If you’re unfamiliar with the language and bending that goes with yoga, the thought of starting it can be both intimidating and overwhelming. It can almost feel like a club that you’re not part of.
But regular practice of it will make you feel wonderful – guaranteed. It uses every part of your body, increase your fitness, lower your stress level, teach you how to breathe and to be more relaxed.
So to help encourage you look for your nearest yoga class, here are five ‘must know’ yoga poses (known as ‘asanas’) that you can try at home. If you can do these, you can go to a class and not feel out of place.
This is the absolute key one for you to know.
Your hands should be shoulder-width apart, fingers spread comfortably and the whole palm of your hand on the ground. Feet a hip-width apart, heels reaching towards the ground.
If you haven’t done anything like this before, you will feel tightness in your hamstrings. To help this, keep your knees bent and focus on getting length in the spine so can shift your body weight from the hands to the feet. Then straighten the legs while keeping the hips high and length in the spine.
Stand with your feet wide apart, so that they are underneath your arms when you stretch your arms out. Turn one leg out 90 degrees and turn back your toes just a little.
Bend your front knee as much as you can but make sure the knee is directly above the ankle, exhaling as you do so. Your arms are stretching out both ways and you should be looking over your front hand.
Many years ago, we had to pretend to be a tree in drama class at school – and I hated it! I realise now my teacher was just giving us an early yoga class.
Stand with your feet together and shift your weight into one foot. Slowly lift the other foot up the other leg, turning the hip out to the side and placing the foot on the inner thigh – preferably. If you can’t do that, then the shin or the ankle. Actively press your foot into the thigh and vice-versa. Focus on a point straight in front of you to help keep your balance.
As a beginner, have your arms out to the side – it helps with balance. As you get more advanced, the arms shift position.
This is simple and it’s a great way of opening up the chest and helping the muscles of your upper back. It feels great!
Lay down on your stomach and place your hands right next to the ribs, elbows bent up towards the ceiling. Lift your shoulders away from the floor, your legs hip-width apart, actively reaching back behind you.
This may sound even easier but it’s important to do it properly to get the benefit out of it.
Lay on your back with your legs splayed out, feet falling naturally. Rest your arms out to the side, away from your shoulder blades, palms turned up to the ceiling. Focus on relaxing all tension and letting the floor support your body weight. Try to stay as still as possible. The reason it’s not easy to do is because we all spend our time being busy, and very little, if any, time just doing nothing.
If you can do these five poses – even if you don’t master them – you should feel confident enough to go to a class and try it. You will get benefit out of it!
By the way, these are nothing to do with me but I found these great training towels – which includes a Yoga one. They are simply a towel which you can use anywhere – at home on the carpet, or on top of a mat at a yoga class – and which includes the main Yoga poses. They are the brainchild of another personal trainer.