The 5 Best Yoga Poses for Overall Fitness

Yoga is probably one of the best types of exercise that you can do if you want to stay in great shape. It's not going to make you fit, but it will help to tone and sculpt those muscles, burn that fat, and improve your general condition overall.

If you've already got a solid workout plan, adding a day or two of Yoga into the mix is just the smart way to go. You'll find that your body starts to feel better, is much more toned, and has more endurance thanks to the Yoga poses!

There are many wonderful Yoga poses - some of which are incredibly difficult! However, it's the "easier" ones that really are amazing, and there are 5 Yoga poses in particular that will help to improve your fitness immensely.

1.     High Lunge/Warrior Poses

Standing in the High Lunge or Warrior Yoga poses can be darn hard, especially if you hold the poses for over 60 seconds. You've got your front leg bent to a 90-degree angle, and your back leg is holding your body upright as you lean back and extend your arms either out to the side or straight up into the air. It's definitely a tough pose to get right, and it's hard on those muscles even when you do master it. Your legs will be burning within just a few seconds, and making it to 60 seconds in this pose will do wonders for your legs, core, and shoulders.

2.     Boat Pose

If you want to push your core, this is definitely the Yoga pose to try. Basically, you're going to lift your feet about 1 ½ feet off the floor, and your chest and shoulders will be lifted off the floor as well. The only thing holding you upright and in the perfect boat pose will be your back and stomach muscles, and you can bet that it will bring the burn hard! Trust me when I say that this is not an easy pose, though it is a simple one with very few moving parts.

3.     Plank Pose

If you want to target your back, stomach, shoulders, arms, and chest, this is the pose for you. Holding yourself in the perfect plank pose will engage those core muscles, but your shoulders and arms will get used as well. Engaging your chest is fairly easy - just drop down into a push-up and hold yourself at the bottom of the motion. It's incredibly difficult to do this iso-pushup hold, but it's amazingly effective at turning that excess chest flab into solid muscle!

4.     Downward Dog Split Pose

The Downward Dog position is one of the best that you can do to stretch your lower back and hamstrings, and you'll find that you feel a lot better after doing this pose for a minute or so. However, turning it into an exercise is actually fairly easy, as all you need to do is lift your leg high into the air and hold it there. Talk about engaging your core, as well as your hamstrings and quads!

5.     Side Plank

Pay some attention to those love handles with this simple exercise, which is actually surprisingly hard! Simply get into the plank position, and then support all of your weight on one hand as you lift the other high into the air. Only your feet and hand will be touching the floor, and your core will hold the rest of you as straight as possible. Add some intensity by switching sides after a 5-count, and with a push-up in between. It's definitely a great workout for your core and upper body - and your legs will feel some burn as well!

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