Yoga is one of the most popular forms of exercise in today’s world. The spiritual aspects of yoga combined with the physical benefits make it a holistic form that goes beyond physical exercise. Not only does it offer a great body workout, it also helps us to become mentally stronger, calmer and more peaceful. However, many people believe that yoga is only for those who are flexible or physically strong. This impression is further perpetuated by popular yogis on social media flaunting the most challenging asanas that can, quite frankly, intimidate beginners. However, it is important to remember that even the most experienced yogi was once a beginner, and with patience and practice, core body strength and flexibility can be improved drastically. If you’re just starting out your yoga practice, these poses are great for beginners as they are relatively easy to master:
The Bridge Pose
i. Lie down on the ground, keep your feet apart at your hip’s width while your legs are bent. Place your arms alongside your body with your palms facing downward.
ii. Lift your hips while you squeeze your glutes and your inner thighs. Your back must remain in a straight line.
iii. You can slide your shoulders under your body and lock your hands together. Stay like this for 10-15 breaths, release the tension, and repeat.
The Child Pose
i. Keep your big toes touching as you spread your knees apart. Keep your buttocks resting on your heels. If spreading your knees is difficult, try to do as much as you can without hurting yourself.
ii. Bow forward, draping your torso between your thighs. Your heart and your chest should be resting upon your thighs or between your thighs. Allow your forehead to come to the floor.
iii. Keep your arms along the side of your body with your palms facing up. Relax your elbows.
iv. Stay in this pose for a minute, or more if possible.
The Reclining Twist
i. Lie down on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. You can use a pillow or a blanket for extra support.
ii. Let your arms rest at your sides. On exhalation, draw your knees toward your chest and clasp your hands around them.
iii. Extend your left leg on the floor while your right knee is still drawn to your chest. Extend your right arm out along the floor at shoulder height, and keep your palm facing downwards.
iv. Shift your hips slightly to the right and place your left hand on your right knee. Drop your right knee over the left side of your body as you exhale.
v. Turn your head towards the right while your shoulder blades remain on the floor. Hold for 5 breaths on each side.
The Cat/Cow Pose
i. Begin on all fours with your knees directly below your hips and your hands directly below your shoulders.
ii. Inhale and arch your spine as you look up towards the ceiling. Feel your chest open up.
iii. As you exhale, round your spine towards the ceiling and you bring your neck down and lower your face towards the floor.
iv. Repeat the inhale and exhale variations for a full minute.
The Tree Pose
i. Stand up straight with your arms at your sides. Distribute your weight evenly through your body.
ii. Bend your right leg, and put your right foot on the inner side of your left hip, either above or below the knee, but not on the knee.
iii. Place your hands in front of your chest in a prayer position. Fix your gaze on a motionless object as this can help to maintain your balance.
iv. Keep this pose for 5 breaths before you switch sides.