Have you ever been interested in trying yoga, but didn’t know where to start? Here are 5 simple yoga poses for beginners.
What is Yoga?
Yoga is a practice that began in northern India over 5,000 years ago but has become increasingly popular in Western society. Yoga includes movement and breathwork to connect the mind and body.
Benefits of Yoga
Yoga is an amazing exercise to increase strength and flexibility while decreasing stress. Yoga is also known to relieve back pain, improve balance, relieve arthritis, increase heart health, enhance sleep, and boost energy. With so many benefits, yoga is a great exercise to incorporate into your routine.
Simple Yoga Poses
While yoga may seem intimidating at first, here are 5 simple yoga poses (with both the common and Sanskrit names) that are easy for a beginner to try.
- Easy Pose (Sukhasana) – This is one of the most basic yoga poses and a simple one to learn first. Sit on the floor in a comfortable, cross-legged position. Align your shoulders with your hips, push your shoulders back and down, and rest your hands on your thighs.
- Child’s Pose (Balasana) – This is a well-known resting pose that is great for stretching many parts of the body at the same time. Sit on your knees and spread your knees as wide as the mat. Keep your toes on the mat while reaching forward and resting your belly on the floor between your thighs. Relax your forehead to the floor while stretching your arms out in front of you, palms upwards. Stay in this position as long as you are comfortable and focus on your breathing while you stretch.
- Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) – This simple yoga pose is the poster child for yoga. This pose is an effective way to stretch your hamstrings and calves while strengthening your arms and legs. Start on your hands and knees with your wrists under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Push up on your hands to lift your hips and straighten your legs so your body is in an upside-down V position. Relax your head and engage your core. With more practice, work towards lowering your heels to the ground.
- Plank Pose (Phalakasana) – The plank pose looks simple, but it actually works your arms, wrists, core, and spine all at the same time. Begin on the floor in a push-up position. Make sure your arms are directly under your shoulders. Engage your core by bringing your belly button towards your spine. Relax your head and look down at the floor. Keep your body in a straight line and make sure your hips aren’t sticking up in the air or sagging towards the ground.
- Tree Pose (Vrksasana) – As the name suggests, the purpose of this simple yoga pose is to help you feel stable and grounded. Start in a sturdy standing position. When you feel ready, shift your weight onto your right foot and begin to lift your left foot in the air. Bend your left leg and bring your left foot up to your right thigh with your left knee facing out to the side. Keep your hips square and facing forward while focusing your gaze on an object straight in front of you to help you keep your balance. Bring your hands into a relaxed prayer pose by your chest.
Practice Yoga at the Y
These simple yoga poses are a great way to get a little taste of yoga and see if you like it. Whether you’re just starting out with yoga or an experienced yogi, it’s always a great idea to take a class to learn even more from trained instructors. Check out available yoga classes at your local YMCA.