Bikram or Ashtanga yoga may give you a good workout, but their prescribed sequences may get, well, boring. Give your yoga practice a lift by trying some new poses. Nobody knows exactly how many Hatha yoga postures there are – some estimates say thousands – but there are plenty to choose from. For the best flow, move from standing, to hands and knees, to seated on the floor and, finally, lying down. Try something new every day to stay interested.
The Sun Salutation is probably the best-known yoga sequence; it actually is comprised of 12 different postures -- some of them repeats -- and gives you a full-body workout. Many yoga practitioners use it as a warmup. Start in Mountain pose, then proceed through Upward Salute, Standing Forward Bend, Lunge, Downward-Facing Dog, Plank, Four-Limbed Staff and Upward-Facing Dog. You then return to Lunge, Standing Forward Bend, Upward Salute and, finally, Mountain.
Standing Yoga Postures
Standing yoga postures keep you grounded as they stretch and strengthen major muscle groups; try Chair, Half Moon and Garland. Standing postures done with feet spread apart stretch the adductors, hamstrings and groin muscles; these include Revolved Side Angle and Extended Side Angle, Extended Hand to Big Toe, Warrior I and II, Low and High Lunge, Extended Triangle, Intense Side Stretch and Gate pose. Standing balance poses add the challenge of balancing on one foot. These include Warrior III, Tree, Dancer and Eagle.
Kneel down on your mat to perform some of the easiest Hatha yoga postures. Start with Camel pose, then move on to the very relaxing Cow and Cat duo. Push up on your hands and feet for Upward- and Downward-Facing Dog, and then lower yourself into Plank and Side Plank. Rest in Child's pose.
Seated on your mat, stretch your hamstrings and groin muscles with Head to Knee, Revolved Head to Knee and Seated Forward Bend. Hero and Bound Angle pose work on hips and knees. Increase your strength with Full Boat and your shoulder flexibility with Cow Face pose. Practice twists with Half Lord of the Fishes and Marichi's pose. Some poses that work on hand and wrist strength include arm balances such as Crane, Eight-Angle and Peacock.
Stretch forward on your stomach for the Cobra, Pigeon, Bow, Locust and Sphinx. If you're up for inversions, try the Handstand. Turn on your back for Bridge, Fish, Shoulder Stand and Plow. Finally, rest in Corpse pose. You've earned it!
Patricia Rockwood has been a professional copy editor and writer for more than 25 years. She is an avid gardener with a certified Florida backyard habitat. Rockwood has practiced yoga for more than 40 years and taught for much of that time. She is also a professional mosaic artist.