chakrasana or the wheel

  • The benefits of this posture: this asana stretches and strengthens the muscles of the back, the spine, and the abdominals. It also opens the rib cage.
  • How to do it: Lie on your back, bend your knees and bring your heels closer to your glutes. Then place your hands under your shoulders. The fingers should point in the direction of the body and the elbows should be shoulder-width apart. On an inhale, press your hands and stretch out your arms to take off your back and head off the ground. On a second breath, lift your pelvis and form an arc with your spine. Arms and legs should remain straight. Hold the position for about thirty seconds and then bend your elbows to rest your head, your neck, and then your shoulders on the ground. Then rest your pond on the ground.

23. Kumbhakasana or the board

  • The benefits of this posture: this asana tones the abdominal muscles as well as the arms and back. 
  • How to achieve it: settle into the dog's upside-down posture. On an inhale, move the chest forward until the arms are perpendicular to the ground and the shoulders directly above the wrists. The body should form like a straight line, from the neck to the feet. Hold this posture between 30 seconds and 1 minute while breathing deeply.

24. Natarajasana or the dancer

  • The benefits of this posture: this asana strengthens the muscles of the legs and buttocks, opens the bust and shoulders, as well as improves the overall balance of the body.
  • How to do it: settle into the posture of the mountain and then tilt all your weight on your right foot. Then bend the left knee and raise the left heel to the left buttock. Keeping the bust as straight as possible, grasp the inside of the left foot (or ankle or tibia, depending on your level) with your left hand. Raise your left foot towards the ceiling and stretch your thigh back, mobilizing the gluteal muscles. Finally, stretch out your right arm in front of you and lean forward to place the bust parallel to the ground. Hold the posture between 30 seconds and 1 minute.

25. Vyaghrasana or the tiger

The benefits of this posture: this asana stretches the spine and tones the hips and thighs.
How to do it: on all fours on the floor, position your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. On an inhale, raise your head and right leg, which is slightly bent, to the sky. On an exhalation, try to touch your head with the tip of the right foot by slightly digging the back. Hold this posture between 30 seconds and 1 minute and then start again with the left leg.*
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