All asanas have incredible benefits for the body, mind & energy centres. Although asana practice has not originated for the purpose of specific benefits other than to take us to the higher spiritual practices through purification, we cannot deny the great effects of it on all aspects, physical, mental/emotional and spiritual.
These 10 asanas provide an overall balanced practice focusing on physical and mental balance & harmony. Each of these stimulates prana flow in specific areas and chakras which can help feel more energised and remove any energy stagnation. I took in consideration all levels practitioners and asanas that are less anatomically complex although very effective, which can be practiced either together as a sequence or added to your daily practice. Of course if you already have an established daily asana practice or follow a specific method, then these may not apply for you.
Yoga props can also be used if needed for supporting the body into these asanas.
Start the day in stillness and silence focusing on the breath. Sukhasana is a gentle hip opening posture (can sit on a block if there is stiffness in the hips) and helps us to ground and prepare ourselves for the practice. Take a few deep breaths and maybe if it is part of your practice, set a Sankalpa/an intention for your practice and your day.
Develop a strong foundation physically, mentally, emotionally. This is a grounding asana which strengthens the lower body & activates Muladhara, the root chakra. Its name comes from Vira meaning hero, and Virabhadra, a Hindu Mythology warrior, so it is an empowering posture which can teach us self-belief and help us develop mental concentration.
Malasana is in my opinion a daily must do. It is one of the best asanas for digestion and bloating/gas relief, stimulating apana prana (the prana moving downwards which controls the excretion of the bodily waste). It is also a hip opening posture and helps us to create stability and balance on our feet.
This is the variation I of the asana, which is the first variation for the original asana with the backbend. It relieves tension from the hips & leg muscles, and helps to gently soothe lower back tension/discomfort. It activates Swadisthana, the sacral chakra, which is our centre of creativity, fluidity in life, sensuality, desire and emotions.
Although it looks like a very simple seated asana, when done correctly, it is strong and for some can feel challenging, especially if there is stiffness of the hamstrings or weakness in the core (in which case you can sit on a block). Dandasana is the foundational asana for all seated postures. It improves/maintains correct body posture, strengthens the core & quads, stretches the hamstrings, develops grounding & promotes stillness.
Uttanasana is an inversion posture therefore it reverses the pranic flow to the head. It stimulates the digestive organs, kidneys and liver, stretches the hamstrings, strengthens the ankle joints, stretches the spine and it provides an introspective state.
Whether you practice this variation, or the reclined one, spinal twists in my opinion are helpful to be done daily. The spine is the main centre of communication between the mind and body, therefore it is important to keep iflexible and strong. Ardha Matsyendrasana (or any other spinal twist asana) develops spine flexibility, cleanses the digestive organs, energise the mind, boosts circulation & creates movement the stomach area. For this reason, it is helpful to practice it in the morning, before taking food.
Bhujangasana is a beautiful backbending asana which strengthens the spine, opens the chest and shoulders, strengthens the arms, shoulders and back muscles. The variation Salamba Bhujangasana/Sphinx pose can also be practiced as an alternative, especially when there is any stiffness of the spine or discomfort in the lower back, as it is a more gentle variation. In my opinion, it is helpful to practice at least one kind of backbend daily because this movement of spine extension is not really part of our daily life. This way, we create and maintain the balance for the spine flexibility and mobility.
In my opinion, focusing on developing a strong core is essential. Navasana (as well as Kumbhakasana/plank) strengthens the core, helps us develop/maintain correct body posture, opens the chest and stimulates digestion. My main focus for this asana is in the benefits of the subtle body, activating Manipura (the solar plexus chakra). This is the energy centre of strength, power, ambition and motivation. Embodying these qualities will boost confidence and self-belief (not to be confused for arrogance) and also becoming more mentally focused.
This is a beautiful asana that can be practiced at any time of the day, especially in the evening. The photo shows a supported variation, however another way you can practice this is by having your legs up the wall. Unlike most of the other inversions (Sarvangasana as an exception as well) Viparita Karani stimulates Ida nadi, so it is calming for the mind and cooling for the body. It is great for blood circulation and prana flow in the legs. It can help relieve lower back discomfort or pain also. This asana can be held up to 5 minutes when done at the wall.