3 Yoga Poses Every Woman Should Do

Even if you’re not into yoga, it pays to incorporate some essential moves into your regular routine that will help target typical tight spots. Mindy Caplan, a yoga instructor, trainer, and ACSM-certified exercise physiologist, recommends these three key poses to keep your muscles and joints functioning at their best. 

Pigeon Pose 

  • Why it helps: “This hip opener helps target the piriformis—a triangular- shaped muscle that helps rotate the thigh bone,” says Caplan. When it is tight, it can squeeze the sciatic nerve, causing pain to shoot down the leg and into the lower back.
  • How to: Begin on all fours, knees under hips, hands under shoulders. Slide right knee toward right hand and left leg back as far as you can. Bring right foot forward; aim to get right shin parallel to front of mat while keeping hips square to the floor. Sink hips forward and down, resting on palms or forearms. Stay here for about five to 10 full breaths; switch sides. 

Downward Facing Dog 

  • Why it helps: Down dog is an important stretch for the shoulders, hips, hamstrings, and calves. It’s especially key for the rotator cuff—the muscles that help stabilize the shoulder. “When these muscles are tight, injury can occur with even the simplest movement,” Caplan says. “Downward dog helps keep the rotator cuff stable.”
  • How to: Begin on all fours, knees under hips, hands under shoulders. Tuck toes under, press into hands, and lift hips. Spread fingers wide and press hips up and back as you ease heels toward floor. Stay here for five to eight breaths. 

Spinal Twist 

  • Why it helps: This exercise targets the neck, shoulders, obliques, and hips and helps improve spinal flexibility. It also can relieve stiff muscles— especially if you tendto sit at a desk all day.
  • How to: Sit on floor with legs extended. Bend right knee, placing right foot on floor outside left thigh; keep left foot flexed. Turn torso to the right, placing right hand on floor just behind you. Cradle right leg with left arm, hugging it toward your left shoulder. Hold here for three to five breaths or longer, trying to move more deeply into the twist with each breath. Release and repeat on opposite side.

SEE ALSO: Yoga Poses For Weightloss