Cheerleaders are some of the most flexible, courageous athletes out there. But with so many yoga poses to choose from, it’s not always easy to know where to start.
Below are 7 yoga poses for cheerleaders to build flexibility, agility, and strong arms and legs.
Most of us know Chaturanga as one of the positions in the Sun Salutations sequence. However, this pose itself can be performed on its own for 10 to 30 seconds.
Release with an exhalation to the floor, or exhale pushing back into Downward Dog and repeat.
Chaturanga is a love/hate pose, but it certainly serves its purpose by toning the abdomen and building strength in the arms and shoulders.
2. Downward Facing Dog
Downward Facing Dog is a great pose for elongating and strengthening the spine, and building strength in the arms, shoulders, and back. It will also aid in stretching out your hamstrings, calves, arches of the feet, wrists, and hands.
Downward Dog can also assist in improving your digestive system, relieve back pain, headaches, fatigue, stress and it calms the nervous system, too. It's an ideal yoga pose to practice before and after physical activity.
3. Chair Pose
This pose will work the muscles of your shoulders, arms, and stretch the muscles across your chest. This is an excellent pose for toning the leg muscles, as well as strengthening your hip flexors, back, calves, and ankles. Chair Pose aids in reducing flat feet, and stimulates the abdominals, heart, and diaphragm.
It's similar to a squat, but for some more difficult, since you are holding the pose for several breaths before releasing. Your gluteus maximus will also get a workout, to boot!
4. Warrior III
Warrior III is brimming with physical and mental benefits to have you on your peak performance.
Aside from stretching out the hamstrings and outer thighs, back, arms and shoulder muscles, it also expands your chest and lungs. This pose increases concentration, improves balance, memory, body awareness, and coordination.
As a bonus, Warrior III also reduces anxiety and helps to quiet the mind.
This is a chest and heart opening pose, that feels like a full frontal body stretch, with a slight backbend to your spine. Camel Pose also works to stretch out your back, neck, throat, thighs, hip flexors, groin, and ankles. This particular pose is also good for building strength in your triceps, glutes, back muscles, and thighs. It even improves your posture!
You may benefit from a Forward Bend following this pose, so try a Seated Forward Fold, or come down into Child’s Pose.
6. Tree Pose
Who would have ever thought that just standing still would be a challenge? Don’t worry, the risk of falling out of this pose is worth the benefits, especially when they include improving your balance, concentration and focus, reducing flat feet, stretching the groin, inner thigh, chest and shoulders.
Tree Pose also strengthens the ankles, calves, thighs, and spine, and will help you to build a steady base. For a hip opening variation, feel free to try Half Lotus Tree Pose.
7. Upward Plank Pose
Also known as Reverse Plank Pose, Upward Plank will give you a good full frontal body stretch.
It is great for warming up and strengthening the wrists, arms, glutes, and thighs. This specific pose will assist in stretching the shoulders, chest, biceps and fronts of the ankles. It is also a therapeutic yoga pose for fatigue and depression.
With any yoga practice, as with sports and physical activities, know your limit and play within it. A few warm up rounds of Sun Salutations are always a good way to begin your practice before diving into specific poses and holds.
Have fun with these poses, and let us know how they work for you in the comments below!