Just starting out in yoga? Congratulations, you’re about to join hundreds of thousands of people who are actively improving their heath and wellness with this ancient stretching routine! But with so many forms, let alone poses to pick from, where do you start? We’ve made it easy for you by putting together 10 great beginner poses that will let you dip your toes in to the world of yoga without becoming a human pretzel.
Yoga has some, shall we say, original names for these poses. Most of them are named after animals stemming from the Hindu reverence for nature and the likeness the poses have to various creatures, particularly the heron, pigeon, fish, crow, tortoise and of course that all too familiar family friend, the dog. So, if you are new to the world of yoga, when the instructor asks you to move to cat-cow pose, you’ll be forgiven a giggle; but believe me there is nothing funny about the workout your body will get, even with these beginner poses!
However the end result especially for those who suffer from lower back pain can become an incredible moment of joy when the pain starts to subside. So here are 10 essential poses:
The Downward Facing Dog
The downward facing dog pose comprises of bending forward over your legs with both your hands and feet firmly on the ground. Don’t shift your weight too far forward; rather focus on keeping your buttocks pointing to the ceiling with all your weight in your legs. If need be, you are allowed to bend your knees to release some strain on the hamstrings. As you advance in your exercise regime, this particular pose will become a resting pose, which may be hard to believe at the beginning!
The Mountain Pose
This is where you will be able to picture what your body’s position should resemble. For this all important pose, the focus is about aligning your entire body. Alignment is a term regularly used in yoga classes and for this the crown of your head has to be in a straight line with your heels; shoulders and pelvis.
This is a standing pose, where you face forward with your hips perfectly straight. You may widen your stance by placing your feet on either side of your yoga mat. Be as assertive in this pose as possible.
Going from Warrior I into this pose, you will move your hips to face the side of the mat. In order to go into this position, where your front thigh has to be positioned parallel to the floor, you move fluidly from the forward stance into the side stance. A noticeable burn will indicate that your muscles are being worked!
Extended Side Angle
The correct way to move into the position is to bring your forearm to your thigh and then place your hand on the floor. If you simply turn to place your hand, then often times the entire effect of the pose is compromised. Ensure you are facing in a more upward position with your shoulders.
This may be a bit tricky for a beginner, but use a yoga block if need be. If you do not have one handy then simply place your hand higher up on the leg away from your knee.
This is the pose to learn for those with chronic back pain. If you ever remember any pose, this spine-stretching pose is the one that can truly help your core strength!
Finally, a seated pose! The Staff Pose helps to align your upper body. You basically sit with your butt flat on the floor.
This pose is quite tricky as it is not a natural sitting position, and it certainly stretches areas of your body your never thought existed; or that you had long forgotten.
When it comes to yoga this is the pose of all poses! This is your go to position when you simply need a break from what you are doing in a yoga lesson. This brings us to a fundamental point when you’re new to yoga: stay in tune with your body and its capabilities and don’t over exert yourself!
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