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Yoga for Beginners
Even though yoga is beneficial and suitable for people of all ages, there are still some yoga poses that require a certain level of flexibility and muscle strength to perform. This is why all students are taught series of poses like the Sun Salutations to gradually ease the body into adapting to the physical demands of yoga. Here are some of the starter poses to give you an idea of how yoga poses are performed.
The Mountain Pose is often mistaken as a purely meditative starting pose because of how it is performed. To do this pose, simply stand with your back straight, arms at your sides, and your shoulders relaxed. With your feet together and firmly planted on the yoga mat, simultaneously inhale deeply and raise your arms with your palms facing each other. Stretch your arms and try to reach as high as you can without lifting your feet off the ground. Another variation of this pose is to engage your abdominal muscles as you inhale and exhale.
Lotus Pose or Sukhasana
The Lotus Pose is kind of like the seated equivalent of the Mountain Pose in that both yoga poses are perfect positions to start a session and learn to listen to your breathing. As you know breath is a central element to yogic practice, and maintaining a steady breathing pattern is something you have to learn to do ALL yoga poses.
To do the Lotus Pose, sit on your yoga mat Indian-style with your back straight and legs crossed in front of you, with your feet facing upwards and your heels close to the abdomen. Even though this pose is highly meditative, it still has physical benefits like improving your posture and stretching the thigh muscles.
The Tree Pose is one of the first yoga exercises you will encounter that will test your focus, concentration, and balance. It is usually done before or after the Mountain Pose. To do this pose, stand with your back straight, feet flat on the mat, and let your arms fall to your sides. Then slowly lift your right leg and bend your knee to the side, bringing your right foot against your inner left thigh. At this point all your weight is supported by your left leg, so you have to remain mentally focused to balance yourself. Raise your arms overhead, palms facing each other, as you inhale. Hold this pose as you breathe in and out.
This basic standing position is known to alleviate pain in the neck, shoulders, and back. The Triangle Pose also stretches the arm and leg muscles, and can help trim your waistline. To do the Triangle Pose, stand with your feet apart with one foot facing the front of the room, and the other posed at a 90-degree angle. Raise your arms to the side and bend over one side so that your arm falls beside your leg and your hand is gripping your ankle.
Raise your free arm so that your arms now form a line in the direction of the floor to the ceiling. Turn your head to face the ceiling, keep your shoulders relaxed, and hold this pose for 5 full breaths. Then slowly bring yourself back up and repeat the process, bending over to the other side.
These are just some of the most popular poses that all students learn in their first days of doing yoga exercise. Other beginner poses include the Cobra Pose and the Warrior poses (I, II, and III), which are done as part of the Sun Salutations. The Sun Salutation series is also commonly taught in beginner yoga classes, and are also used in more advanced classes as part of the warm up yoga exercise sets.
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