Many people avoid Yoga because they’re not flexible, but they are the very ones who should take up the practice. Yoga increases flexibility, concentration, strengthens muscles, dials down stress, and can encourages better posture. Before you get started: Remember to maintain a smooth and even breath throughout the poses and don’t hold any pose longer than you’re physically able. You can increase the length and deepness of each pose with practice. One sign that you held a pose for too long is that you don’t have enough energy to come out of the position with grace and integrity.
This pose is challenging for beginners, but you can make it easier by increasing the distance between your feet. There is so much this pose can do for you. It builds bone density, it wakes you up, it reduces stiffness and back pain, it’s boost circulation, opens the shoulders and stretches the hamstrings to name a few. Begin with your hands and feet on the mat so you’re in an upside-down “V.” Make sure your hands are shoulder-width-distance apart with your fingers spread wide. Place your feet hips-width-distance apart, turning the heels outward slightly so the outside edges of your feet are parallel with the outside edges of your mat. Relax the head between the shoulders, and stay here for five deep breaths. At any time, you can take a break by resting in child’s pose, and then come back into down dog again.
Modification: For beginners, you can bend your knees to keep the spine long and move some of the body’s weight into the legs.
This is a symmetrical pose, meaning both sides of your body will be moving in and out of the pose at the same time. It heats you up and strengthens the legs. Stand with your feet together or hip-width apart if you’re stiff. Bend your knees like you’re sitting in a chair while raising the arms up alongside your ears.
Modification: Chair pose can be challenging, so feel free to move out of the pose and into mountain pose on alternating breaths. This also makes it more dynamic.
This pose strengthens the legs; it’s heating and it helps to open the inner thighs. In this standing pose, you step your feet wide apart, about a leg’s distance apart. Turn your right leg out 90 degrees, and then angle your left toes in just slightly. Take your arms out to the side, to be level with the floor and then you bend your right knee so that it stacks on top of your ankle. Make a square with that right knee and hold the pose. Then, repeat for the opposite side.
Modification: You can come in and out of the position with each breath if it’s too difficult to hold.
This pose stimulates the metabolism and digestive organs and also tones the core. Benefits of the yoga squat include a great groin, lower back and hip stretch. Squat with your feet as close together as possible. Keep your heels on the floor if you can; otherwise, support them on a folded mat. Separate your thighs slightly wider than your torso. Exhaling, lean your torso forward and fit it snugly between your thighs. Press your elbows against your inner knees, bringing your palms to together in prayer and resist the knees into the elbows. This will help lengthen your front torso.