The beauty of yoga is that to reap the benefits you don’t have to be a yogi or a yogini. Yoga has the power to calm the mind and strengthen the body whether you are overweight or fit, young or old. Don’t be intimidated by yoga terminology, fancy yoga studios, and complicated poses. Yoga is for everyone.
5 yoga poses you should know
The building blocks of yoga are the poses. These are great things to learn as you develop a regular yoga practice.
These 5 poses are a complete yoga workout. Through each pose move slowly, remembering to breathe as you move. Take a break after any poses that you find difficult, especially if you are short of breath, and start again when your breathing returns to normal. The idea is to hold each pose for a few breaths before moving on to the next.
This calming pose is a good default break position. You can use the kid pose to rest and refocus before moving on to the next pose. It gently stretches the lower back, hips, thighs, knees and ankles and relaxes the spine, shoulders and neck.
Do it: when you want to get a good, gentle stretch across the spine to your neck and hips.
Avoid: if you have knee injuries or ankle problems. Also avoid if you have high blood pressure or are pregnant.
Edit: you can rest your head on a pillow or block. You can place a rolled up towel under your ankles if they are uncomfortable.
Pay attention: Focus on relaxing the muscles in the spine and lower back as you breathe.
Downward Facing Dog
The downward facing dog strengthens the arms, shoulders, and back while stretching the hamstrings, calves, and arch. It can also help relieve back pain.
Do it: To help relieve back pain.
Avoid it: This pose is not recommended if you have carpal tunnel syndrome or other wrist problems, have high blood pressure, or are late in pregnancy.
Edit: You can do the pose with your elbows on the floor, which relieves your wrists. Under your hands, you can also use blocks which may feel more comfortable.
Pay attention: Focus on distributing the weight evenly between your palms and lifting and backing your hips, away from your shoulders.
A commonly seen exercise, the plank helps build strength in the core, shoulders, arms, and legs.
Do it: The plank pose is good if you’re looking to tone your abs and strengthen your upper body.
Avoid planking if you have carpal tunnel syndrome. It can be hard on your wrists. You can also ignore it or change it if you have low back pain.
Edit: You can edit it by placing your knees on the floor.
Pay attention: when doing a plank, imagine that the neck and spine are lengthening.
Four-limb stick pose
In a common yoga sequence, this push-up variation follows the plank pose known as the sun salutation. If you eventually want to work on more advanced poses, this is a good pose to learn such as arm balances or inversions.
Do it: Like the plank, this pose strengthens the arms and wrists and tones the abdomen.
Avoid it: if you have carpal tunnel syndrome, lower back pain, a shoulder injury, or if you are pregnant.
Modify: Beginners are advised to modify the pose while keeping the knees on the floor.
Caution: Evenly press your palms to the floor and keep your shoulders away from the floor as you hold this pose.
This back flexion pose can help strengthen the back muscles, increase the flexibility of the spine, and stretch the chest, shoulders, and abdomen.
Do it: this position is great for strengthening the back.
Avoid it: if you have arthritis of the spine or neck, lower back injury, or carpal tunnel syndrome.
Modify: Just lift a few inches and don’t try to straighten your arms.
Be aware: try to keep your belly button off the floor while you hold this pose.