5 Therapeutic Yoga Poses for Health and Healing

We’ve heard the expression “Movement is medicine,” but are certain workouts more healing than others? Studies tout the general benefits of physical activity, from a reduced risk of chronic diseases to enhanced cognitive functioning. However, one form of exercise consistently tops the charts: yoga, a time-honored practice known to balance, rejuvenate and detox the body.

Each month, CARTI’s The Bridge offers in-person and virtual yoga classes to promote participants’ health and well-being. While the free sessions are geared toward cancer patients and their caregivers, Wes Pilcher, instructor and co-owner of Arkansas Yoga Collective, says the practice can serve as a salve for anyone. Whether experienced or new to the mat, he recommends five therapeutic poses, held for one to three minutes each at least four days a week, for maximum benefit.

 

Credit: Arkansas Yoga Collective

Seated Spinal Twist

Benefits: Stretches and strengthens the muscles and connective tissues in the spine and back for better posture, pain relief and injury prevention

Instructions: Sit cross-legged on the floor and breathe deeply. On the exhale, slowly twist your body to look over your right shoulder while placing your left hand on your right knee and your right hand behind your body. Hold the stretch, then switch sides.

 

Credit: Arkansas Yoga Collective

Legs Up the Wall

Benefits: Improves circulation, reduces swelling, lessens fatigue, relieves tension, enhances digestion and encourages lower back and hamstring flexibility

Instructions: Sit on the floor with your left side against the wall. Turn to the left and bring your legs up as you lower your body into a prone position, with your shoulders and head resting on the floor. Scoot your bottom to lie flat against the wall.

 

Credit: Arkansas Yoga Collective

Reclined Bound Angle

Benefits: Lowers stress and fatigue, stimulates the heart and organs in the abdominal area, nourishes the digestive and reproductive systems, improves circulation and stretches the inner thighs, groins and knees

Instructions: While seated, bring your feet together, with the soles facing one another, knees bent and heels pointing toward your groin. Slowly lie back, supporting yourself with your arms until your back is against the floor. Relax and breathe deeply with your arms out to your sides.

 

Credit: Arkansas Yoga Collective

Cobra Pose

Benefits: Increases spinal flexibility and strength, enhances posture, improves chest and lung expansion and relieves lower back pain

Instructions: Lie on your stomach and keep your toes flat, with your soles facing upward and your forehead on the ground. Place your legs close, with your feet lightly touching at the heels and toes. Put your hands on either side of your shoulders. As you place your palms underneath, your elbows should be parallel, as close to your chest and the floor as possible.

 

Credit: Arkansas Yoga Collective

Child’s Pose

Benefits: Quiets the nervous and lymphatic systems, eases tension in the body and soothes the mind

Instructions: Start on all fours. Take your hips toward your heels and place your arms by your sides. Move forward and backward to get comfortable while being gentle on the knees. Relax your body and breathe.

For more information about The Bridge, including its in-person classes led by the Arkansas Yoga Collective, visit the CARTI website.

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