Yoga for Beginners

3 Yoga Poses for Relaxation

A lot of people wonder how they should get started with yoga and more specifically, what are the best basic yoga poses to help them relax.  We will cover 3 common poses that are perfect for beginner to intermediate practice.

You want to maintain your focus on proper technique when you are just starting out so that you will gain the benefits of yoga. Therefore, it’s best if you follow the instructions as closely as possible until you are comfortable with the positions and can do them properly without even thinking about it.

One good tip is to keep your eyes on your body positioning with a mirror, as your body should move only in its natural direction. But if you are doing this with a friend or a partner, you can help each other learn the natural positions and you will both gain the benefits.

The Lotus Pose

The first one is the Lotus Pose. It is one of the best poses for starting out and not feeling intimidated by the positioning. It’s easy to do, and the benefits are tremendous.

Sit on the floor with your legs extended, spine straight, and arms resting at your sides.

Bend your right knee and hug it to your chest. Then, bring your right ankle to the crease of your left hip so the sole of your right foot faces the sky. The top of your foot should rest on your hip crease.

Then, bend your left knee. Cross your left ankle over the top of your right shin. The sole of your left foot should also face upwards, and the top of your foot and ankle should rest on your hip crease.

Draw your knees as close together as possible. Press your groins toward the floor and sit up straight.

Rest your hands on your knees with your palms facing up. Create a circle with each index finger and thumb, keeping the rest of the fingers extended.

Soften your face and bring your gaze to your “third eye,” the space between your eyebrows.

Hold for up to one minute, or for the duration of your meditation or pranayama practice.

Release the pose by very slowly and gently extending both legs along the floor in Staff Pose. Repeat the pose for the same amount of time with the opposite leg on top. Release the pose, and then rest for at least five minutes.

The Warrior Pose

The next one is the Warrior Pose. This one is very good for getting started, but it can be a little difficult for beginners. Still, we feel it is an essential part of the learning process.

Begin in Tadasana.

Step your right foot towards the back of the mat creating a long stance.

Turn your right heel down and angle your foot to a 45 degree angle.

Bend your left knee as close as you can to a 90 degree angle.

Extend your arms upwards as if you are holding  two swords.

Attempting to angle both hips towards the front is ideal, but not necessary AND should be avoided if you experience pain in the hips, knees, and/or low back.

Hold the pose for 5-10 breaths before returning to Tadasana and repeating on the second side.

The Pigeon Pose

The last position is the Pigeon Pose.. Some call this an intermediate pose but the benefits are too good to ignore.

From Downward Facing Dog, bring the right leg up into a Down Dog Split.

Bend your right knee and bring that leg forward as if you were going to step into a lunge. Instead of placing your foot down as you would for a lunge, bring your right knee to the floor on the outside of your right hand. The right shin may angle back towards the left hip or be more parallel to the front of your mat, depending on your range of motion.

Release your left knee to your mat. Your left leg should be flat on the floor. Take a look backward and make sure that your left foot is pointing straight back.

Square your hips towards the front of your mat.

Take padding (a folded blanket works well) under the right side of your hip as necessary to make the pose more comfortable.3

If you feel stable, bring your torso down into a forward bend over your right leg.

Keep hips square and weight balanced equally on both sides as best you can. If this feels too intense, place a blanket or block or under the hip or back knee. Reach your forehead toward the floor.

Keep hips square and weight balanced equally on both sides as best you can. If this feels too intense, place a blanket or block or under the hip or back knee. Reach your forehead toward the floor.

Come back up, bringing your hands in line with your hips.

To release, curl your left toes under and step back into a Downward Facing Dog.6

Repeat the pose on the other side.

Summary

It’s not about winning or losing but the experience of the practice. It’s about the way you move. You can use a breath device, or you can simply keep your arms on the mat, and move with your breath. A combination of both methods is best for maximum progress.

Learn the basic positions and practice what you have learned and these positions will become second nature and you will enjoy the benefits for many years to come.

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