Yoga is an excellent way to build flexibility, strength and peace of mind. There are a few basic poses that are perfect for someone who is new to yoga. These poses target all areas of the body, from the inner core to the extremities. Read on to learn about five beginner yoga poses that you can use to start your journey into perfecting your flexibility.
This easy and effective pose will stretch and align your spine.
- Start on your hands and knees, in tabletop position.
- Slowly inhale and engage your core as you arch your back and lower your head, looking up.
- Exhale as you round your back, tucking your chin to your chest.
- Repeat this series six times, deepening your breath with each round.
Downward Facing Dog
This pose helps to build strength and stretches out your entire body.
- Start on all fours.
- Press up onto your hands and feet to create an upside down V-shape.
- Spread your fingers wide, pressing firmly into your mat.
- Lift your hips up towards the sky and relax your head and neck.
- Hold for five deep breaths and release to child’s pose.
Tree pose increases balance, focus and strengthens your legs.
- Begin standing with your feet parallel.
- Shift your weight onto your right foot.
- Bend your left knee and grab your foot, ankle or calf, bringing it to your right thigh.
- Bring your hands together at your chest in prayer position and take a few deep breaths.
- Bring your left foot back down to the ground and repeat on the other side.
Seated Forward Fold
This pose will help to improve flexibility and focus on the lower back.
- Starting in a seated position with your legs extended in front of you, roll your shoulders back and down.
- Bend your knees slightly and reach your arms up and over your head.
- As you exhale, fold forward, reaching your arms towards your toes.
- Keep your spine and legs straight and allow your chest to rest on your thighs.
- Hold this position for three to five breaths and then slowly roll up to a seated position.
This pose is gentle and versitle, helping to reduce stress and tension in the body.
- Start on all fours with your toes together and your knees apart.
- Walk your hands out in front of you and lower your hips, chest and head towards the ground.
- Relax your forehead on the ground and stretch your arms out in either direction.
- Take three to five deep breaths and return to tabletop position.
These five beginner yoga poses are perfect for building strength, flexibility and focus in your practice. Remember to take your time, stay mindful and listen to your body. Come back to these poses as often as needed and enjoy your yoga journey!
What are the benefits of beginner yoga poses?
1. Improves balance and coordination: Beginner yoga poses help to improve balance, coordination and body awareness. These postures require the body to be positioned in ways that create a sense of stillness, while helping the practitioner build strength, flexibility, and body control.
2. Builds strength: Beginner yoga poses involve supporting your own body weight and as you progress, adding more challenging postures into your practice. Doing so helps you build strength and muscle tone, which is also beneficial for weight maintenance.
3. Enhances mental well-being: Practicing yoga can open up space for stillness and reflection, allowing you to become calmer and more present throughout each day. Yoga postures can help to reduce stress, fatigue and anxiety, and improve your overall mental health.
4. Enhances flexibility: One of the most obvious benefits of practicing yoga is improved flexibility. As you progress, your postures become more fluid with increased range of motion. This increased flexibility can also help reduce the risk of injury.
What muscles do beginner yoga poses target?
Beginner yoga poses typically target the muscles in the legs, hips, back, chest and core. Common poses to start with include Cat/Cow, Downward-Facing Dog, Cobra, Child’s Pose, Sitting Forward Bend and Warrior I and II. These poses target muscles in the abdomen, low and upper back, chest and shoulders, as well as the hips, legs, neck and arms. Additionally, some poses can be modified to address certain areas more directly. For example, Half Moon Pose can be modified to target the muscles of the inner thigh and chest.
What parts of the body benefit most from yoga?
1. Core: Core strength and stability is fundamental to most yoga postures and can dramatically improve posture and balance.
2. Flexibility: Regular practice of yoga encourages the body to become more flexible, both in the muscles and in the joints.
3. Back: Practicing postures like Downward Dog and Cobra can help to release tension in the shoulders, upper and lower back, thereby improving overall back health.
4. Legs: The leg muscles and joints get plenty of attention in practice, from postures such as Warrior and Triangle.
5. Arms: Arm strength and flexibility are improved with postures such as Chaturanga, Upward Dog and Plank.
6. Heart and Lungs: The use of Ujjayi breath (breathing with the mouth closed and throat constricted) can increase the oxygen flow to the heart and lungs and improve overall cardiovascular health.