Basics for a yoga beginner

Now is the time to start experiencing the wonders of yoga.

If getting involved with yoga has been something you have considered for a while, what are you waiting for? Yoga is an ancient Indian practice that is performed by those young and old, while also providing amazing health benefits. Some of the advantages weekly yoga sessions can offer include:

  • Increased flexibility
  • Improved with respiration and energy levels
  • Healthier cardiovascular activity
  • Stress management
  • Lower blood pressure

For those who might be intimidated by the complex exercises and stretches commonly associated with yoga, fear not! There are plenty of easy steps and practices that are ideal for yoga beginners, and you will find that participants in yoga classes are often the most friendly and patient people. Here are a few tips for basic yoga positions for those hoping to get started:

The mountain pose
This is the simplest pose and the foundation of all yoga positions. Start out by standing straight up, feet about hip-width apart, with your arms at your sides. While taking slow and deep breaths, move your arms upward at a steady rate, until they are pointing straight toward the sky. Remember to completely let go of tension and stay perfectly relaxed. This stance will help improve your posture and balance while providing some peace of mind.

Warrior pose  
This one is not as intimidating as it sounds. With your legs about four feet apart, turn your right foot at a 90 degree angle while slowly twisting your left foot inward. Extend your arms straight out with your palms facing down and lunge forward, putting your weight on your right knee. Focus on your right hand for however long you feel necessary, then switch to the left side. This pose can improve strength and flexibility with your lower body.

Tree pose
Tree pose is another basic yoga posture. Start in the first step of mountain pose and with your weight primarily on your left leg, lift your right foot and place it on your inner left thigh – moving slowly to achieve total balance. When you are stable, put your hands in a prayer position and close your eyes, visualizing something that calms you down. Keep switching between feet. This will also help with your balance and leg muscles.

Bridge pose
Here is a position that is a little more challenging. With a pillow or mat protecting your head and neck, lie down with your back flat on the floor and your arms to your side. Bend your knees, and lift your hips up with your feet still flat on the surface. Lock your hands together under your back, intertwine your fingers and stick your chest out until it is even with your chin. Lower your body back down and repeat. This is a good exercise to strengthen your upper body and stretch out your spine.

Upward facing dog
This is a pose you can do anywhere in the house. Lying face down with your hands on the floor and fingers spread out, push up with your arms and puff your chest out. Keep your hips downward as much as possible, and squeeze your glute muscles. After holding that pose for at least 10 seconds, relax and repeat. This can help increase flexibility in your back and your wrists.

Downward facing dog
Downward facing dog will get the blood circulation flowing and help stretch out your calves and ankles. Get down on all fours with your hands and feet flat on the ground and keep your legs shoulder width apart. Stick your butt up in the air so your body resembles an inverted V shape, while keeping your heels on the ground. Walk your hands as far back as you can go without lifting your heels off the floor, and feel that burn sooth your leg muscles.  

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