With so many poses, knowing where to start in the world of yoga may seem daunting.
Here are a few poses for you to become familiar with at home before you check out that first yoga class. Give them a try and take note on how they make you feel.
A foundation to so many other poses, mountain pose is one that cannot be overlooked as simply "just standing there."
Downward Facing Dog
- Stand with your feet together and hands at your sides. The mounds of your big toes should touch. If your balance is off, place your feet hip distance apart.
- Slightly tuck your pelvic bone and lift your chest.
- Lengthen the back of your neck.
- Engage your core and your legs.
Probably the most well-known pose of yoga, downward dog provides a great stretch and is a nice strength builder.
- From standing, bend over and place your hands shoulder distance apart.
- Step your feet back into plank position.
- Lift your hips toward the ceiling by pressing your hands into the ground until your body makes an inverted V.
- Your heels may or may not touch the ground. Just make sure to keep your shoulders and back strong by continuing to press into the ground.
- Engage your core, and keep your legs strong.
A popular ab exercise, plank pose works out the entire body. The strength gained in this pose will help you as you progress to more advanced poses.
- Start on all fours with arms straight, wrists directly under your shoulders, palms flat (though if you find you're putting too much pressure on your wrists, you can curl your fingertips to distribute the weight).
- Step both feet back to straighten your legs, keeping your feet hip distance apart, toes curled under.
- Maintain a straight line from the crown of your head through to your heels by engaging your core and legs.
Another well-known pose, Warrior 1 develops leg strength, and begins to open the shoulders and hips. It is a frequented pose in various yoga flows.
- From standing, step your left foot back about 3 to four feet. Your left heel should be behind your right heel. Turn your left foot out 45 degrees while your right foot is facing forward (your 12 o'clock).
- Rotate your hips so that they face forward.
- Rotate your shoulders forward.
- Inhale and raise your arms above your head.
- Lunge with right leg making your thigh parallel to ground, if possible. Ensure that your knee does not go over your toes.
- Engage your core and keep your left leg strong.
- You can tilt or head back or keep it facing forward (recommended for those with neck injuries.)
This beautiful pose is what you will relax into when yoga class gets too intense or you just simply need a break and breathe. Own it. Melt into it.
- From all fours, rest your bottom onto your heels while keeping your big toes touching. Spread your knees if your hips allow it.
- Take a deep inhale and stretch upward.
- Exhale and reach forward, sinking between your knees with your head touching the ground.
- You have your arms extended in front of you or bring them to graze your feet with palms turned up.
- Allow your body to relax.