Most people will probably know yoga as an incredibly effective form of exercise that can work and stretch pretty much every part of your body, from your head and neck to the balls of your feet.
However, there is more to yoga than it is just an exercise routine.
Yoga gurus know that yoga is also a great form of meditation when practiced right.
A good yoga sequence can not only stretch your body, but also calm your mind, and allow you to hone in and focus while blocking out not just the outside world, but also any intrusive thoughts that you may be having.
Sounds like it would be great for helping deal with anxiety, or perhaps some underlying stresses that you’ve been having, right? So, you’ll probably want to know what poses, positions and sequences are the best for aiding in meditation.
Well, luckily for you, we have just the list for you!
Cobbler’s Pose (Baddha Konasana)
While yoga is often known for having positions and poses that require a lot of dexterity to pull off in the first place, that’s not the case for every pose.
If you’re just starting with practicing meditation through yoga, you’ll find a surprisingly large body of poses that you can learn.
This first pose, the cobbler’s pose, is one of our favorites for this very reason. It’s incredibly simple to learn, while also having many of the benefits that other stances have. You’ll be able to stretch your mind and your body.
The pose is very simple and can be done from a seated position on the ground. Simply place the soles of your feet against each other, and spread your knees outward in opposite directions.
Depending on how much you’re wanting to stretch through this meditative pose, you can either place your hands around your ankles or press your elbows gently against the sides of your knees.
Keep your back straight as you focus on your breathing with this pose. Hold this position for a few minutes, slowly inhaling and exhaling as you do.
Lotus Pose (Padmasana)
Arguably one of the most famous yoga poses out there, this pose is perfect for mindful meditation and breathing exercises.
That popularity is pretty clear in a lot of South Asian iconography, where the lotus pose appears very prominently as a symbol of enlightenment, especially in renditions of the Buddha.
As you can imagine, practicing the lotus pose is considered a great way of improving concentration and mental well-being, as well as serving as a light stretching exercise in some cases too.
While there are many variations of the lotus pose that can be practiced by more experienced limber yoga practitioners, we’re going to stick with the basic version for this entry.
To perform the simple lotus pose, simply sit cross-legged on the ground, raise your feet into your lap, and keep your back straight and pointed upwards. While the hands can go pretty much anywhere, beginners are recommended to simply place them on their knees.
Now, you simply focus on your breathing, and the passage of air through your body as you sit. If it helps, try closing your eyes, so you can better visualize those airways in your system.
At this point, it’s pretty much up to you to decide how long you want to hold it. Beginners are recommended to try and hold the pose for 2 to 3 minutes, while experienced yoga practitioners will hold it for 5 minutes or longer.
Ultimately, however, meditation doesn’t have a clear stop-and-start point. Allow yourself to focus for as long as you need to.
Angle Pose 1 (Konasana 1)
The angle poses are another incredibly popular yoga pose, especially for those that are looking to move from just single positions for meditation and move on to longer sequences.
While we will eventually cover the second angle pose in this guide, we first want to show you… well, the first pose!
To start with, you simply stand straight up, with your feet hip-width apart. Then, on an inhale, raise your left hand over your head. As you breathe out, keep the head in that position, and slowly bend to the right, whilst turning your head to look upwards.
Remember to keep your legs and knees straight as you are doing all of this.
After holding this position for a few moments, straighten back up on your next inhale, then bring your arm down on the exhale.
And that’s it. It’s that simple! While this rather plain-looking stretch might come off as boring to others, the simplicity here allows you to focus on your breathing as you carry out the motions.
And, of course, remember that this is just the first pose in a sequence. Once we cover the second angle, these movements will come together very well into a meditative stance!
Thunderbolt Pose (Vajra Asana)
Despite what the awesome name suggests, the thunderbolt pose is a surprisingly slow-paced simple pose to learn for a yoga routine, making it perfect to teach to beginners and veterans of yoga alike!
This pose consists of simply sitting in a kneeled position, with your feet and legs tucked under your body, and simply relaxing into the position (while keeping your spine straight upwards, of course).
As we said, it’s an incredibly simple pose to add to a routine.
Not only does it allow you to focus on your breathing, but it also lightly stretches your knees and lower body. It’s also been known to aid in better digestion, so it’s pretty good for people who may suffer from constipation and IBS too.
This pose can make your knees and legs ache a little when first trying it out. But after a few sessions of utilizing it, you’ll find that this pose becomes second nature to fall into!
Wide-Legged Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana)
Now, if you’re looking for a pose that stretches your body and mind, then this is going to be a great pose to try out! The wide-legged forward pose emphasizes the physical benefit of exercise while meditating.
For this pose, you’ll want to start with your legs spread far apart. If you’re struggling to figure out an ideal position, try and lay your arms and wrists out against your legs to align them properly. Your feet should be pointed either directly forward, or slightly inwards.
Once you’re ready, place your hands on your hips, exhale, then slightly lean or hinge your upper body forward.
Once you are leaning as forward as possible, you can move your arms down to the floor or yoga mat, and place them somewhere where they are comfortable on the inhale, but still a little stretched.
That could be on the mat, on your legs or calves, or somewhere else which feels most comfortable to you.
As you can imagine, this pose is perfect for stretching and exercising pretty much every part of your legs, from your calves to your hamstrings and glutes.
However, the focus on breathing throughout the process also makes it a great way of drawing attention away from any uncomfortable stretching feeling as you work on your body and mind.
Angle Pose 2 (Konasana 2)
Told you we’d get to the second angle post!
While this pose is probably best picked up after returning to a neutral stance with the Angle 1 pose, this can also be done straight from a neutral standing position.
From that stance, you raise your arms on the next inhale above your head, interlocking them into a steeple position.
From there, as you exhale, bend to the right, keeping your arms and elbows straight and extended as you go as low as possible. Then hold the position for a few breaths, taking deep, but gentle inhales and exhales.
When you’re ready, return to the upright position on the next inhalation, then release your arms back down as you exhale.
As we’ve mentioned, this pose and the first angle are supposed to be performed together, so try combing these two poses into a single sequence!
Child’s Pose (Balasana)
How have we gone this far into a list of meditative yoga poses, and not even mentioned the child pose? It’s one of the most important positions that you can learn as a practitioner!
Well, let’s fix that with this next entry!
From a kneeled position, extend your arms out, and move your torso forward with them until your head is facing down. Keep your hips above your feet, splay your legs, and allow yourself to feel the breath.
Both relaxing and a good stretch, this is a pose that we’d recommend to everyone!
So, as we’ve shown you by now, yoga is a practice that is as just as focused on the mind and soul as it is on the physical fitness of your body.
Allowing yourself to become drawn into the moment of the poses and stretches is a surprisingly effective way of dealing with anxiety and restlessness.
So, of these great poses for practicing mindfulness, which one will you try out first?
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