Woman looking at her skin in bathroom mirror

How to Clear Clogged Pores Properly

It seems like recently, everyone’s been doing their best to prevent clogged pores. Let’s face it – clogged pores are one of the biggest nuisances there are.

And, once you get them, it’s a bit annoying trying to get rid of them.

Every day, your skin battles pollution, your own sweat and makeup. Sometimes, its defenses get a bit sluggish. And, when that happens – you’re faced with clogged pores.

But, don’t worry. Where your skin falters, you must continue. There are ways to clear clogged pores properly, with perseverance, tenacity and, of course, a few tips from professionals.

What Are Clogged Pores?

Pores are basically small holes in the skin through which oil and sweat go out.

Clogged pores occur when dead skin cells get trapped in your skin. They are supposed to be shed into the environment, but sometimes they can get stuck.

You can usually see when your pores are clogged if you see pimples or, in general, a certain dullness to your skin.

Now, many people think that clogged pores necessarily lead to pimples. However, that is simply not true.

While yes, many such pores do end up becoming pimples, there are some that don’t involve inflammation. Unlike with pimples, there’s no need for your body to get rid of them and they can remain like that, blocked, forever. (Well, not forever, but you catch the drift. For a very long time.)

You can usually see them in a certain light or, when you tilt your head just so. But, even the clogged pores that don’t immediately become pimples can become pimples at one point. That is why it is best to deal with them on a regular basis.

Infographic on clogged pores

What Causes Clogged Pores?

There are a lot of things that can cause clogged pores.

Truly, a lot. Our skin reacts to various things, both internal (like hormonal changes), to external (like air pollution).

But that is truly unfortunate, because it means that there are a lot of things you and your skin have to fight. Here are some of the things which can cause clogged pores.

  • Puberty. Yes, during puberty, our bodies increase its production of oil, that is, sebum, which can combine with dead skin and bacteria at times. And you get stuck with clogged pores which, as you may have guessed, can easily turn into pimples.
  • Smoking. You may not have known this, but greasy particles from smoke can easily land on your skin, thus contributing to unclean pores. Aside from the other adverse effects smoking has on the skin, it also contributes to clogged pores.
  • Stress. During stressful times, our bodies produce stress hormones in excess. This, in turn, triggers sebaceous glands to produce a lot of sebum.
  • Using certain beauty products. Basically, many of your favorite beauty products can be the culprit here. You should only buy non-comedogenic formulas. That means that they use ingredients which won’t clog your pores. Also, you should only use face products that specify that they are oil free.
  • Not cleansing or cleansing too much. Yes, this one is really the trickiest cause of clogged pores. Basically, while not cleansing your face can lead to a buildup of sebum, if you do it too much, this can also be a bad thing. Too much exfoliating strips your skin of its natural oils. Then, your oil glands decide to overcompensate and create more oil. That is why finding the golden middle is perfect for your skin.

Professional Treatments for Excessively Clogged Pores

If you have particularly specific skin and you’re not quite sure you can deal with your clogged pores on your own, going the professional route can often prove to be the best option.

Basically, you go to a dermatologist or a skincare specialist for a facial treatment which can be done in several ways. They test your skin and decide how best to proceed.

1)   Extractions

We know how it sounds – a bit terrifying, to be honest.

However, you have to have faith sometimes – professionals know what they’re doing (and they’ve done it a thousand times).

They extract what should not be there in the first place by using a metal extractor tool to apply pressure around the clogged pores. This causes the content to spill out.

Now, this can also be done with pimples if they can be unclogged. If they can’t, your skincare specialist will not suggest this treatment.

After unclogging your pores, the specialist usually applies some antibacterial or antiseptic which should bring back the natural pH levels of the skin, preventing further breakouts. They may even apply a soothing mask or carry out some other treatment. You can go on these treatments once a month to keep your skin healthy and glowing.

In any case, such extractions should be left in the hands of professionals. If you try to pop your pimples at home, you can damage your pores and cause further buildup of sebum.

2)   Steaming

As blasé as this may sound, this treatment is simply heaven.

You can literally feel your skin getting clean. Of course, steaming is something you can do at home with a towel and a pot. However, that requires more effort than a professional doing it.

Your dermatologist or skincare specialist uses a steamer to put warm, moist air on your face, which helps your pores open.

Woman undergoing face-steaming procedure

Then, they can apply treatments such as masks and moisturizers more easily. After steaming, your skin absorbs those treatments more deeply, and this can, and usually does have better results.

3)   Exfoliation

Exfoliation basically includes a process of removing dead skin cells from your skin. It typically includes using an exfoliation tool or a chemical or a granular substance.

Regular exfoliation, whether done by professionals or not, improves the overall health of your skin and unclogs your pores. It also improves skin elasticity and encourages collagen production. Truly, there are many benefits to exfoliation.

Exfoliation usually includes the use of a few abrasive materials:

  • Loofahs
  • Cleansing scrubs
  • Exfoliating mitts
  • Micro derma rollers
  • Dry brushes

These are the products you can use yourself at home with a good chance of success. You can combine them with a facial exfoliant for truly magnificent results.

On the other hand, you should never attempt to do chemical exfoliation yourself. This should only be done by professionals.

If you choose chemical exfoliation, consult with your dermatologist first to find the best option for you. Typically, this usually includes alpha hydroxyl acids, beta hydroxyl acids, retinols or topical enzymes.

Precisely because some of these chemicals are harsh and can dry out your skin if handled improperly, it is important to talk to a professional.

At-Home Treatments for Clogged Pores

While many, many people go to professionals, fearing that they won’t be able to deal with their clogged pores properly, there are plenty of options that are definitely safe to try at home and quite effective when it comes to unclogging pores.

You simply need to be a bit more persistent. Here are some products you can use at home to clear your pores efficiently.

1)   Pore Strips

Pore strips come in various shapes and sizes. While most people use them for their nose, you can use them for any part of your face.

You can use pore strips to remove bacteria, oil, dead skin and everything else that is left on the surface of your skin.

And the process is quite simple. You wet the strip and put it on the part of the face with clogged pores. Leave it there for five or ten minutes, and then slowly peel away.

Make sure to rinse the area with warm water. You want to remove any residue that the strip left.

However, you should avoid pore strips if you have any skin allergies or if you have sensitive skin. Also, they can be used once a week at most. Don’t overdo it if you want to avoid skin irritation.

2)   Charcoal Masks

Everywhere you look nowadays, some Instagram celebrity is praising this invention. Activated charcoal is now used in facial and body cleansers, scrubs, and even masks.

And truly, it does have many benefits, as it removes toxins, dirt and pollution from pores.

For most charcoal masks, you should first rinse your face before using them. Also, you should leave it between 5 and 10 minutes and then remove it. While some should be rinsed off, others harden and should be pulled off.

Spa professional applying black face mask on woman's face

However, dermatologists warn that you should never make your own charcoal mask at home. This can be dangerous and can cause irritation of the skin. It’s better to buy a charcoal mask from a certified distributor.

3)   Pore Vacuums

Pore vacuums have also been gaining on popularity in recent years. Many people praise them as the best invention in recent years.

The principle is pretty simple – there’s something in your pores, this sucks it out.

However, experts recommend that you don’t use it too often. Apparently, while they may work for blackheads that are already loosened, they do not have the same effect on other types of clogged pores.

Also, while there are pore vacuums that can be bought for as little as $10, experts also recommend that you don’t buy cheap ones. If you are to do this at home, you should at least

Another option is to go to a professional. They will be able to see which areas need more suction and which areas need less. They can then adapt the treatment to your particular needs.

Natural Remedies for Clogged Pores

There are really a lot of ways you can clean your pores at home, without buying anything. You can simply use what you have in your cupboard.

No, we’re not talking about the chemicals you use to unclog your sink, if that’s where your mind wandered.

Basically, people have long found various uses for common things you can find in every home. Some of those uses can include purifying the skin.

1)   Baking Soda

Yes, this is truly an ingredient everyone has in their homes. But it’s one of the most versatile ingredients there are in this world.

First, mix two teaspoons of this epic ingredient with one teaspoon of water. This should make a paste. Then, you should gently massage it onto your face.

Don’t leave it on for longer than five minutes, though, this should be perfectly enough to unclog your pores. Then, rinse if off.

You can do this once a week if you want balanced skin but don’t want to overdo it with cleaning.

2)   Lemon Slice

Lemon also has quite a lot of benefits for many parts of our bodies, not just our skin. But it is also a superb ingredient when it comes to unclogging pores.

Slicing a lemon on chopping board

All you have to do is cut a lemon in half and run it over your skin where you’ve been having problems with clogged pores.

You should leave it on the skin for about five minutes, and then rinse it off with cold water. Again, don’t leave it for longer than five minutes, because it can irritate your skin and possibly cause other problems.

This works because the acidity present in the lemon can help break up all the old skin cells, dirt and grime that have accumulated over time.

3)  Parsley

Parsley is not just a garnish, it’s a life saver!

Parsley is known to pull out impurities and toxins out of your skin and it’s incredibly effective.

Put a handful of parsley in a pot of water, bringing it to a boil. After that, let it cool down a bit. (Yes, you’re basically making parsley tea, which has all sorts of benefits.)

Simply dip a clean washcloth into the water, and then squeeze out excess moisture. Place it on your face for about 10-15 minutes. Wash your face afterwards.

This treatment can actually be repeated every other day, as it has numerous benefits.

There have recently been some claims that such home-made treatments of clogged pores do more harm than good. However, that is simply not true. The key here is not to do it too much, as some of these ingredients can harm the skin if left for too long. But, if you use it the way they’re supposed to be used, they will clean your pores in no time.

Woman enjoying the scent of a palm leaf

How to Use These 9 Scents to Change Your Mood

Whether you’re feeling down and need a slight boost, or you’re feeling on edge and need to relax a bit, you might want to try using your nose.

That’s right, your nose.

Your nose knows.

As incredible as it sounds, our sense of smell can play an incredible part in improving your mood. Researchers have devoted their time to the issue and found that some scents can, in fact, alter your mood to a certain extent.

So, the next time you need a mood boost, you might want to try some of the scents we will list to help you.

Scent and memory – the best of friends

The fact that scent is connected to mood changes is directly caused by the specific “wiring” of our brain.

That is, the olfactory center is connected directly to the parts of the brain that handle emotions and associative learning.

Basically, when we draw odor molecules into our nose, they dissolve and penetrate the mucus. Then they bind with the cilia (projections attached to receptor cells) and create an impulse which travels through nerves until it reaches the olfactory bulb in the brain, where the signals are processed and passed to other parts of the brain.

Many people don’t know this, but processing smell is closely related to the hippocampus, where memories are stored.

So, there’s a reason why you always remember grandma when you smell freshly baked cookies.

Or why you cringe when you smell rubbing alcohol.

Studies have even shown that memories evoked through odor went back farther in time. Also, they were more emotionally charged than memories evoked through words.

And because memories are always connected and intertwined with emotions, when we experience a scent stored in our memory, the brain then usually correlates it with some recollections and emotions present in them. That is why certain smells sometimes evoke strong feelings in us, even if we can’t quite place why that is.

Lemon

Aside from its various health benefits, the very scent of a lemon can have incredible impact on your stress levels.

You might not think it particularly appealing, but the scent of lemon can increase your energy levels, improve your mood and even your ability to concentrate.

Now there’s a reason why you like those lemon-scented cleaning products, right?

In fact, most people would describe lemon as smelling “clean,” which is precisely why it is used in a great number of cleaning products.

It’s used in aromatherapy to help people get rid of feelings of impurity and imperfection. It also serves to boost their confidence.

You can use essential oils to achieve that purpose, or you can simply make lemonade. In fact, whenever you need a concentration or a confidence boost, why not make a glass of fresh lemonade?

Aaand, problem solved. Maybe.

In addition, you can use the calming properties of the scent of lemon when you’re feeling angry, nervous or simply tired.

Orange

It seems like we have somehow found our way to the fruit section. But even though fruit scents may seem simple, their impact can be huge.

According to certain studies, the scent of oranges has a relaxing effect, bringing about positivity and calm in the participants of the studies.

Halved orange with a vial of oil

Also, the scent of oranges has been linked with reduced aggression.

So, whenever you feel anxious and a bit tense, it might be a good idea to take an orange-scented lotion and take a shower.

Also, you can extract oil from orange peels and find yourself with a generous supply of it for future use.

Peppermint

Good news for everyone that likes gum or tea!

The health benefits of peppermint have been widely known since ancient Egyptian times, since it’s been used for medicinal purposes since then.

The scent of peppermint is incredibly useful when you’re trying to concentrate. Also, it has mood-elevating properties which are efficient in combating anxiety and, in some cases, even depression. It’s been proven that it can relieve feelings of sadness effectively.

Peppermint is also useful when you’re feeling distracted when you should be studying or even driving. Some studies have shown that sniffing peppermint can improve typing accuracy and make drivers more alert.

Athletes that smelled peppermint during exercise actually outperformed those who did not.

So, you know what you need to do before you hit the gym next time.

Simply dab a few drops of peppermint oil on your temples or you can burn the oil in an aromatherapy burner for long-lasting effects.

If you don’t have the oil available, making tea or chewing gum can provide you with some relief, as well.

Coffee

Can we all agree that coffee is the best thing that’s ever happened to mankind?

Its power is so incredible, that the mere scent of coffee can affect your brain chemistry.

That is great news for those suffering from high blood pressure, who cannot drink that much coffee on a daily basis.

Even smelling coffee can boost your brain power, a study found. So, if you can’t drink too much of it, you can definitely at least sniff coffee beans.

And we all know how good they smell.

So, the next time you need a bit of a boost before an exam, coffee will do you good. Just make sure you don’t go overboard.

A sniff or two just for you should be enough.

Lavender

Not to sound too New Age-y, but dude, if you need to chill out, perhaps try lavender?

Lavender slows the heart rate and calms the nervous system.

Sounds good?

Yeah, we also think so.

Essential oil experts will tell you that lavender is used in all sorts of ways. Lavender oil can be used to treat insomnia, anxiety and it can even help with nausea. Also, it can help with allergies and menstrual cramps.

It truly is a very versatile oil.

It has quite the soothing effect on nerves and can relieve tension. This is exactly what most modern day workers need. Amid the stress of the working day, you can find a sanctuary in the form of lavender, to help you ease your mind and relax.

So, to reiterate, dude, feel free to chill with lavender.

Another important use of lavender is that it helps people who suffer from insomnia. A study actually found that lavender, combined with sleep hygiene, improved sleep quality for students who had sleep issues. In another study, it was found that the scent of lavender can improve the quality and duration of sleep.

Now, if you’ve ever suffered from insomnia, you know that every little bit helps when fighting the good fight.

That is why you might want to try some alternative routes and hop on the lavender train.

Rosemary

There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray, love, remember;

and there is pansies, that’s for thoughts

This brief line from Hamlet shows that even in Shakespeare’s time, rosemary was known for its link to memory.

But, if we go even further, we’ll find that its benefits were known even in ancient times – ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Romans and Hebrews used it to improve memory and even for protection.

It was even considered sacred.

Woman enjoying the scent of rosemary in her garden

The Greeks would wear rosemary garlands around their heads while studying. Now, if you’re a student running out of ideas on how to learn a whole book in a week, well, there’s your answer.

Rosemary garlands FTW, as the young would say.

Several studies have been conducted and proved that there is increase in memory retention when the scent of rosemary is included in the equation. However, not much is known on just how rosemary seems to give incredible results.

The main effects that the scent of rosemary can have include:

  • Reducing stress and tension
  • Fighting mental fatigue
  • Boosting mental activity
  • Encouraging clarity
  • Improving alertness
  • Improving your general mood

Another of the benefits of the scent is that it can boost your entire immune system. It does so by stimulating internal anti-oxidant activity.

In addition, it can eliminate headaches, which will surely improve your mood significantly. Also, if you’re suffering from throat and nasal congestion, rosemary’s your man.

Well, your plant.

It is widely used in aromatherapy in the form of essential oil, but you can also use it in the form of tea in the morning, when every one of us needs a little bit of help to start the day.

Cinnamon

Aside from being great in every possible form of pastry you can imagine, cinnamon also has numerous health benefits.

Have you ever wondered why you feel happier simply by smelling the delicious baked goods full of cinnamon? Have you stopped and simply lingered, letting the scent flow over you and bring you to a simpler time?

Well, that’s the beauty of cinnamon. In all its baked glory.

Now, that doesn’t mean you should start baking (and especially not eating) 10 cinnamon buns a day.

Well, you could, but that wouldn’t be too healthy, now would it?

No, that simply means that there are other ways you can reap the benefits cinnamon has to offer, and one of them is through its scent.

When sniffed, cinnamon can reduce drowsiness and irritability. So it may be your perfect choice when you need that extra pick-me-up during the day.

Especially, and we all know this very well, if your head feels like it’s made of lead and it’s dragging you down for a nap.

A nap you can’t possibly take, since, you know, you’re at your place of work.

Cinnamon can also help you concentrate and perform better, which, in turn, can significantly help you with your job.

It is especially useful during those days, ladies, when your menstrual cramps are proving to be another nuisance on the road to a productive day. It can alleviate certain types of headaches and even various other types of pain.

Frankly, out of all aforementioned scents, cinnamon may be the easiest to use. It does not even need heat to harvest its aroma. You can simply put it in sachets and hang them where there is a slight breeze – for instance, above doorways or near windows. You can even scatter cinnamon powder over the soil of your house plants.

Another, quite useful way to use cinnamon and to get its aroma in a quick way is to boil it. You simply need to sprinkle a bit of powdered cinnamon into uncovered water and let it simmer for a while.

Apple

This might come as a surprise, but the scent of the common apple can be quite beneficial for you.

And this includes the most delicious pastry of all – apple pie.

Simply put, there’s nothing that a good apple pie cannot fix.

But, in all seriousness, apples in general are great for easing pain and alleviating tension.

It’s been proven that green apple scent can soothe migraines and even ease head and neck muscle spasms.

Also, it can reduce general anxiety and stress.

That will definitely leave you in a much better mood than you were before.

Especially if you’ve made pie.

Jasmine

But when I’m way up here, it’s crystal clear, that now I’m in a whole new world…

If you haven’t caught that reference, then the pun is pointless and it needs further explanation.

Which brings us to the main benefit of the scent of jasmine – namely, its uplifting capabilities.

You get it?

Jasmine sings a song about flying high in the sky, and jasmine has uplifting qualities?

Well, that pun’s ruined.

But what is not ruined is the fact that the scent of jasmine can produce a feeling of optimism, revitalized energy and a feeling of confidence.

Everything that we need from time to time.

Fresh, blooming jasmine flowers

Aside from that, jasmine can also be used to calm nerves.

Now, it’s a good thing that, due to its sweet fragrance, jasmine is actually used in some of the most famous perfumes, such as Chanel No. 5.

Also, it’s a common ingredient in desserts.

(There’s been too much talk about desserts, but that simply goes to show how much our senses of taste and smell are connected.)

A study has found that jasmine essential oil increases alertness and behavioral arousal. This also means that it can be useful in relieving symptoms of depression, and that it can improve your mood in general.

When inhaled, another study found, jasmine oil could affect brain activity, leaving participants feeling more energetic, more positive, and even more romantic.

So, if you’re trying to create the perfect atmosphere for wooing – you know what to do.

Use that jasmine perfume liberally or simply use a diffuser for a more permanent effect.

Three women clasping their hands together, in a gym setting

9 Easy Yoga Poses for Beginners

So, you’re thinking about taking up yoga?

Maybe you feel a bit overwhelmed by seeing experienced yogis twist this way and bend that way and you’re not sure if you can pull it off?

Well, just remember, they had to start somewhere. And there’s no better way to start than at the beginning. So, take your yoga mat and let’s get going!

There are over 300 positions in yoga, and we’re sure you’ll master them all at some point. But, for now, be content with the simple poses that every beginner should learn. Here is our pick of the best yoga poses for a beginner.

The Benefits of Yoga

In general, and everyone will tell you this – yoga is a way of life. Not only does it help you work on your body, but it also helps soothe your mind. It is a culture of well-being that can truly improve your life in many ways.

Now, this makes it seem like yoga is some kind of superman among various practices.

And you know what?

It kind of is.  

While it can’t, admittedly, fly you to the moon or save you from a villain (unless we count the metaphorical sense), there are great many things yoga can do:

  • Reduce stress.  Many yoga methods are interlinked with meditation, helping you “quiet down” the incessant clamoring of your mind. In turn, yoga relieves stress and relaxes even the most stressed individual.
  • Increase flexibility. One of the main points of yoga is that it gradually stretches your muscles, ligaments, and tendons, increasing the range of motion in your joints. This allows you to practice further poses and, who knows, become a yogi yourself one day!
  • Help with weight loss. In general, while the main purpose of yoga is not to lose weight, it is, however, one of its main benefits. As you balance your mind, you will also learn ways to balance your body, helping you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
  • Improve posture. Because of all of the above, another great advantage of yoga is that now, your abdominal and back muscles can support your weight. As a result, your posture will greatly improve.

Yoga Poses for Beginners

As previously said, when you start doing yoga, your body will start undergoing change which will improve your overall agility.

Agility, that you can later use to increase the difficulty of your yoga poses.

But, for now, here are the easiest ones, perfect for beginners.

The Easy Pose (Sukhasana)

Calm woman in sukhasana pose

It makes sense to start here.

The easy pose is great for beginners and, even though it’s easy, it has plenty of benefits. It’s simply divine for your peace of mind and, also, for your back muscles and your spine.

  • Sit with your buttocks firmly on the floor.
  • Cross your legs, but make sure to place your feet directly below your knees.
  • Put your hands on your knees.
  • Press your hips down into the floor and drop your shoulders down and back. Press your chest forward.
  • You should also relax your face, jaw and stomach.
  • Breathe deeply through the nose and hold for as many breaths as you like.

If you have knee or back injuries, you should sit on a folded blanket to remove the strain. In 

general, yoga is recommended for dealing with back pain. If some poses are too difficult, they can always be modified.

Another great way to remove the strain this pose can cause to beginners is to lean back on a wall or, possibly, lean slightly forward.

The Mountain (Tadasana)

Woman in standing pose

This is the basic pose for all standing poses. It is perfect for beginners, because it represents a foray into the point of yoga – learning how to ground yourself.

It may seem easy, but it’s important that you do it right.

While doing the mountain pose, keep the idea of balance in mind, since this is an essential part of yoga.

  • Stand with your feet together, press down with your toes and spread them open. Draw your abdominal muscles in to engage your core.
  • Then, lift your chest and roll your shoulders back and down, all the while keeping them relaxed. Drop your tailbone a bit to lengthen your lower back
  • You should always take slow and deep breaths through your nose. Hold the pose for as many breaths as you like.

Precisely because it is such an easy pose to do, you can do it practically anywhere and anytime, whenever you feel like you could benefit from the balance the pose brings.

The Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Downward-facing dog pose

One of the biggest benefits of this pose is that it strengthens your entire body, while also stretching it. This is easily one of most widely recognized yoga poses.

However, it’s vital to do it right.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Get down on your hands and knees. Your knees should be directly below your hips, and your hands should be slightly forward from your shoulders.
  • Spread your palms and turn your toes under.
  • While you exhale, you should lift your knees away from the floor. Keep your hips back and try to straighten your legs as much as you can. If your hamstrings are too tight, keep your knees bent a bit. If needed, you can also walk your hands forward. This will give you additional length.
  • Press your palms firmly on the floor and rotate your inner elbows towards each other.
  • Take long and deep breaths through your nose and, if you can, hold for 5 breaths.

The Tree (Vrksasana)

Woman in yoga tree pose

Another pose which aims at improving the balance of any beginner. It seems fairly simple – standing on one leg, right?

Well, not quite.

Even though it is easy to learn, it can be challenging for your hips, ankles and feet.

That is why you should always do everything at your pace and set realistic goals.

It is said that a good tree pose in the morning does wonder for curbing anxiety and stress, as well as increasing concentration.

  • Start in mountain pose. Keep your toes together and your heels slightly apart.
  • Then, shift your weight onto the left foot. Keep that foot firmly on the floor.
  • Bring your right foot up to the inner thigh and squeeze them together. If you’re having trouble drawing your foot up, simply reach down with your right hand and help it along the way. Toes of your right foot should be facing downwards, while the knee should be turned out.
  • When you’ve found your balance, press your hands together in front of your chest and keep your gaze at a fixed point about 5 feet away from you.
  • You should hold this pose for about 5 breaths, or more, if you have no problem.

If you can’t seem to find your balance at first, place your right foot on your shin, instead of the thigh.

The Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana)

Woman in seated forward fold pose

Another great pose for beginners, simply because – you most likely already know, at least partially, how to do it.

That is, if you’ve ever stretched in your life.

It is perfect for unwinding after an intense workout, and it is perfect for unwinding after an intense day.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Simply sit on the floor and extend your legs right in front of you.
  • Keep your feet firmly flexed. Don’t turn them in or out. Keep your hands by your hips.
  • Then, lift your chest and bend forward from the waist. Make sure to engage your lower abdominals.
  • Once you’ve bent as far as you can, simply stop and breathe for about 10 breaths. Make sure you are relaxed throughout the pose.

Should you feel any sharp pain at any point, stop. However, if it’s tension that you’re feeling when you bend forward and, more importantly, you can continue to breathe unhindered, your body will gradually loosen up. Tension is normal when doing yoga, but pain is not.

Another option is to keep knees bent, but your feet should remain flexed and together throughout the pose.

The Bridge (Setu Bandhasana)

Woman doing the bridge pose

The opposite of the forward bend is the back bend. This pose effectively stretches the front part of your body, while also strengthening your back.

Again, you’ve probably seen it in some form or another. However, this is a good basis for later, more complicated poses.

  • First, lie flat on your back.
  • Then, bend your knees. Put your feet on the floor, but make sure they’re hip-width apart and that your knees and ankles are placed in a straight line.
  • Your arms should rest beside your body and your palms should be facing downwards.
  • When you inhale, lift your back. Try to roll in your shoulders so that your chin touches your chest. Your arms, feet and shoulders should support your weight.
  • Interlace your fingers. You should also push your hands harder to the ground.
  • You can hold this pose for 10 breaths. Lower your hips then and repeat for two or three times.

The Plank (Kumbhakasana)

Athletic woman in plank position

Let’s face it. Many of us are familiar with the infamous plank pose.

Simply because it’s easy to form, it doesn’t mean it’s easy to do.

When it comes to torture in the form of physical exercise, many will testify that planking is right there with pulling a truck with your bare teeth.

However.

Don’t be dissuaded.

Planking is actually so beneficial, that it should be included in every beginner’s routine. It is also the basis for many other more challenging poses that you’ll learn later on.

Now, some prefer going into plank from the downward-facing dog, while others like to keep it simple.

We’re all about simplicity here. (At least until you feel you’re ready for more.)

So, here’s how to do the plank:

  • Start on the ground, on all fours. Your knees should be directly under your hips and your hands should be directly under your shoulders.
  • Tuck your toes under and lift your knees off the mat. Extend your legs behind you. Your body should form one long line.
  • Keep your palms on the floor and core engaged. Your neck and spine should be in neutral position.
  • If you can, hold this position for about 5 breaths.

Again, while this may seem like it’s too difficult to hold, start small. Begin with 15 seconds and work from there. You will gradually feel your body strengthening and you will be able to increase its duration to 1 minute.

The Cobra (Bhujangasana)

Athletic woman in cobra pose

A simply spectacular pose for beginners. This is when you can feel the stretch, but also give your body a bit of a rest.

The cobra pose is simply perfect if you have a stiff lower back after a day of sitting at the office.

Aside from strengthening your arms and shoulders, it also stimulates your heart, as well as the organs in your abdomen. It also improves circulation of blood and oxygen, which, in turn, has many other benefits.

But how to do it properly?

  • Lie on your stomach and stretch your legs.
  • Then, spread your hands on the floor, but make sure they are directly under your shoulders.
  • Your feet, thighs and pelvis should be firmly pressed into the floor.
  • Lift your chest off the floor, but always maintain your pelvis on the floor.
  • Firm your buttocks and your shoulder blades, but not too much.

Again, you don’t want to push too hard. Should you feel pain at any moment, pull back a bit, you’ve most likely gone too far.

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Woman in child's pose, yoga setting

This pose is effective when you need to take a break between two more challenging poses.

It is also great for digestion, and it’s in general calming for the mind.

It can often be neglected on your road to mastering new poses, but it shouldn’t be! You should never push your body without giving it the proper rest it needs.

Remember, it’s all about balance.

So, while you’re striving for those harder ones, make sure to rest now and then.

  • Kneel on the floor. Your big toes should touch together and you should sit on your heels.
  • Separate your knees to the same width as your hips.
  • On the exhale, put your torso between your thighs. Stretch your arms forward and lower your forehead to the floor. Let your body release.

Since this is such a calming pose, you can do it for as many breaths as you feel necessary.

It is great for letting your body recuperate from the stress of the exercise, but also, the stress of life.