New Delhi: Practicing yoga helps us to stay active, manage stress and also help with pain management.  Here are strengthening and stretching postures that are particularly helpful in managing pain in the most common areas of the body.

Dwipada Marajriasana (Bird Dog Balance)

Start in a tabletop position and extend your right leg back, lifting it off the ground in line with the hips. Stay here, else if comfortable, raise your left hand out as well, so you’re balancing on two limbs. Pull the navel towards the spine so your core is engaged and you’re not sinking at the lower back. Hold for 5 to 9 breaths and then switch sides.

Ardha Pincha Mayurasana (Dolphin Pose)

Start in a forearm plank with fingers interlocked and start walking your feet towards the hands. Stop once you feel you’ve reached your maximum and hold the position there. If the heels are raised, see if you can rest them on the ground, which will increase the stretch in the hamstrings. It’s alright if that doesn’t feel comfortable. The elbows may tend to splay out; keep hugging them towards each other, so they stay shoulder-width apart. Hold for 5 to 9 breaths and rest in child pose.

Ardha Shalabhasana (Half Locust Pose)

Start in a prone position with your arms crossed in front of you. Let your forehead rest on your forearm and point the legs back. Pull the navel in strong and lift one leg off the ground as high as comfortable. Do not tilt the body to one side to lift the leg. Do this slowly without using speed or momentum. Hold for 3 to 5 breaths and switch sides. You can repeat this 5 to 10 times. It can help relieve lower back and knee pain.

Supta Kapotasana (Supine Pigeon Pose)

Start in a supine position with knees bent. Lift your right ankle and place it above your left knee. Then bring the left knee to the chest by pulling gently with your hands. If comfortable, use your right elbow to get the right shin parallel to the ground. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths and repeat on the other side. This is an excellent stretch for runners and cyclists.

Nikunjasana (Extended Child Pose)

Start in the tabletop position and walk your hands forward till your forehead reaches the ground. Let the spine be neutral but press the hands into the ground. Maintain the hips above the knees. You can also rest your forehead on a pillow or a block. Hold for 5 to 9 breaths.

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