Yoga can give you greater flexibility, boost your confidence, improve circulation, build better muscle tone, increase energy levels, release stress, and calm the mind.
Did you know that you can also use yoga to ignite your 5 senses? We’ve put together 5 yoga poses and linked each pose to one of the senses.
Include them into your yoga practice and try our mindfulness exercise to notice your sense of smell, touch, vision, sound, and taste. If this is difficult for you, don’t worry – there are other ways to give your senses a kickstart – including essential oils in your practice is a great way to improve your sense of smell and touch.
We recommend you start your yoga practice with to three rounds of Sun Salutations. End your warm up in Downward Facing Dog and start this ‘sensational’ flow.
SMELL: Utthita Ashwa Sanchalanasana – High Lunge
High Lunge strengthens the whole lower body and stretches the groins and legs. It opens the chest, lungs, and hips and lengthens the spine.
From Downward Facing Dog step the right leg to the inside of your right hand. Come to a low lunge, roll your shoulders back, press your chest forward and reach your arms over your head. Make sure to keep the right angle in the front leg and press into the heel of your back leg. Let your hips sink towards your mat and relay the shoulders down your back.
Mindfulness Practice: Take 5 slow full breaths here (inhale and exhale). Notice the smells around you. What can you smell in this room? What can you smell outside the room? How does every breath feel in your nostrils? Is it cold or warm?
TOUCH: Namaskar Parsvakonasana – High Lunge Twist
High Lunge Twist opens your chest and your hips and stretches the back muscles. It strengthens the stamina and quads and generates power.
From High Lunge with your left leg in the front bring your hands to a prayer at heart center. Inhale. With your exhale pin your right elbow to the outer edge of your left knee. Your left knee should stay in a right angle. Pull your navel in and gently try to twist deeper.
Mindfulness Practice: Press your palms firmly together. Does every part of your right-hand touch every part of your left hand? Is there a gap between your ring fingers? Can you close it? Now try to actively press your thumbs together, then your index finger, ….
SEE: Virabhadrasana III – Warrior III
Warrior III improves your balance and posture while strengthening the legs, ankles, and back. It is also a good stretch for the hamstrings and thighs.
Come back to High Lunge, lay your torso forward and shift your weight into the front leg. Stretch your arms forward, palms facing each other. Exhale and straighten the front leg while lifting the back leg. Your back foot can be flexed or pointed, just make sure that it is active. Try to keep your hips square to the mat.
Mindfulness Practice: Look at your foot. What do you like about your foot? Try to come up with a minimum of 5 things.
SOUND: Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana – Standing Split
Standing Split stretches the back of the leg, the thighs, hamstrings, calves, and groins. It strengthens the lower body while stimulating the liver and kidneys.
From Warrior III bring your hand on the floor to either side of the front foot. Shift your weight into the front foot and start to straighten it while simultaneously lifting the back leg up into the sky. You back leg can be parallel to the floor with square hips or you can open your hips and reach the leg up further. For both variations make sure that your back foot is active (flexed or pointed). Your head and neck are relaxed. If you want to challenge your balance, try to bring one or both hands onto your standing shin.
Mindfulness Practice: In this pose blood, is streaming into your head. Can you hear it? Listen inside yourself.
Step back to High Lunge and come back to Downward Facing Dog directly or through a Vinyasa Flow (Plank > Chaturanga > Upward Facing Dog > Downward Facing Dog) and repeat on the other side.
TASTE: Ustrasana – Camel Pose
Camel Pose strengthens your back while opening your shoulders, chest, and quads. It can boost your energy and mood.
Come to your knees with your legs hip-width apart. Place your palms on the sacrum with the fingers pointing down. Inhale, engage your belly and reach your tailbone towards your knee. Exhale press the hips forward while squeezing the buttocks and thighs. Your hips should stay over your hips! If you are comfortable, carefully reach one hand down to the heel, then the other. If you can’t reach your heels, leave your hands at the sacrum. Make sure not to pinch your shoulders together. Only if it feels good, lower your head and neck down. This is a deep backbend which can create a anxiety. Make sure you are warmed up and listen to your body.
Mindfulness Practice: Try to take a few deep breaths here. How does your breath taste? Does it taste different when your breath out? Does it taste differently when you send it to the belly instead of the chest?
The sixth sense: Meditation
End your practice in a comfortable seat. Close your eyes, breathe easy and go over your senses again. Thank your body for each sense.
I am grateful for my sense of smell.
I am grateful for my sense of touch.
I am grateful for my sense of vision.
I am grateful for my sense of sound.
I am grateful for my sense of taste.
You might also like out Yoga for Strength or Yoga for Energy flow. Check out all of our yoga posts here!