Yoga is a great way to de-stress yourself and gain a wide array of benefits. However, the first few weeks – or years if you don’t do it right – can be rather difficult for an inexperienced yogi. Most people spend their first few yoga classes frantically looking around at everyone else as they try to figure out what the hell is going on. All the different poses and English and Sanskrit names for these poses can get quite overwhelming for a beginner.
If you’re in the same boots and are trying to figure things out as you go, your journey may become longer than you hope or even expect. While it does take time to get familiar with the different yoga poses and be comfortable doing them, you must start out right so that you are on the right track to improve yourself instead of making a ton of mistakes before realizing you’re doing something wrong.
Basic Yoga Poses
Before getting into the deeper and more complex yoga poses, it is crucial to master the basics. This will enable your body to be more accustomed to the practice and allow you to be more comfortable as you delve deeper.
Following are some basic yoga poses that are easy to get the hang of and are perfect for starting your yoga journey.
1. Cobra Pose
This is arguably the easiest yoga pose anyone can perform while getting a nice stretch out of it. While many yoga poses stretch the muscles on the backside of your body, Cobra Pose or “Upward Facing Dog” balances this out by stretching the muscles in the front. Regularly performing the cobra pose – 4 to 5 times a week – can help correct poor posture, rounded shoulders and strengthen upper back muscles. This pose stretches the chest, shoulders, and abdominals while strengthening the arms, glutes, and upper back.
· Start by lying face down on the mat with your head slightly lifted. Place your hands directly under your shoulders.
· Point your toes out so that the tops of your feet touch the mat. Don’t push it if it isn’t easy to do so; just point outward as much as you comfortably can.
· Take a deep breath, and as you exhale, push yourself up by pressing through your hands. Keep going until your arms are straight.
· Keep your neck relaxed as you look upwards.
· Inhale as you get into the original position.
· Repeat 5 to 10 times at a time.
Risks: This pose isn’t safe for people with arthritis in their spine or neck, carpal tunnel syndrome, or a lower-back injury.
The great thing about plank is that it isn’t just a yoga pose but also works as a proper exercise. It teaches you how to balance on your hands while using the entire body’s support. It is an excellent workout for the core muscles and helps strengthen the abdominals.
Doing a plank regularly can increase your balance and build strength throughout your body, which will further help you tackle more complex yoga poses.
- Lay down on your stomach and keep your hands palms-down beside your shoulders.
- Tuck your toes so that your feet are straight.
- Push yourself up using your palms until your arms are straight. Your body should be in a straight line from your head to your heels.
- Make sure that your abdomen isn’t falling down and your butt isn’t pointed upwards. If your body isn’t in a straight line, there aren’t any benefits of doing this pose. It can even lead to poor posture and neck problems.
- Engage your lower abdominals and pull your ribs together.
- Breathe deeply for 15 to 20 seconds. If you can comfortably hold it, you can go up to a minute as well. There aren’t any benefits of holding a plant for more than 2 minutes at a time, so there’s no use pushing yourself beyond that.
Risks: While there aren’t many risks associated with doing a plank, it is essential to remember that planks should feel good. It is common to feel some stress build-up during a plank, but it may not be beneficial if you don’t feel right doing a plank.
3. Child’s Pose
A child’s pose is a good resting pose for yoga practitioners of all levels. However, it is so easy that you can just do it right now without much room for error. Not only is it a great way to end a yoga session, but it can be a good stress reliever any time you need.
Whether you are tired due to working from home, cannot fall asleep at night or just need a mental break, doing a Child’s Pose for a few moments can help your mind and body relax. It is also a great pose to get a nice stretch in your neck, spine, and hip area.
- Start by kneeling on the floor with your knees hip-width apart and your toes together.
- Rest your palms on your thighs.
- Take a deep breath, and as you exhale, lower your torso between your knees.
- Simultaneously extend your arms alongside your torso as your palms are facing downwards.
- Relax your shoulders as much as you can near the ground.
- Rest in this pose for as long as need. Make sure to continue taking deep breaths.
Risks: This pose isn’t safe for people who have ankle problems, knee injuries, high blood pressure, and pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Once you get the hang of these basic yoga poses and stretches, you can further delve into deeper poses more easily to expand your practice.