4 Basic Yoga Poses
Start your new yoga practice with 4 of these basic yoga poses. Allow yourself to feel inspired to take the practice slowly at first, to center yourself and gradually take the practice deeper as you become more comfortable with the technique and movements.
1. Mountain Pose
Stand at the front of your mat. Open your feet hip width apart, parallel to each other. Spread your toes wide and then settle them into the floor. Allow yourself to feel solid in your stance, your weight evenly distributed between each leg. Draw energy upward through the souls of each foot and begin to engage your thigh muscles so the legs are straight without locking your knees. Continue to let draw the energy upward, lifting out of your waist and up towards the crown of your head. Allow your chin to be slightly dropped so the neck is long but at ease. Allow your shoulders to gently press away from our ears, your arms hanging at our side, and feel the energy flow down through your arms to your fingertips. Now breathe. Long, conscious breathes from the soles of your feet through crown of your head creating a feeling of lightness within you. As you exhale, create a sense of grounding down, rooted firmly in your stance. Repeat this for several breaths.
Benefits of Tadasana – improves posture, aids with digestion, strengthens arms and legs, removes fatigue
2. Warrior II
Turn sideways on your mat and step wide. Depending on your body, perhaps 3-4 feet wide. Beginning with the right side, turn your right foot forward and keeping your left foot sideways. Bend into the right knee while keeping the left leg straight and using the outside of your left foot to root down. Lift your arms to shoulder height and allow them to be long and strong stretching in opposite directions. Energetically allow the left hip to draw forward as you draw the right hip back. Sink into the shape a little bit more while keeping the chest and head lifted and light. Now breathe. Find the stillness in the pose.
Benefits of Virabhadrasana II – stretches and strengthen legs and hips, stretches chest and shoulders, stimulates digestion, increases stamina and balance, relieves back ache
3. Downward-Facing Dog
(Adho Muka Svanasana)
Begin by being on your hands and knees in Table-top position, and then lift your hips up towards the sky pressing the legs and arms straight (keep a gentle bend in your elbows). Spread your fingers wide on the mat and press the palms of your hands firmly into the mat, shoulder width apart. Lengthen the spine upward toward your tailbone ad you invite the chest to drop towards your thighs. Relax your neck, let the head be heavy toward the ground. Begin with your feet hip width apart and energetically, allow them to lengthen towards the floor. Breathe, relaxing into the pose with each exhalation.
Benefits of Adho Muka Svanasana – Releases tension in the spine, stretches hamstrings, calves, arches and hands, strengthens and tones arms, shoulders, and back, improves digestion, relieves back pain
4. Corpse Pose
Lie down on your back. Leave your arms at your side a few inches away from the body, fingers naturally curled updward. Allow your legs to drop open, feet naturally rolling outward. Get comfortable. Get heavy in your body. Let the floor support you. Close your eyes and deeply relax. Take a mental walk through your entire body, feet to head, using each breath to wash away any stagnant tension. Do this until you’re able to let go. Let go of the breath. Let go of your body. Let go of your thoughts. Allow the body to ride the wave of the breath all on its own. Find your stillness. Trust the process of letting go.
Benefits of Savasana – Calms the mind, relieves stress and eases depression, relaxes the body, reduces fatigue, assists in lowering blood pressure