People opt for various practices in order to maintain healthy longevity. This ranges from eating healthy to being physically active. Even though these are the most common ways, there are other traditional practices that help people to live a healthy life.
Yoga is an ancient practice that most people have found interesting to adopt. According to research, 95% of active people in the US incorporate yoga into their exercise routines. It also states that of the 95%, 35% perform yoga as the only form of exercise.
Yoga dates back to the ancient Buddhism and Byzantine era where it was used to connect with the spirit, discover inner-peace and communicate with the inner-self. The practice later spread to various parts of the world, where it’s practiced religiously by many people.
If you’re new to this practice, check out these 10 basic yoga poses for beginners that are bound to activate your feel-good hormones.
This basic yoga pose for beginners will leave you feeling relaxed and fantastic. The squat pose is the favorite for most people who are new to this form of exercise. The essential parts to stretch with the Malasana pose are the hips and the lower back. If properly done, the final pose of the student should resemble that of a little nugget. There are a few variations of this that people may incorporate; depending on the level and the strength of the person.
Beginners may struggle at first to balance for long with their heels on the floor. To have a better hold, tuck your heels in so that both your feet can form a V-shape and allow your toes to spread out. This will widen your stance and should make you hold the pose for longer. If the full squat irritates your knees, support them by sitting on blocks.
The core pose, which is known as chaturanga in Vinyasa yoga is the easiest, basic, and most recommended for beginners. The body alignment of this pose is the same as that of body push-ups or full plank. Push-ups are difficult though, as you would need to lift your upper body up and down. With chaturanga, you position yourself in a full plank pose and hold for 30 seconds or a minute.
When doing this pose, it is important to maintain a good body posture or alignment to avoid injuries. Unfortunately, this is what most beginners do; cheating the pose alignment. It is recommended that for starters, you perform the stance with your knees on the ground. This will enable you to hold your lower body in the correct position and avoid dropping it on the ground. Elbows should be aligned with the ribcage and held just above the wrists.
3. Tripod Headstand
This pose falls under the inversions group and is also known as the Sirsasana II. This group of yoga stances changes one’s perspective on life and everything surrounding them and also unleashes bouts of empowerment in an individual. Tripod headstand is easy for beginners because of the balancing techniques used. Most students easily master it and start to transition into advanced techniques involving arm balances.
As a beginner, you should start by balancing with your hands to put your head crown on the ground. For proper balance, your hands must be at shoulder-width and elbows parallel to the ground. Your legs should be straightened into a dolphin pose and toes curled. Make sure that the shoulders are outward all the time to prevent them from collapsing. Imitate walking or striding, still holding the same position. This will pull and stretch the essential lower body muscles; making you feel fantastic afterward.
4. High Lunge
A Yoga practice session would not be complete without performing a high lunge or crescent pose. This stretching posture is good for stretching hips and psoas muscles. It opens up space in the chest when arms are lifted up, allowing for efficient inflow and outflow of air. The feet and thighs become strong by being firm on the ground. Most new students always struggle to balance themselves when doing this pose. But there is an easier way to do it; the secret is in looking down instead of up.
If you lose balance check your feet; make sure that they are not narrow. If your feet are not wide apart enough, chances are high that you will fall. With this pose, you will always be tempted to lean forward, but you should try to avoid it for better results. For pelvis mobility and good results, bend the back knee further down.
5. Upward Facing Dog
This is similar to a cobra pose but mainly focuses on stretching the lower back. Just like the chaturanga pose, body alignment is essential in avoiding injuries. You should make sure that the spine is protected by lifting up the hips and legs from the ground. Your head should be facing up and your neck stretched upwards; alternatively, you can rotate the neck. This will release the tension on the neck and the head, making you feel revitalized.
The hands and feet tops should be the only parts lying flat on the ground. Also, the arms must be firm and straight, with hands positioned close to the hips and below the shoulders. Whilst you’re slightly gazing up, push the shoulders to the back. With this move, you should feel your abdomen stretching and tightening up. Incorporate breath-holding techniques of 5-6 pulls and move to 30 seconds or 1 minute.
6. Boat Pose
If you are a beginner and want to have chiseled abs, this is the pose for you. It will leave you feeling tight on the abdomen; good for perfect abs. An advanced boat pose requires legs to be stretched towards the roof, but this can be very difficult for beginners, hence there are a few variations meant for those who are new to the exercise. All boat pose variations usually leave people refreshed and energized.
As a beginner, start from the sitting position and balance with hands which must be aligned with your hips on the floor. Simultaneously arch the back and lift your bended knees; calves must be parallel to the floor at this stage. The torso and abs will start burning and tightening as you are moving towards the chest. In order to have balance throughout the exercise, put your hands alongside knees, and hold for half a minute.
7. Seated-Forward Bend
This basic yoga pose for beginners works wonders for hamstring flexibility. It is also easier as it does not require you to keep on checking for balance; you only need to be seated throughout the session. The seated-forward bend allows you to stretch both legs hamstrings at the same time and also work on the back and hips.
The posture starts by sitting on the ground with your legs lying flat. Stretch the body towards your feet and hold hands at the center of your foot sole. This will make your head touch your knees or shins. Slowly pull yourself towards your feet, slightly arching your back and bending your hips. You should feel the hamstrings and the back stretching. Beginners always find it hard to reach for their toes the first time they try doing this pose. But, with time and practice, their heads begin to touch their knees.
8. Head-to-knee Forward Bend
This pose has the same stretching techniques as the aforementioned and it’s also good for beginners. If you had a long day at work and need to release all the tension in your muscles, consider doing the Sirsasana pose, which is also the head-to-knee forward pose. Not only will the stance stretch your tight hamstrings, but also increase their flexibility and leave you feeling fantastic.
The secret in this posture is not to bend with the waist, but to use the hips instead. Arching your back a little at the same time stretching your hips will give you the best results. For some people, extending hands so that the writs are opposite the ankles do the trick. But, another way to do it is to push out using your heel; this will increase your muscle flexibility and strength. As a beginner, try to reach as far as your body allows you.
9. Bound Angle Pose
The bound angle pose is one of the simplest and common positions that can be tried by beginners to feel rejuvenated after a busy day. This applies especially to those who spend the whole day seated. Be it behind a computer at work, reception desk, or just sitting at home behind your desk. This is because it strengthens hips and keeps them tight and ready for the long day of sitting.
Get on the mat and bring the soles of your feet together so that space in between your feet and your legs become two 45 degree angles. Hold your toes with both hands and lean forward towards the floor. Also, the hips should be bent instead of the waist and the back must be straight all the time. If you hold this position for 30 seconds and do 3 repetitions, you should feel the difference after the session.
10. Camel Pose
Camel pose can be given a 50% rating according to beginners’ reviews. But, this doesn’t mean that it fails to give people the results they want; it’s just a little difficult to perform. In order to enjoy this pose and feel its effects, you should always align your body properly throughout the exercise. This means supporting the lower back and keeping the neck in a comfortable position. Just like other postures, the camel pose also has a lot of variations that people should try.
For beginners, get in the kneeling position, with your shins on the ground and knees apart at a shoulder-width level. Hands should be wrapped around the hips and allowing the tailbone to go down and lift up the lower tummy to balance the pelvic region. Meanwhile, the hands are on the hips, deeply inhale and move the shoulders back. Hold this position and take 8-10 deep breaths.