164661045Yoga is all the rage and has been for some time now. As an ancient practice, yoga is not just a passing trend. It works wonders for the mind, body and spirit, and if you value healthy living, you should give yoga a try. Some people love yoga because it increases flexibility. Others love the lean muscle tone it creates. One reason your doctor might recommend that you try doing yoga is that it can help relieve muscle and joint pain, and even reduce stress (something we can all do without). So, c’mon yogi bears – give these poses a try. You’ll feel better and be bending like a pretzel in no time (maybe not).

4 Yoga Poses to Relieve Pain & Stress:

1369673701. Cobra (Bhujanga) When it comes to yoga, one of the best exercises to battle back pain is the Cobra position. Lynn Burgess, Director of “Yoga From the Heart” in Florida, recommends that you lie face down with your forehead resting on the floor and your hands on either side of your ribcage. Spread your legs at hip width and press the tops of your feet into the floor. Next, lengthen your legs and press your hands forward as you raise your head to neutral spine position. In the cobra position, take between 5 to 10 deep breaths. You can then slowly release, returning your forehead to the floor or turning your head to one side. Get one step closer to reaching your healthy living goals by increasing the difficulty of this pose. Simply do the pose with your hands further back, and lifting your knees off the mat. The pose should be repeated 3 to 4 times. Like anything good in life, the best exercises require practice and proper breathing.

Next: Child’s Pose…

1451943582. Child’s Pose (Balasana) If you really want to prioritize healthy living and melt away stress and tension, one of the most relaxing yoga exercises is position called Child’s Pose. This pose serves to stretch your lower back and arms, all the while relaxing your body. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Begin in a kneeling position and lower your butt toward your heels as you stretch your body forward toward the floor. Your arms should be resting in a comfortable position along the floor and your stomach should lay flat against your thighs. Lastly, rest your forehead on the mat and just b-r-e-a-t-h-e deeply. You’ll feel this stretch in your bottom, shoulders and along the length of your spine and arms. It’s simply a delicious feeling that will leave you calm, cool and collected. Make sure to keep your shoulders and neck relaxed while in this pose, and take slow, deep breaths.

Next: The Butterfly…

864841213. The Butterfly (Badhakonasana) Here’s a yoga pose that will have you soaring high. This pose is one of the best exercises for tackling hip pain. Lay out a blanket or yoga mat on the floor and take a seat position. Bring together the soles of your feet, keeping your knees wide so your legs form a diamond shape. In this pose, your back should be kept straight and your shoulders relaxed. Breathe slowly and deeply, allowing the weight of your legs to pull your knees toward the floor. If this is painful, you can place pillows underneath your outer knees for support until you develop greater flexibility. For a deeper pose, use your elbows to slowly push down on your thighs, engaging a deeper stretch in your groin. Resting in this position provides a tranquil deep stretch. Make it part of your daily routine for healthy living.

Next: The Lying Leg Hug…

832529894. Lying Leg Hug (Pavanamuktasana) This one sounds as good as it feels. Ladies and gentlemen, get ready for the “Lying Leg Hug,” one of the best healthy exercises in the yoga family for therapeutic healing, removing acidity from the body, relieving back problems, and aiding in digestion and weight loss. Lie down on your back, folding your legs at the knee. Next, hug your knees to the abdomen as closely as you possibly can without allowing your hips to rise up off the ground. Feel free to hold this position as long as possible and repeat it five times.

If you’re trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, make the time to incorporate the best exercises that yoga has to offer. Yoga is a healthy alternative to medical pills for aches and pains. The Duke University Medical Center conducted studies that showed that yoga can be used to effectively treat fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic pain and osteoarthritis. Because of the fluidity of movement, it can also benefit those suffering from swollen and painful joints and increase flexibility, muscle strength and range of motion. Yoga poses are also great ways to relax and relieve stress after a long day. Sometimes the best remedy for a healthier lifestyle is simply a yoga mat away. Namaste.