If one of the things that prevents you from finally taking a yoga class is your fear that you might not be able to keep up with the other yogis, don’t worry, a lot of beginner yogis have been on your shoes, too. Chances are, you might also meet someone in your class who feels exactly the same way as you.
Due to the high popularity of yogatoday, it’s not uncommon for classes to have yoga practitioners who are beginners and advanced yogis. That’s why most yoga classes are “All Levels” since these classes are suitable for all yoga practitioners – no matter their level. The sequence of poses taught in these classes are easy to follow so that the yogis won’t have a hard time in following the flow.
One amazing thing about yoga is that if it can be practiced anywhere. So if a yogi, for some reason, can’t make it to a studio, he/she can always find a sequence that’s he/she can easily follow and do it at home. These inversions, backbends, sun salutations, and breathing exercises will help every yogi feel like they’re practicing in a class even if they’re alone.
The important thing to remember about yoga is the fact that it’s not just for weight loss, it’s also intended to make people feel good about themselves and their surroundings. There are a lot of ways in which you can achieve this. Each instructor and gurus may have a different approach and style in teaching but it all leads to the same destination. While it’s better to practice yoga in an intense and powerful manner, it’s also a good thing to focus on the simplest of the postures and surrendering yourself fully to the flow. Remember to breathe in and out before starting to perform any yoga poses.
Though it is named as an easy pose, the challenge of practicing this pose lies on your ability to maintain it for long periods of time. Since your body’s weight is focused on your buttocks, the body gets lesser support compared to poses such as padmasana where the knees are fixed on the floor. Easy pose is a perfect preparatory pose as it relaxes the body before going on to more complicated poses.
To do an easy pose, you have to start by sitting on the floor or on your mat with your legs in front. Slowly bend your right leg and place it under your left thigh. Do the same to your left leg. Place your hands on your knees. Keep your shoulders relaxed and your back straight. Close your eyes and take time to connect with the ground which you are sitting on. Take 10 inhales and exhales and feel each breath move in and out of your lungs. Before moving on to the next pose, take time to do some neck stretches to ensure total relaxation.
Sukhasana is important in keeping the spine straight which in turn is essential in keeping the back muscles strong thus preventing any back aches and pains that might arise in the future.
Tadasana is one of the most basic standing postures in yoga. It’s also the usual starting pose of all standing poses. This standing pose is helpful in keeping space in the body thereby allowing the organ system in the body to work more effectively. Mentally, this pose can help yogis feel motivated and invigorated which could greatly affect their mood throughout the whole day.
Begin doing the mountain pose by standing erect with your heels slightly apart and your big toes slightly touching each other’s bases to create a stable balance which is important in this pose. Breathe in and slowly lift up your heels so that the weight of your body is on the balls of your feet and feel your thigh as it tightens. Stretch your arms chest and shoulders up and hold the pose for a few seconds to a minute. Exhale and release.
The mountain pose is also a perfect pose in keeping the bones in your body aligned. Since most people spend their time on their work desks for at least 8 hours everyday, it’s important to realign the body and bring it back to its natural stance.
- Urdhva Hastasana
The importance of the upward salute pose as a warm up in yoga is that it helps in realigning the spinal column which helps in protecting the nerves in the spine when performing other yoga movements. It also helps in decongesting the lungs of people with asthma.
From standing erect in Tadasana or mountain pose, slowly raise your arms towards the sky with palms facing each other while making sure that your shoulders are not hunched and your arms are straight as this creates additional length on your waists. As you inhale, reach upwards to the sky but make sure not to lock the joints at your elbows and plant your gaze on your thumb above. Exhale and soften your shoulders. Maintain this pose for a minute or so before releasing.
Learning the proper alignment of the spine is essential while on you’re still on your early practice because balance and loose shoulders are two important things in doing more complicated poses.
The pyramid pose or the Parsvottanasana is a balancing and forward bend pose that stretches many muscles in the body such as the muscles in the back, neck, shoulders, and legs. It is called as such because the pose is such that it looks like a pyramid.
Start this asana by placing one foot forward and the other at the back. Place both your hands on each side of your hip. Keep the leg in front straight. As you inhale, start to lengthen your torso and as you breathe out, bring your torso down to your leg in front starting at the hips while keeping your hips square. If you’re still not flexible enough to go all the way to your leg, you can stop when your body is parallel to the floor. Hold this pose for at least 30 seconds and release by slowly lifting your torso back up and repeat the steps with the other leg forward.
When a yogi masters this pose, they will gradually learn to develop a feeling similar to that of being free. In turn, this creates a calming and relaxing feeling to the person performing the asana.
Uttanasana or the standing forward bend is another intense and challenging pose that’s perfect for stretching the back body (back of the legs, middle back, and upper back, and neck). This doesn’t only heals the body but also renews the body.
Begin this pose by standing with your feet together. Place your hands on your hips and take a deep breath. Breathe out and slowly bend your upper body forward as you bring your hands to the floor. Remember not to lock your knees when you do this pose. Let your upper torso float above your feet and open up the space between your chest and your pubis. Feel the stretch in your hamstrings and if you can bring your face closer to your legs so that the crown of your head is facing the floor. If you feel pain around your lower back then there’s something wrong with your pose. Hold this pose for at 30 seconds to a minute and release.
It’s important to note that this pose is not recommended for people who have lower back injuries as it might worsen their condition.
- Supta Padangusthasana
Like the pyramid pose, the supta padangusthasana or what’s is known as the reclining hand-to-toe pose gives your hamstrings a good stretch without worrying so much about putting too much pressure on your spine. It’s the best pose to do when you want to release tension in your lower back. Aside from easing lower back pain, this pose could also help yogis reach inside the depths of consciousness.
To perform this pose, start by lying on your back. Plant your heels firmly into the ground and point your toes. Raise and bend one knee and place a strap around the balls of your foot. Gradually pull the strap while raising your foot up to the ceiling until shoulders are pressing the floor and your arms are straight. You can also opt to stay in that position or make it challenging by bringing your leg to the side. Hold that position for as long as you can and do the same to the other foot.
This pose brings a lot of benefits to the yogi including stimulation of the prostate gland, blood pressure regulation, and could also help in easing menstrual cramps.
Padmasana or the lotus pose is the perfect pose to end your yoga session. The lotus has been a powerful symbol for a lot of traditions and religions and it has played an important role in many sagas. It’s a powerful pose that could be performed at the end of a yoga practice and is a perfect pose for meditation.
To do a padmasana, start by sitting on the floor or your yoga mat with your back straight and your legs stretched in front of you. Slowly bend your left knee and bring your feet to your left thigh so that your soles are facing upwards. Do the same on the other side. You can place your hands on top of your knees. Breathe in and out and hold that position for a few minutes. Repeat the steps but this time with the other leg on top of the other.
Though this pose may look easy on the eyes of normal people, the challenge actually lies on maintaining the pose for longer periods of time. With enough practice, you may be able to experience the benefits of the lotus pose such as stimulation of the pelvis, abdomen, and spine, calming of the mind, and a lot more.
Though yoga is best practiced in the morning, there are some factors that could actually prevent us from doing it during the day time. Nevertheless, there are yoga doesn’t have a written rule that it cannot be practiced during the evening. No matter what time you do yoga, you’ll still be able to experience the same benefits.
As mentioned above, yoga classes are composed of beginner and advanced members. If you see others doing an advanced pose, don’t force yourself to do the same pose, those people have probably been practicing yoga for years already. Tackle things slowly and you will surely get to where you want to be.