First of all, great job on choosing to embark on this fulfilling path! As a Yoga newbie, you might have some apprehension about what your practice should look like. Rest assured, there are plenty of options for everyone. Here is a balanced beginner-friendly sequence that works on the whole body! This is all you need for the first few days (or even weeks!) to feel your best and build a solid foundation for the more advanced poses. Breathe deep through every asana for 5-10 breaths and observe its effect on the body with a calm state of mind.
Balancing on tippy-toes, this asana energizes, strengthens and improves focus. Visualize yourself as a tall tree (wearing high heels!) with branches reaching the sky and taking long breaths.
Pro tip: If you're too wobbly, practice with heels down or along a wall for support.
One of the most important standing poses with a lot is going on. An incredible stretch for the thighs, hips and back, Triangle tones and stabilizes the body.
Pro tip: Use Yoga blocks under your palm for more space and a better alignment.
Balancing poses are more about mental focus than physical strength. In Yoga we balance on our hands, toes, head, elbows, shoulders, knees and even the chin! This is a simple one to start developing the skill of balancing on one foot by staying tall and gazing at a fixed point.
Pro tip: In the beginning, stand with your back against a wall and start moving away with every attempt.
Sphinx is a variation of the more popular Cobra pose. A gentle backbend to expand the chest and provide a counter stretch to all the slouching we do throughout the day. The intention should be to experience this in your middle and upper back.
Pro tip: If a strain is felt in the lower back, modify by sliding your elbows forward by a few inches.
This half inversion makes its way to most yoga classes since it's a full-body stretch, working on many different muscles simultaneously. For beginners, this is a fabulous pose to develop the arm strength required for many other asanas.
Pro tip: If you have tight hamstrings, calves or hip, bending the knees to elongate the spine is a good idea.
In our daily lives, we hardly twist (except, maybe if you have a twist as your signature dance move!). Yoga Twists are nourishing for the spine and stimulate our internal organs to provide a host of benefits. However, they need to be done with awareness without forcing beyond the dynamic range of movement.
Pro tip : In the beginning, remember to keep your head at the centre of your chest as a marker.
The bridge pose is a beginner-friendly backbend and a mild inversion. Unlike other yoga inversions like shoulder-stand, headstand, handstand etc., this does not require one to balance and be upside down. Use your abdominal muscles to lift up as you evenly distribute the body weight on both feet.
Pro tip: Grip a block lightly between your thighs to activate your thighs.
A favourite in my classes, Child's pose is restorative and immensely soothing. Agentle release for the lower back, it also relaxes the neck, shoulders and arms. Feel free to get into this shape at any point in your yoga class to recover and unwind.
Pro tip: I highly recommend using cushions or blocks under the forehead as you take this time for mindful breathing.
A simple warm-up that gently wakes up the spine involves moving gracefully between two poses – Cow, a chest opener and Cat that replicates rounding the back like a scared cat. Make a conscious effort to evenly move the entire spine (not just the lower back or the neck!).
Pro tip : A folded blanket or a towel can be used under the knees for added comfort.
The sweet SHAVASANA is one of the top poses for introspection and relaxation. Often people underestimate its importance and even attempt to skip it. Corpse pose lets the physical, mental and energetic body get much-needed rest at the end of a yoga practice.
Pro tip: This is the secret behind one feeling rejuvenated and peaceful after every yoga session.
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