Did you know that yoga can also pack a serious punch when it comes to your legs? That’s right: Both standing and supine (lying face up) yoga poses may help improve balance, flexibility, and strength in your lower body. Let’s get into how yoga can benefit your legs and the poses that can be especially helpful. Here are seven yoga poses and stretches to get you started.
1. Downward-Facing Dog Pose
Downward-Facing Dog Pose is one of the most recognized yoga poses, especially for beginners.
Benefits: This pose stretches your hamstrings, glutes, calves, and lower back. It also stretches several muscles in your upper body, including your shoulders and upper back.
How to do this pose:
- Begin on your hands and knees. You can use a yoga mat for support.
- Make sure your hands are directly under your shoulders and your knees are under your hips. Engage your core muscles, too.
- Take a deep breath, press your weight into your hands, tuck your toes under, and lift up off your knees. Your palms should be shoulder-width apart and your heels hip-width apart. Keep your arms straight but avoid locking your elbows. Your legs should be straight as well.
- Lengthen your tailbone and spine. Keep your hands pressed into the floor. Your weight should be evenly distributed on both sides of your body.
- Look at your toes. Your body should be in a straight line from your wrists to your shoulders to your hips.
- Unless you’re very flexible, there will likely be some space between your heels and the floor — that’s perfectly
- OK. Press both heels toward the mat as far as you can without straining; hold this pose for 1 minute.
2. Warrior II Pose
“Warrior II is the ultimate standing pose for toning and lengthening the muscles in your legs,” said Olney.
Benefits: This strong pose energizes your legs, helps you develop better balance and stability, and stretches your hips and groin muscles.