New Year new you?
If you have decided to give yoga a go in 2020, you probably want to get a few beginner’s poses under your belt before you attend your very first class. So where do you start? Throwing yourself into any new activity can be a bit daunting but getting familiar with a handful of basic poses can help you feel a little less out of your comfort zone. Remember, it is paramount that you ease into any yoga practice at your own pace and be kind to yourself throughout.
Downward Facing Dog - Adho Mukha Svanasana
Here’s one you’ve no doubt heard of even if you have never attempted it. This pose features heavily in most yoga sequences and is a relatively simple pose to achieve whilst being incredibly beneficial for the body. Begin on your knees with your palms and feet planted firmly into the floor. Bring your knees off the floor, point your hips to the sky and let your head bow between your upper arms while keeping your back straight. Aim to lengthen the tail bone and work towards pressing your heels into the ground. This all over stretch is designed to revitalise the entire body from top to toe. And relaaaaaaaax.
The Plank - Palankasana
Now, here is one pose that you might have tried before if you exercise regularly. The plank is used in a number of yoga sequences such as sun salutation and is regularly used to transition from one pose to another. A superb pose for the core, you can rest on your wrists or your forearms keeping your shoulders stacked above your palms. Begin on your hands and knees and engage the core throughout to protect your back as you lift the knees off the ground and support your weight with your palms and your toes.
Upward Facing Dog - Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
This pose usually follows the plank pose and you can get into it simply by dropping your hips in plank position and keep your arms straight opening your chest and extending the head back while squeezing the shoulder blades. This is an extremely powerful pose so you may wish to begin with half cobra which doesn’t put as much pressure on the spine. High plank is another variation of this pose that allows a gentler upper body stretch.
Warrior Pose - Virabhadrasana
This pose is harder than it appears and requires oodles of core strength. Lunge forward with your left leg bending into a lunge and keep your back leg straight being mindful to not let your knee move past your toes. Keep the front foot pointing forward with back foot turned out. Your arms should be extended and kept parallel to the floor. Hold this position for 5 breaths to start with and feel the burn in your front thigh and mid-section.
Tree Pose - Vrksasana
A fun pose that promises to test your balancing skills, tree pose involves standing on one leg and bringing the other foot up to rest on the inner calf or thigh at a 45 degree angle placing it just below or above the knee. Once in position, lift your palms to prayer position and hold for 5 breaths. A pro tip for mastering this one is to fix your gaze on a stationary point in front of you and increase your balance by pressing the sole of the foot into the calf/thigh.
A very welcome pose and one you can slip into when you need a little respite from the more challenging sections of your yoga practise. Begin on your knees, resting your bottom on your heels and slowly fold your top half of the body over the bottom half bringing your head to rest on the mat and your arms stretched out in front or curled around your sides. This is a restorative pose that is often used after an energetic yoga sequence but a pose you can use at any time to re-energise yourself mid practice.
Are you trying yoga for the first time in 2020?
Learn more about the various styles of yoga and their many health benefits