You may only think of yoga as complicated routines where you twist your body into several unthinkable poses. However, yoga need not be so complicated. Have you heard about yoga for beginners? Kate Beckinsale, Gisele Bundchen, Jennifer Aniston and even the L.A. Lakers team are doing yoga. Wouldn’t you want to belong with this bunch of amazing people? Grab a mat and let’s go!
Benefits of Yoga
I’m not trying to be an expert yogi or yogini here, it’s just that I have so many friends who can attest to its benefits (and yes they’re encouraging me to start – I’ve even been trying these simple poses).
Yoga was an ancient practice which originated from India. It is a series of meditative poses done to clear the mind and renew the spirit. Today, yoga has evolved into a meditation done to connect the mind and soul and improve the body’s physical aspects.
With its various promises in various dimensions, yoga is practiced by thousands of people across the world. It’s benefit includes:
- good blood circulation,
- better balance and flexibility,
- clear mind,
- minimizes pain in the lower back,
- gives you longer sleep,
- improves body strength,
- improves posture,
- reduces stress,
- helps you lose weight,
- increases mental endurance and
- builds core muscles among others.
What You Need
For yoga, you may need the following, some are optional:
- comfortable clothes that will allow you to stretch,
- a yoga mat that will stop you from slipping when doing the poses,
- a quiet place or a yoga class,
- towels to wipe off sweat,
- bottle of water,
- yoga equipments (optional).
Twelve Do-able Yoga Poses for Beginners
So let’s get started.
#1 Pelvic Tilts
Benefits: Pelvic tilts strengthen the muscles in the lower back. This reduces lower back pains and strengthens the abdominal.
Lie on your back. Keep your feet on the floor, knees bent. Place palms on the floor and gently tilt your pelvis up as you exhale. Feel your upper back and shoulders press into the floor. Inhale and return to your initial position.
#2 Cat Cow Stretches
Benefits: Cat-cow pose helps bring flexibility to the spine. This asana stretches torso and neck. It also helps the abdominals and stimulates kidney and adrenal glands.
Get on your hands and knees. Put your knees hip width apart while your wrists are directly under your shoulders. First you have to do the cow pose. Inhale and drop your belly towards the mat while you lift our chin and chest up. Look at the ceiling. Then go back to your neutral position and be ready for the cat’s pose. Exhale and pull your belly to your spine, up towards the ceiling. Look down, with the crown of your head facing the floor but don’t let your chin touch your chest. Repeat 5-15 times.
#3 Mountain Pose
Benefit: Mountain pose is the basic standing posture of all asanas. It helps allow internal organs to work efficiently and improves circulation as well as digestion.
Mountain pose is an easy task. All you have to do is stand tall! Put your feet together and relax your shoulders, Distribute your weight evenly in your soles, arms and sides. Start deep breathing and raise your arms above your head. Make sure your palms are facing each other and reach up aligning your body.
#4 Downward Facing dog
Benefits: Self.com pointed out benefits of this asana. It includes improvement of bone density, wakes you up, stops back pain, and boosts circulation among other benefits.
Downward facing dog is a little bit hard to do at first. Easy mistakes like making it more like a plank are often made when this position is done. The correct way to do it is to reach your hand toward the floor and keep your weight in your legs while you keep your butt high. Beginners can bend their knees a little if it’s too hard. Check the photo for demonstration.
#5 Child’s Pose
Benefits: Child’s pose is a rest pose. It reduces tension in the shoulders, chest and back. It eases fatigue, reduces stress and stretches the spine. It calms the mind and stretches muscles.
Child’s pose is easy to do for the reason that it is a position one can assume for a break. Sit on your heels and bring your whole torso forward and rest your head on the ground. Extend your arms forward and let your palms rest on the floor. Hold this position, rest and breathe.
#6 Staff Pose
Benefits: Staff pose addresses problems in posture and helps make back muscles strong. Staff pose also has a big benefit on digestive functions and improves body alignment. It stretches the hamstrings and builds one’s resistance to back and hip injuries.
Staff pose looks easy but it will also need your focus and a little bit of struggle if you are really new at stretching your body. Sit on your mat with your butt flat on the floor. Keep legs straight in front of your and your arms aligned with your torso, palms flat on the floor.
#7 Extended Side angle
Benefits: This asana targets the legs, hamstrings and groins. It also opens up the body’s chest and shoulders.
It looks complicated but it’s easy to do. And once you’re comfortably in this pose, you might want to stay longer. It stretches you really well. Stand with your feet 4 feet apart. Assume a warrior II pose where your arms are spread. Then lower body sidewards until your forearm rests on your thighs. Raise hands up while the other hand rests near your ankles or touching the inside of your foot. Gaze past your outstretched hand.
#8 Triangle Pose
Benefits: Triangle pose is similar to the extended side angle pose and also opens up the chest and shoulders. It helps increase the mobility of neck and hip joints. For the thighs, hip and hamstrings, muscles may start to strengthen and build.
Like in extended side angle, put your feet 4 feet apart. Spread your arms so they are aligned with your shoulders. then slowly bend hips sideways, your bottom hand resting near your ankles (inside of your foot) or higher on your leg; whatever if comfortable. Make sure that your arms are still aligned. Again, gaze past your outstretched hand.
#9 Warrior I Pose
Benefits: The warrior pose addresses 5 main parts of the body. It helps strengthen the shoulders, ankles, thighs, arms and the back. Those who often practice it may find it beneficial since it improves endurance capacity in the thigh muscles.
Stand on your mat with your feet 4 feet apart. Then turn out your right foot with your left following suit in just a little turn. Lunge on you right knee to create a 90 degrees angle with your knees in line with your foot, not going past your toes. Make sure your palms are touching overhead your head, stretched upward. And breathe.
#10 Warrior II Pose
Benefits: The warrior II pose is good for hips, shoulders and groins. It also benefits the legs, ankles and feet. The wide shoulder stance opens the chest and the lungs. This pose is also recommended for pregnant women since it relieves backaches through their 2nd trimester.
The starting and middle position of Warrior II pose is similar to that of Warrior I. Feet apart, lunge on your right knee. Your arms outstretched. Switch sides after a few breaths.
photo: photo: kristinmcgee
#11 Tree Pose
Benefits: The tree pose is done with one leg at a time, thus improving balance and increasing leg stability. Constant practice of tree pose can tone the whole leg even the buttocks.
Start with your mountain pose then shift weight to your left leg while you raise your right food to rest inside your left thigh. Find your balance and put your hands in front of your chest in prayer position. You can raise your arms upwards later then switch your feet.
Have fun practicing these beginner yoga poses!