How do I start Yoga?

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How do I start Yoga?

By Valeria P.

Reprinted from Muscle Media for Women

A question that I hear very often is “How do I start Yoga?”. There’s not one specific way to start yoga; you just start. Look up a local yoga class, find the yoga channel on your TV, go online and look up yoga videos or do what I did, and find knowledgeable yogis on instagram and learn from them. A lot of people shy away from yoga because they think that they have to be able to contort their body into unimaginable positions. That is not the case. You only go as far as you’re comfortable in an asana or posture. These postures are meant to be good for your body and health, not to injure you.

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There are many benefits to yoga: it improves circulation to organs, strengthens muscles that support the joints, exercises the heart and circulatory system, purifies the digestive tract, builds stamina and so on. It is also great for mental health. Yoga will develop mental concentration, it teaches trust and surrender, patience, inner peace, love and so much more. I will walk you through a few basic poses that almost anyone can do and can greatly benefit you. Let’s start with:

 

Mountain pose
Tadasana.

Mountain pose or Tadasana.

 

  • First start in a standing position with your feet parallel and hip width apart
  • Lift the toes and press the feet evenly into the earth to find balance, then release the toes
  • Tuck your tailbone by imagining a weight hanging from it, pulling it towards the earth
  • Lift the rib case up
  • Relax the shoulders back
  • Lift the head to lengthen the spine
  • Lengthen your whole body from earth to sky, expanding the space in your body with your breath

Here is a variation of this pose

half moon
Half Moon

Half Moon or Ardha Chandrasana

  • From mountain pose reach one arm up toward the sky as far as you can
  • Bring it down and reach with the opposite arm
  • Repeat this a few times really focusing on stretching and lengthening the side body
  • Bring your arm overhead and clasp your fingers together with the two index fingers pointing up
  • Make sure not to arch your lower back
  • relax your shoulders down away from the ears bringing the shoulder blades down
  • lengthen through the crown of your head
  • Inhale and lengthen your whole body
  • Exhale and start leaning to one side
  • On each inhale lengthen and each exhale lean a little further
  • Keep going until you come to a comfortable position (that may be something different for everyone)
  • Make sure to keep your body in one plane trying not to lean forward or back
  • Come back to neutral position and repeat on the opposite side.

Here is a variation of this pose

Half Moon Yoga Pose
Trikonasana

Triangel or Trikonasana

  • Start in a wide standing position facing forward
  • Turn one for out to the side of you (90 degrees) and the other foot forward (45 degrees)
  • Lift your arms out to the side of you at shoulder height stretching in opposite directions
  • Now, looking out toward the arm that is above the foot facing out to the side of you, start leaning forward
  • At the same time pivot at the hips, drawing the front hip back and down and the back hip back and up
  • Lower both sides of your torso evenly
  • Place your hand on your shin or the ground if comfortable
  • Stretch the other arm upward
  • Rotate your head up, keeping your spine straight
  • Come out of the pose and repeat on the opposite side

Here is a variation of this pose

Cobra

Cobra or Bhujangasana

  • Lie on your abdomen, lengthen your neck and reach your arms out in front of you
  • Place your hands under your shoulders with your elbows tuck into your body
  • Relax your shoulders back away from the ears
  • Lift and lower several times only using your back muscles not your arms
  • Press your pubic bone into the ground
  • The next time you lift, press your hands into the ground to lift higher
  • Lengthen your torso
  • Draw your chest forward through your arms by pushing the hands down into the ground and back, as if sliding your body forward
  • Make sure to relax your glutes
  • Hold there a few breaths and release the pose

Here is a variation of this pose

Mariachi Twist yoga
Marichi Twist

Marichi Twist or Parivritta Marichyasana

  • Start in a sitting position with your legs straight out in front of you
  • Lift the rib cage
  • Lift through the crown if your head and relax your shoulders down
  • Bend one knee and place the foot directly below it
  • Interlace your fingers around your knee and draw your torso forward keeping the shoulders relaxed
  • Press the heel of the opposite foot (on the straight leg) into the floor and flex it, drawing the toes back
  • Take the opposite arm of the bent knee and bring it to the outside of the knee or wrap your arm around your knee
  • Take your other hand and place it behind your body
  • Lift through the crown and rotate back slowly to look over your shoulder
  • Make sure to keep the forehead and jaw relaxed
  • Release the pose and repeat on the other side.

Here is a variation of this pose

DSC_0499
Apanasana

 Knees to chest or Apanasana

  • Lie down on your back
  • Bend your knees and bring them off the ground toward your chest
  • Keep your pelvis and shoulders neutral
  • Put one hand on each knee
  • Exhale and bring them in all the way to your chest
  • Your pelvis will come off of the ground slightly
  • Inhale and bring the knees back out
  • Continue repeating this cycle slowly
  • After a few times going in and out, bring the knees into the chest and hold them there
  • Release the pose

Here is a variation of this pose

Always remember not to push too far. You should be able to breathe freely while you are in these poses. If you feel that your breath is constricted anywhere in the body, then you need to back out of the pose slowly, until you reach a spot where you can breathe freely and hold it there. It’s not about how far or deep you can go; it’s about doing the pose correctly to get the maximum benefit out of it. If you need to use props, feel free to use them. Blocks and straps are great props to keep around if you’re just starting out or your body is very tight. Don’t listen to your ego, listen to your body.

 

Namaste.

Valeria @lovevaleriaBe sure to follow Valeria on Twitter and Instagram at @lovevaleria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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