If you have access to the ground, you have everything you need to practice yoga. Sure, you can buy expensive mats, activewear, (actually very nice) jackets that turn into blankets for Savasana, plus an array of salt and essential oils lamps.
But you can also just kick off your shoes and whip out some yoga poses whenever the time feels right.
What is yoga?
At the risk of severe oversimplification, yoga is a 3,000-year-old practise that originated in India. Some see it as a religion. For others, it’s a physical and spiritual practice. And for many, it’s simply a health and wellness activity.
A 2010 study on the therapeutic effects of yoga found “yogic practices enhance muscular strength and body flexibility, promote and improve respiratory and cardiovascular function, promote recovery from and treatment of addiction, reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain, improve sleep patterns, and enhance overall well-being and quality of life.”
Yoga poses for beginners
If you’re a beginner who wants to give yoga a go, here’s a list of some basic yoga poses, or Asanas, for you to try.
Child’s pose (Balasana)
This is the grounding yoga pose that’s often used for rest between more challenging poses.
Stretches: Thighs, hips, lower back and ankles.
Believed to be good for: Relaxing the mind, resting between more difficult poses.
Downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Possibly the most famous of yoga asanas, this is a staple pose of many yoga classes.
Stretches: The whole body.
Believed to be good for: Strengthening the core and improving circulation.
Warrior one (Virabhadrasana I)
Arms in the air, chin up and deep breaths. This pose is relatively easy to do for yogis of any level.
Stretches: The hips.
Believed to be good for: Increasing flexibility in the hips, increasing stability and strengthening the legs.
Crescent lunge (Ashta Chandrasana)
This standing dynamic yoga pose is perfect for beginners as there's little to no difficulty in performing it.
Stretches: The lower and upper body, groin, legs and hip flexors.
Believed to be good for: Utilising the muscles in the entire body and promoting flexibility and balance. It’s also believed to expand the front of the body to increase energy.
Tree pose (Vrksansana)
This standing pose can be challenging at first, but with practice, it may start to feel like second nature.
Stretches: The shoulders and rib cage.
Believed to be good for: Improving balance, strengthening your core and boosting energy.
Twisted chair pose (Utkatasana)
Although it doesn’t look super comfortable, the chair pose a great one for beginners to work on for balance and focus.
Stretches: The chest, spine and shoulders.
Believed to be good for: Strengthening the glutes, thighs and core as well as promoting circulation.
The best yoga poses
Whether you’re completely new to yoga, or have tried a few poses before, these six poses may be ideal to kick-start your yoga journey. Just remember to take it easy and listen to your body. Be sure to speak to your health practitioner before starting any new physical activity too.
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Reviewed by the healthylife Advisory Board September 2021.