5 Beginner Yoga Poses for Everyone
When you are interested in starting yoga it can feel really intimidating. There are so many beautiful pictures and so many classes to choose from that it can feel overwhelming. Well, this is the perfect place for you to start.
These five poses are accessible for everyone. You can get started with a short little practice that will open a door for you to experience the benefit of this ancient tradition. You don’t need to be strong or flexible to get started. With these five poses you can get started on your yoga journey today.
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Adho Mukha Svanasana: Downward Facing Dog
Keep the feet hips with apart and the hands shoulder width apart evenly distributing the weight between your hands and your feet. Activate the pelvic floor by drawing the muscles of the lower abdomen in, engaging the perineum, and activating the muscles that control the anus and the genitals. Allow a very gentle internal rotation of the hip joints so that the legs activate in one fluid line from the bases of the big toes through the knees through the inside edges of the quadriceps and all the way up into the hip joints. Let the shoulders externally rotate to give space to the neck while drawing the arm bones deeper into their sockets. Spread the fingertips lightly apart while straightening the arms completely. Gaze towards the navel.
If you have a hard time straightening the legs or finding the pivot inside the hip joints, then gently bend the knees so that you can find a deeper flexion of the hip joints in the inner space of the pelvis. Similarly if you have a hard time keeping the heels pressed into the ground you can allow them to elevate slightly while keeping them grounded. Breathe deeply and stay for five breaths.
Trikonasana: Triangle Pose
Step the feet out to the side about 2 1/2 to 3 feet apart then starting off on the right side externally rotate the right hip joints about 90° out from the plane of the hips. Activate the muscles of the legs pressing equally through the base of the big toes, little toes and heels. Lifting the kneecaps draw the thigh bones up into the pelvic floor. On the right side find the external rotation and slide the hip joint back as you reach down towards your right big toe. Depending on your level of flexibility you’ll find it useful to either rest your fingers on a block or dangle the fingers in the air or reach all the way down and hold onto your big toe. The only thing you want to watch out for is to avoid pressing weight into the back of the right knee, so don’t press on the shinbone. Keep the torso long and in one unit while lifting the spine up out of the pelvis. Draw the sub navel in towards the spine and activate the muscles of the pelvic floor. Extend the arms, gently look up to the left fingers and spread the shoulder blades as far away as possible. Avoid bending too much forward or bending the knees to attempt to go deeper in the posture.
Virabhadrasana A: Warrior 1
The easiest way to get into this asana is to step forward from downward facing dog. Step forward with your right foot while externally rotating the left hip joint somewhere around 45°. Send the right knee over the right ankle until you feel the activation of the right quadriceps. Be careful about not jutting the knee too far forward past the toes and instead think about deepening the right hip joint flexion as much as possible. Allow the right femur or thigh bone to pull back into the inner space of the pelvis. Press back through the muscles of the abdomen including the psoas all the way down into the left leg extending down into the left foot. Then using the activation of the legs as a base lift the spine up out of the pelvic bowl. Activate the muscles of the pelvic floor as well as the muscles which control the spine, the erector spinae, and lift as much as possible along the centerline. Let the rib cage lift up and away from the pelvis, but avoid bending backwards. Externally rotate the shoulders as you lift the sternum and the arms up towards the ceiling. Gaze towards the thumbs and stay for five breaths.
Janu Sirsasana A: Head to Knee Pose
Starting off in Dandasana, seated staff posture, externally rotate the right hip joint and reach about 90° out to the side, measuring from the shinbone the pubic bone and the left inner thigh. Draw the right heel in as close to the pubic bone as possible. Let the right knee joint drop out to the side and use the external rotation of the right hip joint to create a stable foundation in the pelvic floor. Extend the left leg forward while allowing a very gentle internal rotation of the left hip joint. Draw inside the muscles of the lower abdomen, and lift the muscles of the pelvic floor in to support the forward fold. Using your front body activation elongate the muscles of the spine out of the pelvic bowl. Be careful not to over activate your back muscles and focus on lengthening forward. Orient your sternum forward to the left knee as you fold forward, allowing the back muscles to relax. Gaze either towards the nose tip or forward to the left toes. Let your hands rest either on the floor or hold onto your left foot or interlock and bind around the outside of the left foot. Be careful to keep the left leg completely straight and pivot inside of the hip joints on the left side to enter the forward fold. Don’t worry about how deeply or how far forward you fold, instead focus on the inner experience of the pose. Stay for five breaths.
Viparita Karani: Legs up the wall
This is a great posture to end your practice and it is accessible for everyone. Starting off in a reclining position gently bend the knees into your chest pivoting at the hip joints. Slowly extend the legs upward straightening the knee joints. Allow the hands to rest by the hips and stabilize by activating the muscles of the pelvic floor. Relax the neck, relax the chest, relax the upper torso. Activate the legs by pointing the feet and pressing the bases of the big toes into each other. Allow a gentle internal rotation of the hip joints. Lift up the kneecaps and engage the quadriceps. Staying in this pose for a minimum of 10 breaths allows blood and circulation to return down into the body out of the legs. Not only as an end to your yoga practice, but as a deeply therapeutic pose, this is a wonderful way to let the mind turn inward and let your body move into a deep healing state.
I hope you enjoy these postures. If you give it a try, please tag me on Instagram @kinoyoga. I love to see you practicing with me!