I've spent 15 years practicing the art of yoga. It started as just a way to get myself to stretch and to really stop and take a minute to breathe (as an ex-ballerina I needed an outlet to keep in shape & stay flexible after I stopped dancing) However, as the years have progressed and my understanding of mind-body balance has expanded, my dedication and commitment to yoga has grown and become such a vital part of my life. At this point, I think if I was for any reason unable to practice I would definitely notice a shift in my stress level, patience, flexibility & concentration.
Physically, yoga is wonderful for you. It literally strengthens your balance and can aid in keeping your body lean and strong. Spiritually though yoga can be truly outstanding. Yoga can bring a new level of peace and serenity into your life. These specific yoga movements have been around for centuries and each has a specific purpose. Yoga can even be used to bring balance to your chakra system.
1st Chakra - Warrior I
This pose can be done with either foot forward, facing the front of your mat. The other foot steps back and is at a 45 degree angle. The spine is arched back and arms are lifted over-head with palms facing one another. Eyes should be focused towards the sky, in between hands. This pose allows you to strongly connect with the earth through your feet and release any stagnant energy that might be bringing you down.
2nd Chakra - Bound Angle Pose
Begin seated on your mat for this pose and bring the bottoms of your feet together so that they are touching. This will force your knees to go outward. The straighter your spine is the deeper the stretch will become. Allowing the hips to open lets the tension from this chakra to be released.
3rd Chakra - Boat Pose
The Boat Pose does require a decent amount of balance and can be a more difficult pose for a beginner. To get into this pose simply start sitting on the floor with your legs straight in front of you. Slowly begin to lean back while lifting your legs in the air, keeping them as straight as possible, toes pointed. With your arms outstretched on either side of you, aligned with your legs. Essentially you will be balancing on your tailbone. The act of balancing connects us with our center and helps to stimulate the third chakra.
4th Chakra - Camel Pose
This pose is a great abdominal stretch. To begin, sit on your knees on the mat, butt lifted so it is not sitting on your calves. Arch your back and tilt your head all the way back, similarly to the Warrior I pose. However, you will bring your arms to your side so that they can touch your feet. Many consider this a very vulnerable pose which is how it links us to our 4th chakra. The 4th chakra is the heart chakra and in order to truly follow our hearts we need to be vulnerable.
5th Chakra - Fish Pose
Lay down on the mat, legs straight out, with your arms alongside your body and your palms facing down. Then lift your chest to create an arch in your back, your forearms and elbows will be pressing into the mat. Your head will be tilted all the way back. With your head back like this you will find a stretch in your throat - freeing your chakra so that you can find the strength to truly express yourself.
6th Chakra - Child's Pose
Begin on all fours with big toes touching one another. Keeping your toes touching, spread knees and slowly start to lean your butt back onto your heels while keeping your arms stretched out in front of you. Forehead on the mat. It looks as though you are kneeling in a deep prayer. The 6th chakra is often referred to as the third eye chakra. While your forehead is touching the mat it is stimulating your third eye so you can access wisdom that already lives within you.
7th Chakra - Headstand
Definitely the most difficult of the above mentioned poses this one will require a great deal of core strength and balance. Begin with fingers laced together and put around head. Place the top of your head and forearms onto the mat and begin slowly raising the rest of your body above you until you're in a straight headstand. This move forces stimulation from the 7th chakra, or the crown chakra. Stimulating this will allow for a greater connection to higher beings.
There are many different levels and types of yoga so my suggestions is to try a few, find one that works for you and then really get into the habit of practicing as often as your schedule allows (personally, it's a major part of my daily routine).