Yoga for Beginners
As requested, here is a sequence of yoga positions for beginners! If you have never taken a yoga class or you do not attend class regularly and would feel more comfortable practicing at home, try out these simple, yet effective moves.
1. Downward-Facing Dog - Start with your hands and knees on the floor, hands under shoulders and knees directly under the hips. Breathe in and then on an exhale push your hips up towards the ceiling. Gently walk out your heels, and feel the stretch in your calves. Actively press your hands and feet away from the floor, while keeping your arms straight and your belly button drawn in to spine. Imagine reaching your chest and underarms closer to your thighs. Keep your hips high and your heels low. What makes this pose challenging is the length of time you choose to hold the pose.
2. Three-Legged Dog - Keeping your hips squared while still in downward dog, begin reaching your right leg up with your foot flexed and leg straight. Your hips may open up, so imagine tilting your right hip down and your left hip up to counter balance the desire to shift the weight onto your left side.
3. Lunge (Prep into Warrior II) - From Three-Legged Dog, bring your right leg down and plant it between your hands at the top of your mat. Stay in the position with your right leg bent at a 90 degree angle, never letting your knee surpass your toes. Press back in your left heel to really feel the stretch.
4. Warrior II - Staying in a lunge, rotate your left foot down so it is parallel to the back of your mat and the arch of your left foot is intersected by the heel of your right foot. Cartwheel your arms up and reach them out to your sides, keeping your shoulders down away from your ears. Your right leg is still at a 90 degree angle and your left leg is strong. Sit into the pose and widen your stance to get an even deeper stretch.
5. Peaceful Warrior - From Warrior II, reach your right arm up and back toward the ceiling, creating a stretch in the right obliques. Your right leg will naturally straighten a bit, so be mindful of this and keep it bent at 90 degrees.
6. Plank - Coming out of Peaceful Warrior, cartwheel the hands back down to the ground and frame the right foot. Then, bring your right foot back to meet your left foot at hips width distance. Keep your tailbone tucked and arms shoulder width distance, creating a nice alignment of the spine. Reach back through the heels.
7. Baby Cobra - With control, slowly lower down from plank pose until you are laying on your stomach. Arms should be bent and elbows are glued to your sides. Using your core, slowly lift the heart (chest), feeling your abs, hips, legs, and tops of the feet pressing into your mat. The palms of your hands can be lightly touching the floor or you can even slightly lift them away from your mat. Remember this is Baby Cobra, so you are only doing a slight lift in the chest.
8. Child's Pose - From Baby Cobra, lower down and press back into Child's Pose. I am sure you have practiced this pose at one point or another. Your knees are bent with shins on the floor and hips pushed back. You can keep your knees apart or together and your arms are reaching long in front of you feeling the stretch in your shoulders. Keep the tailbone pressing down into the mat and maybe even walk your arms out in front of you until your elbows lift off of the mat.
Once you have finished these 8 poses, start again and do the same for your left side. :)
Over time, you can create your own flow until you feel sturdy and strong in all of these positions. Don't forget, yoga is not something you can learn overnight. You will only see results in your physical and mental state if you are consistent and PATIENT. You may feel discouraged by lack of balance, stability or endurance, but I promise if you stick with it, your body will allow you to take on shapes and inversions you never knew you could do.
In fact, just last night I discovered I am able to do a Tripod Headstand. My teacher spotted me the first time, and when I tried it again with her nearby, my body was just able to do it….I was shocked. I was so excited that I recorded it like a nerd.
Keep the requests coming! Thank you all for the support :)