Yoga can not only help to strengthen the body, but for some, it can also help clear the mind. If you’re looking for a fantastic way to get in shape, while at the same time finding spiritual and emotional fulfillment, you simply can’t beat yoga.
But just like any kind of exercise program, you’ll want to talk to your doctor first before starting yoga.
Continue reading for some basic information on yoga poses that you can do no matter what your skill level may be.
How To: Downward Facing Dog, Mountain Pose, And The Cobra Pose
Here’s a brief description of some of the more basic yoga balance poses and how to do them.
Downward Facing Dog
This is one of the best-known yoga balance poses. It helps increase strength and flexibility in your legs and throughout your body. Here are some quick tips on how to do it.
- Step 1 – First, get on your hands and knees. Position your knees under your hips. The tops of your feet should be flush to the floor, and your hands should be the same width apart as your shoulders. Keep your wrists a bit in front of your shoulders, with your fingers pointing in the 12 o’clock position. Press on your hands, placing pressure on the index finger and thumb of your right and left hand.
- Step 2 – The inside of your right elbow should face the left corner of the mat, with the left elbow facing the opposite corner.
- Step 3 – Draw in your abdomen as if you’re trying to move it up along your spine. Slowly inhale and exhale several times, and focus on lifting up your hips.
- Step 4 – Bend each leg and then straighten it a few times. Stretch your arms and neck, keeping them in line with your spine. Move your tailbone toward your heels. Hold this pose for about three breaths, rest and then repeat.1
This is one of the most basic standing poses. In fact, it’s where most standing poses in yoga begin. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to do it.
- Step 1 – Stand so that the base of each big toe touches the other. Keep your heels slightly apart. Then spread your toes and the balls of your feet. Rock gently in a side-to-side and back-and-forth motion. Then stand still, maintaining your balance at all times.
- Step 2 – Tighten your thigh muscles and lift your kneecaps. Then lift the inner portion of each ankle. Visualize a surge of energy that runs from your inner thighs all the way to the torso. Then visualize that surge moving to your neck and head. Turn the upper thighs inward and then focus on lengthening your tailbone toward the floor.
- Step 3 – Press the shoulder blades into the back, and then widen the shoulder blades. Move your sternum to the ceiling and widen each collarbone. Then hang your arms beside your torso.
- Step 4 – Try to position the top of your head over the center of your pelvis. Then, put your chin in a position to where it’s parallel to your mat. Relax your eyes and hold this position for about one minute and then release.2
This pose can support flexibility and back strength. It may also help with symptoms of fatigue.
- Step 1 – First, lie in a prone position on your yoga mat. Keeping the tops of the feet on the floor, stretch your legs as far back as you can. Then spread your hands on the floor while keeping your elbows tucked close into your body.
- Step 2 – Press the tops of your thighs and feet, as well as your pelvis, into the mat.
- Step 3 – Breathe in slowly as you straighten your arms. This will help you lift your chest off of the mat. Move your buttocks toward your pelvis, and your pelvis toward your belly button.
- Step 4 – Move your shoulder blades toward your back, then lift the top of your chest off the mat. Don’t overdo it. Remember to keep your hips connected to the mat.
- Step 5 – Hold this pose for about 30 seconds, continuing to breathe smoothly the entire time. Once you exhale, return to the prone position on your mat.3
Getting Started In Yoga: How To Do It
Once you get approval from your doctor to give yoga a try, you’ll need to decide whether you want to do yoga at home or if you’ll want to join a yoga class. The only gear you’ll need is a non-slip mat and some loose-fitting, comfortable clothes. You could learn yoga through a DVD, but many beginners find there’s no substitute for the one-on-one instruction from an expert teacher.
Whatever route you take, begin gradually, so you can build confidence. It won’t be long until you’re not only building leg strength and overall flexibility, and be ready to take on more complicated moves such as the crow pose. You could also achieve a level of serenity you might not have previously thought possible.
What Is Ashtanga Yoga? Here’s All You Need To Know About It
Different Types Of Yoga And Their Benefits
What Is A Sound Bath And What Does It Entail?