Are you a newbie to Yoga? If so, I know you must be intimidated by die-hard Yogis, especially if you are practicing alongside them. It must also be frustrating not being able to do some of the poses that seem pretty simple to them. That is common and nothing to worry about. However, as a beginner, you need to understand that in yoga, you advance as you learn. You start from the basic moves and eventually move on to harder ones.
If you want to become a die-hard yogi, you must do things right from the start. Most of the basic movements are aimed at improving your flexibility. Here are 7 yoga poses for beginners to help in preparing the body for more intense movements.
Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Mountain pose is referred to as the mother of all yoga poses because of its effect on the body. It is also one of the simplest and yet one of the most effective poses for beginners. The pose helps the yogi find proper alignment and shapes for more advanced movements. Tadasana also helps improve one’s posture, tone abs, butt and thighs, strengthen ankles and knees, among others.
How to do it: The Mountain pose is very simple. Start with standing with feet together with arms resting on your side. Make sure that your feet are grounded and your weight is equally distributed on the four corners (of the feet). The best way to know if the weight is equally distributed is by raising the toes. Engage thigh muscles and tuck your tailbone. Then inhale as you extend your arms up for a few seconds, then down. Now you can exhale and release your shoulder blades. Repeat it a couple of times.
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
This is definitely one of the widely recognized yoga poses and highly recommended for beginners. The movement is a great way to stretch your back but has other benefits to the body such as strengthening hands and arms, increasing hamstring flexibility, opening shoulders and heart, and improving posture. It also makes you calm.
How to do it: Start with your knees on the floor and under your hips with your toes tucked under. Your hands should be slightly forward from your shoulder. Then exhale and raise your knees off the floor and lift your hips to form a V-shape with your body. You can also get your feet off the floor until you feel your hamstring stretching. Hold the pose for at least 3 minutes. You can also repeat it a couple of times.
Warrior 1 (Virabhadrasana I)
The Warrior series is one of the most practiced in yoga, but for beginners, you should, of course, start from number one. This pose strengthens the lower body and core by stretching the hips and thighs. It also helps the new yogi to increase concentration and balance, which is essential as you advance. As a yoga pose for beginners, warrior one is a little bit gentle.
How to do it: To do warrior one, you should start with the mountain pose, then take a step back with your left foot. The step should be about four feet so that you are in a lunge position. Then raise your arms straight overhead and turn the left foot about 90 degrees and then put the left and right heel in alignment. Lift your chest as you lift your arms and pull your shoulder back and keep that pose in for about one to two seconds. Step forward and repeat the pose with the opposite leg. You can keep repeating as long as you want.
Corpse Pose (Shavasana)
As the name suggests, the corpse pose is simply lying on your back and relaxing. It may seem like a common thing, but in yoga, it is considered a meditative pose. It helps the body relieve stress and also helps the yogi go on a relaxed state. It’s usually the final pose in a yoga class.
How to do it: just lie down on your back and bring your arms on the side and with palms facing the sky. Close your eyes, and you will feel the entire body relax. The pose can last for seconds or 5 to 10 minutes depending on the intensity of the practice.
Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
The seated forward bend is one of the recommended movements for newbies since it improves the flexibility of key body parts such as the hamstring, shoulders and spinal cord. The pose also promotes air exhalation from the lungs, opens your back and keeps the mind calm.
How to do it: Start in a seated position on a flat floor and extend your legs straight in front of you. Sit tall, exhale and then proceed to lean forward. While in this position, walk your hands down to the legs until you feel your hamstring and spine stretching. Stay in this pose for at least 3 minutes. Repeat this pose regularly to enhance flexibility.
The reason why this pose is popular with yogis is because of its ability to enhance flexibility in almost all body parts. The movement will increase flexibility in your knees, groin muscles, shoulders, chest, spine, hamstring, hips and so on.
How to do it: Start by standing tall on a flat surface and stretch your feet and arms out wide. That will give you a good or stable foundation. Spread the fingertips wide until your tailbone tucks to lengthen the spine. With your palms facing down, turn your right foot 90 degrees and left foot around 45 degrees. Now, take a deep breath, exhale, send your left hip back and try to reach forward with your right hand. The common challenge newbies have with this pose is collapsing the right side inward. You can avoid that by maintaining a straight line down from the foundation.
Child’s Pose (Balasana)
The Balasana pose is simple in design and easy to execute. The movement usually relaxes the nervous system due to its calming and soothing effects. The pose also helps to open the hips as well as soothe and relieve lower back pain. The pose is also good for people with knee problems. You can also find people doing it when they are taking a breath during a class.
How to do it: Start in a kneeling position with your knees wide open. Then exhale and slowly lean forward with your weight supported by your hands as your stomach rests on your thighs. Breathe out slowly and allow your tailbone to relax on your heels to stretch your spine. Place your arms forward or backward to allow the weight of the shoulders to gently spread your upper back. Hold this pose along as you can and keep breathing.