Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings Westchester / Putnam / Dutchess New York

Yoga for Health

Yoga is a widely known and popular holistic health modality. Each year in the U.S. we observe National Yoga Month to help promote the practice of yoga and raise awareness about its benefits for physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.

Yoga is a practice suitable for everybody at all fitness levels. There are approximately 200 known yoga poses in contemporary yoga. Most hatha yoga traditions agree that there are 84 poses and dozens of new poses are created each year by devoted yogis around the world. While there are many different schools of yoga, each with their own variations, they all offer myriad health benefits.

Some of the key advantages associated with a consistent yoga practice include the physical benefits such as greater flexibility and cardiovascular health, increased muscle strength, better posture, improved balance and coordination, and reduced risk of joint-related issues.

Yoga offers numerous benefits for mental health as well, by promoting relaxation, mindfulness and overall emotional well-being. The regular practice of yoga supports stress reduction, better mental clarity and emotional resilience, a reduction in symptoms of anxiety and depression, increased present-moment awareness, and improved sleep.

Additionally, there is a profound spiritual and philosophical component to yoga. Yogis are often on a journey of self-discovery due to yoga’s introspective nature. Yoga is a practice that fosters a sense of unity and interconnectedness with oneself and the world, often leading to inner peace and contentment, regardless of external circumstances.

To celebrate National Yoga Month, Natural Awakenings is excited to introduce this special spread highlighting many local yoga teachers who enthusiastically share their favorite yoga poses and the many health benefits offered by each pose. We encourage all our readers to sign up for their classes and discover the wild, wonderful world of yoga.

Sarah Wallace, RYT 500

Owner and Instructor

Amenia Yoga – a Place for Wellness

646.401.4188 • Amenia, NY

Vrksasana (Tree Pose)

Tree Pose is part of a repertoire of yoga poses studied for improving bone quality and strength. Vrksasana safely stresses and strengthens the leg and hip bones without impacting the joints. It improves concentration, balance, stability and strengthens your core. It also strengthens the tendons and ligaments of your ankles and feet. Yoga and strength training are two allies to fight sarcopenia (age-related muscle loss) and osteoporosis. Together, yoga and strength training are a double win, and research clearly shows they improve bone mineral density. Amenia Yoga has classes that emphasize strong bones and muscle strength in person and online, live. Women need all the muscles they can get, and together, we will improve our health span and rewrite the story of what it means to age well.

Lindsay Rae Freeman, RYT 500

Ascend Center + Collective

845.265.4444 • Cold Spring, NY

Ustrasana (Camel Pose)

Ustrasana is a lovely and safe way to open the chest, stretch the shoulders, lengthen the front of the hip and thigh and also stretch the abdominals. This pose also strengthens the back of the body which will help us to maintain good posture. The mind is also challenged in this pose because working in a backwards plane isn’t typical in our day to day activity. So, orienting ourselves while backwards and upside down is great for developing our proprioception.


Ali Verdicchio, RYT 200

Ascend Center + Collective

845.265.4444 • Cold Spring, NY

Marichyasana Variation (Humble Flamingo)

Humble Flamingo (or Fallen Flamingo Pose) is a fun variation on Pyramid Pose which provides an intense hamstring stretch and also strengthens your hands, wrists, shoulders, arms and legs.

The core muscles must ignite so the body can hold the pose for a few rounds of breath. I love to give my students more advanced variations during my Happy Hour Yoga class. Once they try a harder version of any particular pose they may already be comfortable with, they can then start to incorporate it in their practice once their body lets them know it’s ready for a challenge! I try to write my sequences with new, fun variations, hoping to accommodate all the different levels of yogis in the room.


Dani Locastro, ERYT 500

Ascend Center + Collective

845.265.4444 • Cold Spring, NY

Anantasana (Vishnu’s Couch Pose)

This pose has encouraged me to drop deep inside and explore my own sense of eternal presence of balance and connection from pelvis through the spine to hand to heart. Since it is a side leaning pose, connecting to the center has new perspective of the origin. In this place I then can play to find contentment and equanimity in the moment of settling into the pose. The word Ananta means unending or infinite and references a mythological serpent who supported the universe and Vishnu.


Jess Stafford, RYT 500, RPYT

Luna Power Yoga

845.276.4619 • Mahopac, NY

Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Pigeon Pose)

This is my all-time favorite asana. It’s my immediate “go-to,” when I want to ease my sciatica and lower back pain. It’s also great for increasing strength and flexibility of the hips and groin, while creating a beautiful opening of the chest and shoulders. I love its many variations and also find that it increases my concentration and focus. Plus, it’s an all-around stress relieving pose. Come join me in Pigeon and meet me on the mat at Luna Power Yoga.


Pamela Roth, RYT 200

Luna Power Yoga

845.276.4619 • Mahopac, NY

Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior 3)

This pose challenges both strength and balance which are two of my favorite things to practice. The essence of yoga; working with opposing forces; Warrior 3 epitomizes this. The pose requires steady focus and the ability to release and soften while simultaneously strengthening and holding. It creates stability in the entire body and helps to strengthen the legs, back and abdominal muscles. Warrior 3 improves balance and stability as well as increasing body awareness so that you learn to adjust your position in space. There are endless creative transitions to come into and out of the pose plus which when you steady the breath and find balance you truly feel like a warrior! Find your inner strength and harness the power of Warrior 3 with me at Luna Power Yoga. 


Laura Cuervo, RYT 200

Luna Power Yoga

845.276.4619 • Mahopac, NY

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior 2)

I like to practice warrior 2 because it makes me feel empowered, strong and determined. When I want to connect with my purpose and my goals, warrior 2 is my way to remind my body and mind that I can conquer my fears and doubts. This pose improves balance, posture, strengthens legs and back muscles, increases flexibility of hips, encourages focus and energizes and activates your sacral chakra. Meet me on the mat at Luna Power Yoga.


Michelle Licata, RYT 200

Luna Power Yoga

845.276.4619 • Mahopac, NY

Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Pigeon Pose)

This is my favorite asana for many reasons. Not only does it help develop flexibility and strength in your legs, hips, and shoulders, but there are so many variations of this pose to make it accessible for every yogi. Pigeon pose is mixed in towards the end of my classes because it helps loosen a muscle we just worked, making it a great release after the fire we built. Pigeon is a great chance during our practice to surrender, and maybe try something outside our comfort zone! You can join me on the mat at Luna Power Yoga.

Brittany Feenery, RYT 200

Luna Power Yoga

845.276.4619 • Mahopac, NY

Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)

This is a yoga pose that strengthens the legs and back while stretching the hamstrings, calves and spine. Gazing down at the bottom foot or up at the top hand helps keep alignment in the spine, while improving focus and concentration. I enjoy how the Triangle Pose makes me feel open and strong. I look forward to sharing this with you at Luna Power Yoga.


Melissa Feinberg, RYT 500

Luna Power Yoga

845.276.4619 • Mahopac, NY

Vrksasana (Tree Pose)

Balance poses present the opportunity to settle one's mind and improve balance. I love incorporating balance poses! The benefits of Tree Pose include strengthening the muscles of the legs and core, increased bone density, postural improvements, increased mindfulness, mental focus, and body awareness, invigorating and energizing for the mind and building confidence, grit and determination. Join me for class at Luna Power Yoga.


Brianna Nimphius, CYT 200

PranaMoon Yoga

845.528.0318 • Peekskill, NY

Tri Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana (Three Legged Downward Facing Dog)

This pose is a variation of Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog). It is both strengthening and opening for the shoulders, hips, and legs. It is frequently used in energizing classes as a stand-alone posture or as a transition pose. The pose can be held for a longer amount of time to build upon that strength and flexibility, or it can be used to glide from Adho Mukha Svanasana into lunges, warriors, wild things, and more. It’s one of my favorites!


Edit Babboni, Esq., CHC, RYT 200

Certified Health Coach

Zen Garden Health Coaching & Yoga

917.721.2529 • Yorktown Heights, NY

Viparita Virabhadrasana    (Peaceful or Reversed Warrior)

This is one of the basic poses that I always love to incorporate in my daily practice. Its name is powerful—symbolizing strength and tranquility simultaneously. The benefits of this asana are numerous; from grounding to heart opening. It strengthens the quadriceps while opening the hips as well as lengthening the psoas. Holding this pose long brings about a great side stretch for trimming the waistline. It is also a gentle back band that’s great for reversing the unwanted effects of long days of hunching over desktops or computers. Peaceful Warrior is also heart- opener, promoting love and forgiveness in the practitioner.

Click below for more Local Yoga

Local Yoga News Updates and More

Local Yoga News, Updates and More

We’ve created a special section showcasing the local yoga community and it is chock full of exciting updates, studio profiles and more! Read More »